All of the theories covered in previous chapters can help us expand our understanding of how the social world works, but none of them provides a complete picture. By comparing and contrasting multiple theories in a critical and reflective way, we are able to synthesize their valid insights into a more insightful and comprehensive analysis. The theoretical perspectives that have dominated sociological theory since the middle of the twentieth century can be distinguished in terms of their micro or macro emphasis. This contrast between microscopic versus macroscopic views provided our organizing frame, with a focus on selected meso-level social formations in between. These levels are linked in multiple ways in real life, however, and all of the theories we have discussed have been extended and elaborated to show their implications beyond the level of their primary starting point. This summary chapter will provide a brief review in terms of the major divisions of the book as follows:

  • Preliminary stage setting

  • From micro to meso to macro levels

  • Toward theoretical integration: strategies and challenges


Rational Choice Social World Macro Level Rational Choice Theory Subjective Consciousness 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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