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"...excellent...a probing survey of classical and contemporary social theory...extremely well written and organized...one of the best overviews of contemporary economy, culture and society I have read." - Professor Douglas Kellner, UCLA "...an authoritative analysis and a definitive defence of sociology as a critical theory of the market, politics and social institutions. A balanced and thorough critique of the neo-liberal revolution." - Professor Bryan Turner, University of Cambridge * How have economic processes and transformations been addressed within classical and contemporary social thought? * What impact have the market system and market forces had on social life? * How has the imbalance between the public and private sectors been felt in contemporary society? Economic factors and processes are at the heart of contemporary social and cultural life and this book is designed to refocus social theorizing to reflect that fact. The author re-interprets the work of classical theorists and, in the context of the move towards social regulation and protection in the 19th and early 20th centuries, he discusses more recent transformations in capitalist economic life that have led to greater flexibility, forms of disorganization, and a neo-liberal regeneration of the market economy. As our lives have become subject to a process of commodification, market forces have assumed an increasing prominence, and the imbalance in resources between private and public sectors has been aggravated. This illuminating text addresses these central concerns, drawing on the work of key social and economic thinkers.