This text involves students in understanding and using the "tools" of critical social and literary theory from the first day of class. It is an ideal first introduction before students encounter more difficult readings from critical and postmodern perspectives. Nealon and Searls Giroux describe key concepts and illuminate each with an engaging inquiry that asks students to consider deeper and deeper questions. Written in students' own idiom, and drawing its examples from the social world, literature, popular culture, and advertising, The Theory Toolbox offers students the language and opportunity to theorize rather than positioning them to respond to theory as a reified history of various schools of thought. Clear and engaging, it avoids facile description, inviting students to struggle with ideas and the world by virtue of the book's relentless challenge to common assumptions and its appeal to common sense. Updated throughout, the second edition of The Theory Toolbox includes a discussion of new media, as well as two new chapters on life and nature.