Sociological theory has typically been studied in three types of courses: history of sociological thought, modern sociological perspectives, and philosophy of science. Theoretical Thinking in Sociology is a book that combines all three of these approaches and covers four main themes in sociological theory - exchange theory, functionalism, symbolic interaction and ethnomethodology. Although each theory takes a different approach to the task of explaining social order, all are presented with an emphasis on theoretical thinking. In addition to outlining these theories, the author describes in detail the theoretical problems faced by leading sociological theorists and their solutions to them, and presents theory as a creative intellectual development. The book reviews significant problems from the history of theory in sociology, and discusses research literature and the relationship of this research to its theoretical field. Each chapter of this 1979 second edition ends with a summary, topics for discussion, essay questions, and suggestions for further reading.