The time has come to plan my syllabus for fall, 2009, graduate social theory. Last semester I screwed it up (yes, for those of you in the class, I admit it!) — I assigned a newish book I hadn’t read, by a reputable author, which turned out to be awful. The class was sporting about it, but this time around I would like my foray into contemporary sociological theory to be more interesting.
The backstory is this: after a few years in the wilderness, UNC now has enough of a critical mass to credibly produce a few grad students who are theory-oriented, if not purely theorists (whatever that would mean!). So I’d like a book or collection of articles that comes from within, or at least is centrally concerned with, contemporary American sociology, and is recognizably theoretical in character. What would you choose?