In this book Anthony Giddens addresses a range of issues concerning current developments in social theory, relating them to the prospects for sociology in the closing decades of the twentieth century. Composed of closely integrated papers, all written over the past few years, the book includes seven essays not previously published, plus two have not appeared in English before. In assessing the likely future evolution of sociology in particular, and the social sciences in general, the author both draws upon ideas established in his more abstract theoretical writings and examines critically competing traditions of thought. Those looking for an accessible introduction to Gidden's writing will find in this book a set of clear expositions of his basic ideas. By situating these ideas in relation to the critical assessment of the views of others, however, the author provides new sources of insight into the distinctiveness of his own claims.