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This BERA event launches the new textbook ‘Social theory a new introduction’. Written by Mark Murphy and published by Palgrave, the book delivers a thematic and conceptual overview of the field of social theory, a field that is a vital source of ideas for education researchers, particularly those who position education in the context of broader struggles over social justice. The session will detail the structure and content of the book, which is organised around thematic chapters on topics such as the economy, language, culture, knowledge and the body. This approach allows for stronger links to be made between theory and forms of practice and encourages the reader to reflect on theory and its relevance for everyday life.

As well as introducing the book, the webinar will also reflect on the rationale behind publishing this text. The session will focus on a number of key aspects in particular: the political nature of social theory and the implications of this for teaching social theory; the desire to engage with what Richard Johnson called ‘really useful knowledge’ and how social theory can deliver such knowledge; and the importance of textbook ‘curricula’ to critical pedagogical approaches. The session will engage with each of these issues and provide useful examples from the book to illustrate the relation between theory and practice. Discussion among participants will be encouraged with the aim of fostering debate in relation to the current and future teaching of social theory.

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