Written without academic pretension and featuring straightforward language, this book attempts to introduce the reader to the ideas of selected authors who have greatly contributed to our understanding of modern society: from Marx to Durkheim, from Weber to Simmel, from G.H. Mead to Parsons, up to Goffman and Garfinkel. Each author is the subject of an interpretative portrait, that is, a selective but systematic treatment: not a detailed review of his theories, nor a boring account of other scholars criticisms, but an overview of the authors most significant answers to crucial issues concerning humans distinctive traits and their social affairs, the potential and the weaknesses that help and hinder them in their relationships with others.
Gianfranco Poggi has taught at the Universities of Edinburgh, Trento, and Virginia and at the European University Institute in Florence.
Giuseppe Sciortino teaches Sociology of Change at the University of Trento.