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social theorya term often used to refer to all or any general theoretical accounts of social relations, whatever their disciplinary base or origin. Thus a distinction can be drawn between SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY in a narrow sense, the theory produced by those fully identified with, and working within, paradigms clearly located within disciplinary sociology and those theories produced outside it.
Given the open-ended and eclectic nature of sociology as a discipline (as discussed in the Introduction of this Dictionary), the distinction between sociological theory and social theory is not a hard-and-fast one, and many sociologists in fact prefer to work with whichever theories appear most relevant, whatever their disciplinary source (as indeed is often the case within this Dictionary). In doing this they may sometimes also prefer to present themselves as 'social theorists’.