This is a major new textbook that introduces the key conceptual debates and approaches in contemporary political sociology. The power relationship between the state and civil society is introduced, and the impact of recent social changes on this relationship is explored. Important and topical issues including globalisation, the rise of new social movements, neo-liberalism, citizenship, political culture and political participation are discussed and critiques of many key sociologists such as Giddens, Beck and Etzioni are presented. It is argued that the power of the state has not been undermined to the extent that is often assumed. Instead it is shown that the context within which the state governs has been changed by the rise of more diverse and critical civil societies within liberal democracy and by the development of global risks. The overall aim of this book is to introduce the reader to the key processes that are changing the nature of politics and society in the modern world. Throughout the focus is on clarity, accessibility, and the needs of the reader: boxes and charts are used to highlight key facts and figures, and a guide to further reading is included to encourage further exploration of the subject.