Social Problems: Continuity and Change
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-9461352-3-0
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
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Barkan offers a solid overview of the sociological approach to social problems, and a review of established US problems leading with the context of read more
Barkan offers a solid overview of the sociological approach to social problems, and a review of established US problems leading with the context of the social constructionist view, and weaving other perspectives, historical matters, and policy approaches into the content in an accessible way. Key Takeaway sections that follow the sections provide very positive notes for relevancy. In later editions I would like to see certain social issues included, due to their potency and continued emerging urgency (specifically: human and civil rights, development and migration, cultural property, and sustainable consumption). More comparative treatments and discussion of the role of globalization plays within key social problems would add to this comprehensiveness.
I find the content of this text to be accurate, with few errors, and offers an objective approach to US society analysis.
The selection of social problems are relevant and widespread, and discussion of those carries demonstrates current treatment. However, as mentioned in "comprehensiveness" above its relevance could be improved by replacing some theoretical sections with pressing and fast-emerging social problems listed there.
This is an exceptionally clear and accessible text; very appropriate for an introduction to social problems course.
There is a reliable framework and very consistent terminology-set to this work. This adds dramatically to its accessibility.
I can see readily dividing this text into smaller reading sections and / or reorganizing or skipping sections to accommodate a specific course schedule.
The organization, structure, and flow of this text makes for a very readable and usable offering.
I find no significant interface issues.
I find no grammatical errors.
I do not find this text culturally insensitive nor offensive. Including cultural property, and comparative approaches throughout would add to its cultural relevance.
I chose to review this book as a possible adoption for a summer online Social Problems course. I was pleased to see that all of the topics that I read more
I chose to review this book as a possible adoption for a summer online Social Problems course. I was pleased to see that all of the topics that I currently cover in the course. While there is no glossary it is easy to navigate the table of contents.
Although I am not a subject matter expert on each of the topics covered, the ones that focused on my areas of specialty, Schools and Education and Race and Ethnicity, were accurate and without problem.
This text has a nice balance of timeless social theory and relevant contemporary examples. The examples should not need yearly updating but may need a refresh from time to time.
The book is accessible and engaging. I think most undergraduate students would find it clear and easy to read.
In spite of the wide range of material covered, the book reads like one written by an expert in everything.
The chapter structure of the book makes sense. When I need to adapt it for an 8 week course it would be easy to just choose the 8 most relevant topics.
The book is clearly organized and the end of chapter material brings it all together.
I appreciated the streamlined/simple layout and the pops of color.
There are no issues here.
I did not find any offensive references and the book attempts to enhance our appreciate of race, gender, and sexual diversity
A really wonderful alternative to an expensive social problems text. Covers all the material in an accessible way and leaves room for instructors to supplement as needed.
The text does a wonderful job of bringing in a vast array of social problems and related them to real world events. I am aware that it can be read more
The text does a wonderful job of bringing in a vast array of social problems and related them to real world events. I am aware that it can be challenging to address every social problem, as the text indicates there may be a need for society to acknowledge these problems and then they are viewed as social problems, I found there to be many missing components that can be addressed in future editions. I would have hoped to find, at least, some information regarding the Transgender population in the Gender chapter-there was no mention of this population outside of the Sexual Orientation chapter and this was just to include the "T" in GLBT. This population is marginalized and oppressed daily and there are many real-world examples out there to consider. Also, there is little on those living with a Disability, including Mental Illness. In the future it would be great for these populations to be included as well as others that I've missed. Overall, the book was comprehensive in what it noted it would address in the index/glossary.
I appreciate how the text worked to incorporate the historical perspectives of the issues it did address. They were seemingly on-point and individuals reading could direct themselves to more recent information through the citations and website that were used. This is helpful. Content was biased by nature of the topic-the point of social justice is to make the point that there is a problem and inequality-there was little counter-point to this represented in the text.
As mentioned previously, the text does an excellent job of bringing into awareness the historical context of real-world problems. Through this information can become outdated rapidly, the issues being addressed are constant and continue to be weaved into current times. I would say that it will be relatively easy for chapters or addenda to be added as more problems emerge (i.e., Transgender rights, Disability and Mental Illness, Opiod Epidemic, etc.).
The text is clear in the purpose-to educate about Social Problems and capacity for change. Any jargon that is unfamiliar to those reading outside the field is nicely and clearly defined. Each chapter builds off another and I appreciate the consistency in language and how examples are analyzed.
The text consistently uses real-life examples and graphics throughout to help the reader better understand the severity of the Social Problems represented. I find that the reader can expect what's next in terms of analysis of the social problem using consistent theories throughout, directions for what's next, and reflection and direction of furthering the dialogue. It's a great component to add, especially when using this with Undergraduate students.
One thing that I really enjoyed about the text is how it is easily broken up into readings. Each chapter was not so long that it would overwhelm a student and topics could be broken up over multiple class periods. This can be helpful in teaching that material as it may be necessary to ensure comprehension of components before moving on to how to create change.
I found the text to flow nicely and appreciated the consistent nature of what was covered within the sub-chapters.
While navigating I did not notice any problems/distortions.
I did not notice any problems with grammar.
I would be mindful of noting certain terminology and changing as our standards of inclusive language changes (one is not Transgendered as this is not a choice). Overall, I found the text to be open about cultural differences and real-life examples of the problems of inequality that has plagued our society over many years. There may be a need for a foreward note that some of the pictures may be distressing and inclusion of a way to have a conversation about why the reader reacted in a certain manner to the graphics or content.
I appreciate this book for what it is--an introduction into learning about Social Problems throughout history. I would find this text to be helpful in teaching both Undergraduate and Graduate students focused on advocacy and social change work. These conversations are not easy ones to have, and I would suggest anyone using the book to take the time to develop skills to handle some of the interpersonal challenges of dialogue and strong values/beliefs that may emerge from these conversations. There are some components that are missing from the problems identified, though these can be supplemented through literature and examples in society. The structure that is provided in the text is easily replicated to create a "lesson" on those factors missed.
The text covers a comprehensive look at social problems and provides an examination of discipline specific material as well as statistical read more
The text covers a comprehensive look at social problems and provides an examination of discipline specific material as well as statistical information on how each social problem is currently experienced throughout the world. The Key Takeways and For Your Review sections does a good job at summarizing material and engaging students.
The overall content is accurate although statistical information needs to be updated (see relevance/longetivity).
In regards to discipline specific material the text is highly relevant. However, sociology is a discipline that benefits from having recent statistics. Having more recent statistical information is important to understanding the current state of various social problems and providing an accurate understanding of social problems. In order to effectively use the text, the statistical information needs to be updated.
The text is easy to understand and the language effectively reaches students.
The text is consistent in its layout and approach. It continuously examines issues in a discipline specific manner while being culturally relevant. This is important in effectively engaging students.
This text is especially effective in it's modularity and can easily be broken into different sections. This is highly effective for student learning.
The text's flow and structure is consistent throughout. I think this is important to students specifically in an online environment who seek a rhythm to what they are learning and that a text has similar presentation from one chapter to the next.
Did not find any issues with the text's interface.
The text appears to be free of grammatical errors.
I found that the lessons section offer students the opportunity to understand the cultural impact more effectively. Information presented does not appear offensive and offers opportunities for critical analysis.
Providing quality open educational resources is important to meeting the needs of a dynamic student body. This text would be a great benefit to a Social Problems course with the addition of more recent statistical data.
This text covers all the chapters/topics you would expect in a Social Problems text. The chapters are concise at about twenty pages per chapters. The read more
This text covers all the chapters/topics you would expect in a Social Problems text. The chapters are concise at about twenty pages per chapters. The Table of Contents is comprehensive, but the is so glossary of terms or subject/name index at the end of the book.
I found the text to be mostly accurate. There are many statistics included in each chapter and I didn't check out each and every number provided. In the family chapter, in the section on divorce, I question the accuracy of the information provided that divorce rates rose sharply during the Great Depression and WWII. I don't believe that statement is true.
I give this section a 5 because it is very difficult to stay up-to-date in a Sociology text. Considering this book was published in 2010, there is some outdated material in it, specifically about same sex marriage. It was accurate in 2010, but is no longer relevant. If this book could be updated, it would be helpful.
I found this book to be clear and easy to follow. Most of the technical terms are explained or defined in the context of their usage.
I found each chapter to be consistent with the chapters before. The same prose is used throughout and the same major theories are consistently covered.
Each chapter is broken into sections and each section is appropriately numbered, e.g. in Chapter 10, section 1 is 10.1, section 2 is 10.2, etc...
I would reorder a couple of the chapters and combine a couple of chapters. Chapter 4 is gender inequality, Chapter 5 is sexual orientation and inequality, Chapter 6 is aging and ageism, Ch 7 is alcohol/drugs, Ch 8 crime and CJ and then Ch 9 is sexual behavior. I would either put Sexual behavior as Chapter 6 or I would simply combine Chapters 5 and 6 into one chapter. Sixteen chapters can be a bit too much to cover in a semester.
The navigation is smooth from the TOC to each chapter. One thing that I found to be a little confusing is that within the chapter, there a links to charts, photos, other chapters and they are highlighted in red. You click on it and it takes you somewhere. Key terms in each chapter are also highlighted in the exact same shade of red, so it seems like you should be able to click on the term and be taken to a glossary, but they're not links.
I found no obvious grammatical errors in the text.
I would like to see more inclusion of Native Americans and Asian Americans in the race/ ethnicity chapter and in all the charts/graphs/statistics that discuss race. Also in the race/ethnicity chapter (3.1), I think it is possible to discuss lynching without including a photograph of a lynched man. It is insensitive. Transgender is covered in Chapter 5, the chapter on sexual orientation. It should be included in the chapter on GENDER as it has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. The term transvestite is outdated. The section on public attitudes about sexual orientation is all about the Bible - not a very diverse perspective.
Instructor resources would be a great and helpful addition to any open source book. There are none provided for this particular text. A few more end of section/chapter review or discussion questions would be great too
The book is very comprehensive and covers the contemporary and important social problems in our society. It is up-to-date. It is high quality read more
The book is very comprehensive and covers the contemporary and important social problems in our society. It is up-to-date. It is high quality production from an established publisher.
The information is very up-to-date.
Up-to-date but there will be a need for periodic updates of national trends in these topical areas.
The text is easy to read and visually appealing. It has sections - key takeaways, review, what you can do that will be engaging for undergraduate students.
The book is very consistent in framework and organization.
This is the strength of the book - text is broken up in an organized way that will be appeal to visual learners.
Organization is very clear and consistent and easy to follow.
I did not see any interface problems.
No grammar issues.
This book is very culturally relevant and many of the topics focus on cultural and diversity issues.
The range of topics covered by the text is appropriate, and the concepts covered within the subjects are, overall, appropriate for an introduction to read more
The range of topics covered by the text is appropriate, and the concepts covered within the subjects are, overall, appropriate for an introduction to social problems. From what I can tell, sex trafficking gets one brief mention in chapter 4 (Gender) but no mention in chapter 9 on sexual behavior. The mention it does get, also represents it as the problem of a few countries globally. In reality, sex trafficking is a huge problem worldwide, including the United States. Even if the topic is not addressed in depth in this text, the failure to acknowledge and represent it accurately is a big problem. It is particularly an issue because the connection between sex trafficking and prostitution is not made. Many prostitutes have been or are victims of sex trafficking. This further complicates discussion of the topic of prostitution, but it is important to represent this complexity. In chapter 10 when family violence is discussed, I was surprised to not see reference Johnson's typology of types of intimate partner violence (IPV). This typology helps address the conflict between various perspectives on what causes IPV and the form it takes. There is a huge difference between intimate terrorism and situational couple violence, and I think this should at least be alluded to. This was acknowledged a bit in the discussion of gendered violence, but not as clearly as it could, and I think should, be. Page 598: author reports that TFR is misunderstood more often than other fertility measures but does not explain why/how. Without explanation, this seems to me to be an unnecessary detail. The section on Mortality and Death rates on page 600 is woefully inadequate. At a minimum, there should be some brief discussion of how and whey mortality rates have changed over time in the United States, and why and how similar changes are or are not occurring in other countries. It would also be relevant to mention that our infant mortality rate is not comparable to that of many nations that we are peers with in other areas. I see no index or glossary, which could make the text harder to use, particularly when students are trying to review concepts they have read earlier.
In chapter 5 on sexual orientation, I am concerned that the terms "transgendered" and "homosexuality" are used. Most major news sources have follow GLAAD's request to not use these terms (https://www.glaad.org/reference). This terminology should be updated to reflect more sensitivity to this population.
I love how in each chapter, the sections are separated and have their own reference lists. This is so practical, in terms of implementing changes in the future, and I think it will be helpful to students in organizing the information they take in from reading it. This text also does a nice job integrating historical perspectives on issues with related current events and concerns. I think overall the book hits the mark on overall relevance and longevity.
The text clearly defines key terms and jargon as they are used (although an index and/or glossary would be an important addition). The prose is very accessible---exactly what I would expect a college student to be able to read without struggling and comprehend without confusion.
I do not see any problems with internal consistency. The author did a nice job of representing functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interaction perspectives within the various topics.
YES. This is one of my favorite things about this text. I love how each chapter has such distinct sections. It's like all these complicated topics have been cut into bite-size pieces for the reader, which is so important in terms of accessibility and facilitating comprehension. Well done!
I like the overall organization of topics in the book. In the class I teach that correlates best with this text, I cover the various topics in a quite similar order. I also find the organization within chapters logical.
(PDF version of text) Pages 140, 180: Image at the bottom of page, caption is on the top of the following page Some of the images in the text are quite good, some are just ok, and some look staged or somewhat irrelevant to the topic at hand. However, I have a MAJOR problem with the divorce cake picture on page 408. I think it is not only in poor taste, but it also reinforces a host of (often gender-related) stereotypes and assumptions associated with divorce. I'll admit to being particularly sensitive to this issue as I am a divorced woman. But I'd like to hope that others would see the problems with this image that I see. There are some really great divorce cakes out there, and I'm all for you using an image of one in the text. But not this one. Page 224: heading for title, blank below, table that follows goes for over a page, but is very narrow. I would suggest reformatting this. Pages 251, 434: Marijuana heading should just begin on the next page Pages 254, 261, 397: heading for table should be on same page as table Pages 261: source info for table should appear on the same page as the table Pages 320, 472, 559: caption for photo should be on same page as photo Pages 346, 358, 364, 499, 501, 560, 654: image is so large that a big gap is left on previous page. Pages 571: text here is smaller than everywhere else Pages 575, 663: keep bulleted lists on the same page
I'm sure there are some (there always are), but in my review, I did not find any.
Overall, it's pretty good. Like I mentioned before, I don't like listing only a few countries as having sex trafficking as a major problem. But this is the only specific example I can think of where I felt like certain countries were called out inappropriately. The issues with gender and sexuality terminology that I mentioned in item 2 are a big concern for me, however.
I definitely will refer to this text for general reviews of certain issues I'm not as familiar with and for using the discussion questions. I may use parts of it with my students, as well. If the issues I brought up were addressed, I would most definitely integrate at least parts of it in the readings I use in certain courses.
Social Problems: Continuity and Change reads as an introductory text that exposes readers to a wide array of social issues. As such, the breadth of read more
Social Problems: Continuity and Change reads as an introductory text that exposes readers to a wide array of social issues. As such, the breadth of the text is impressive as many significant areas relating to social problems are discussed. However, due to the wide range of of topics, the depth in which each area is covered is relatively less, and is therefore more appropriate for an introductory class. That being said, the ideas that are considered in the text are done so in a critical and insightful manner and encourage further discussion (such as in a classroom setting) and thought. The table of contents that is provided is extremely useful and easy to navigate. A glossary of terms is not included, but would be helpful to readers for easy reference.
One of the most important features of Social Problems is the author's approach to providing information in the most objective way possible. Many of the issues discussed include various theoretical frameworks for understanding the why and how aspects. These often include the most prominent responses to social problems, including a brief genealogy of the problem presented in an informative way. Absent from this discussion is the author's viewpoints, thus allowing the reader to form their own conclusions.
The content is accurate and up-to-date with current sociological perspectives and includes contemporary examples, which help make it more relevant to undergraduates. Historical examples are also included in order to better conceptualize the origins and development of the issues. The text will have staying power for years to come, but occasionally adding recent examples will also be beneficial as it will help students relate to the material more easily and demonstrate the continuity of the problem.
This is one of the more accessible social problems text I have read. One does not need to have completed a prerequisite course in order to understand the concepts and ideas in Social Problems: Continuity and Change. Terms and ideas specific to the field of sociology are sufficiently elaborated upon in a clear and concise style. Yet, the information is also not too basic as to be deemed common-sense or intuitive. The language used is appropriate for the undergraduate level as it is easy to follow, yet at the same contributes to language development through the use of new terms (and terms used in new, non-conventional ways). The author has struck the important balance between accessibility and using the appropriate amount of jargon (while providing more than adequate context).
I found the book to be very consistent, particularly with terminology. For example, in the initial discussion of the connotative differences between the terms sex and gender, the author clarifies that the two are not interchangeable. When referencing either of these terms in other areas of the book, the author uses them in a manner consistent with the distinction provided. The same can also be said of the terms race and ethnicity as well.
There are numerous sections within each chapter that are organized similarly across all chapters. None of the individual sections are lengthy, yet they provide the reader with an appropriate amount of information, including historical perspectives, theoretical frameworks, examples, and solutions. Each chapter can be assigned out of order as the text is not overly self-referential, but the sections within the chapter are best read together and chronologically for maximum comprehension.
The reader is able to anticipate the organization of each chapter. This is particularly helpful with a book that discussed such a large variety of topics as it lends clarity and cohesiveness to the text. Moreover, the preface does a good job of outlining the structure of each chapter, while the table of contents also provides a useful quick reference.
I did not experience any interface issues. The links within the table of contents perfectly redirected the reader to the respective section. The images, photos, charts, graphs, and other displays were also clear and appropriate in size and relevance.
I noticed a few minor grammatical issues (missing period (one or two), absent commas, improper apostrophes, etc). I did not see any misspellings or major issues in sentence structure.
By and large, the author does an exceptional job of being inclusive (which is extremely important for a text that discusses cultural sensitive topics such as race, sex, feminism, age, ethnicity, class, etc.). The examples provided in the book draw from diverse groups, though the main focus is often on issues within the Unites States (and the Western world), with less attention given to global matters. Some of the images used to reference other cultures (for example, in section 4.3, under the heading, "The Global Inequality of Women) seem ahistorical and overly simplistic. In the example cited, the captions states that brides in Pakistan and India are killed every year due to inadequate dowries. This problem of violence against women in these states is much more complicated than the caption allows. Furthermore, the image used could also be viewed as essentializing of Indian women as traditional, rural, stuck in time, and even backwards and is not representative of most Indian women (who wear Western style clothing, do not do farm work, etc.).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Social Problems: Continuity and Change and believe that it is an important text that is relevant to students of every discipline.
This text provides a VERY comprehensive look at overall social problems within the United States and provides a well-defined section on a variety of read more
This text provides a VERY comprehensive look at overall social problems within the United States and provides a well-defined section on a variety of specific issues. This open text would be an excellent supplement to a large variety of course subjects when used in parts, but it would also be very useful in its entirety for a sociology or other related course. The comprehensiveness of topics lends itself to a wider use across disciplines than a more sociology- or psychology-specific focused text. For example, one could use the chapters on gender inequality and the changing family of this text in a women's studies course, while a criminal justice course might use the chapters covering crime and substance abuse instead. While the text does not appear to provide a specific index or glossary, it does provide appropriate links and citations where applicable. I might suggest including these features in the next revision of this text.
Content appears to be accurate and uses current sources where applicable. Images were also notably very current in several sections. No errors were noticed and the text is reasonably unbiased in its review of US/American society.
Given that this is a text written about societal problems and current issues, it generally lends itself to needing more updating than other subject matter. With that being said, this book would have relatively good longevity (several years) before significant additions would need to be made. Again, this would depend on any significant changes to cultural perceptions or legislative measures (for example, recent legalization of same-sex marriage).
This is a particular strength of this book. It starts each chapter with clear learning objectives and ends with a recap and key take-aways. I think this significantly adds to the student experience and helps to provide important scaffolding for the knowledge they are building. Excessively technical terms are avoided or explained where needed.
This text presents topics in a consistent manner and helps students to contextualize each topic within the broader society. Another helpful aspect is the continual redirection to ways students can get involved (volunteering, activism, etc). I find this particularly noteworthy because students may often feel dismayed at the breadth and depth of societal problems, but this part of each chapter helps them begin to move from discomfort and despair to action and positive contributions to their communities.
This book seems to have excellent modularity. I could see this text being used in parts very easily with little to no adjustment needed. Chapters can be presented in a different order than shown in the book without incident.
The consistency of structure in each chapter provides a great framework for students to become comfortable with what to expect for each topic. The flow created by the various sub-sections helps to understand the material in a larger context.
Overall the online interface has worked well. As mentioned previously, I would suggest adding an index and/or glossary with links to the appropriate sections. The table of contents is effective for navigation between chapters and sub-sections.
I have not noticed any grammatical errors in my review of this book.
Since this book addresses many cultural "hot topics", it's particularly important that those topics be discussed in a sensitive manner. This text takes a very matter-of-fact tone with the reader and uses research and historical context to help understand issues like race, gender, and sexuality. Where applicable, examples of cultures or communities outside of the United States are given to further examine the specific topic.
The text offers a broad overview of key social problem areas that will be of interest to students. It offers a table of contents that details the read more
The text offers a broad overview of key social problem areas that will be of interest to students. It offers a table of contents that details the approach to each problem. Each topic includes an historical perspective as well as an explanation of what key terms mean. The author follows a standardized approach in each chapter of defining the problem, presenting a range of data disaggregated by numerous characteristics including age, race, and sex. He provides statistics on the problem including easy to comprehend graphic presentations. offers competing theories that offer different explanations for why the problems exist, identifies individuals and approaches that have helped ameliorate the problems. The author also engages students in thinking about how they could contribute to alleviating or eliminating the problem.
I found the text to be accurate overall although the latest research and statistics are primarily from 2010 and 2011. One would want to supplement with updated research findings and data but other than that the content was correct. It appeared to be to be error-free and offered a balanced perspective. The ranking below is a 3 only because of the currency of the research and statistics.
The content of the book is still pertinent. The framing of the various problems, presentation of their key components and discussion of their different impact on specific demographic groups works well. The current event spotlighting the problem at the beginning of each chapter can easily be updated.
The text is clearly written and organized. It will be easy for students to understand. Any complex terms or theories are adequately explained. Each chapter lists takeaways at the end which will help students to retain the major points.
As discussed above, the text is organized so that the chapters follows the same schema throughout.
The text could easily be broken into blocks that corresponded to the syllabus topic for a given week. With some work, one could also easily update the content in those areas that needed more current information.
The topics are presented in an impressively clear and accessible manner. The challenge is the length of the book and the challenges of scrolling to easily locate or review previously read content. That is the nature of e-reading. For some students this is a challenge.
I didn't notice any interface problems that would distract the reader from understanding the text content other than the challenge of scrolling such lengthy material as discussed above.
I saw no grammatical errors.
Effectively presents and discusses race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation. Could be supplemented with content on transgender issues.
I could see segments of this text being used in a variety of courses that address social issues including, social policy, social work, and public health as well as intro sociology. The preface to this text on your website described it as an Introduction to Psychology but it is instead an Introduction to Sociology,
The overall layout of the textbook is logical and comprehensive. Additionally, the layout of each chapter is well organized and provides a wide range read more
The overall layout of the textbook is logical and comprehensive. Additionally, the layout of each chapter is well organized and provides a wide range of topics and examples. The textbook covers an inclusive list of key terms, and the definitions are concise and to the point. However, I think that the presentation of major sociological theory could be more thorough. If I used this textbook for a course, I would likely accompany it with additional theoretical readings.
The author accurately and effectively covers material, and for the most part a variety of perspectives are presented for each topic.
Although the timeliness and relevance of material covered in a social problems class is constantly in flux, the textbook does a nice job of incorporating material from a wide range of contemporary issues. Plus, one of the perks of using a textbook from the Open Textbook Library is that you can more easily tweak the material being covered.
The language as well as the organizational structure of the writing is clear and concise. Additionally, the examples are easy to understand and complement and clarify key points.
Each chapter follows a similar and consistent layout, which makes the material easier for students to retain.
I can see how the overall structure as well as the organization of each chapter is well designed for class modules. For example, the “Social Problems in the News” section that starts each chapter is great for generating class dialogue and so are the “For Your Review” questions.
The organization of the chapters has a logical flow. Additionally, I like how the preface explains the layout of the chapters (i.e. the bullet points), I’m sure this is especially useful when students are studying for midterms.
Charts, graphs, visualizations, etc. are easy to understand and complement the text.
There does not appear to be grammatical or mechanical errors, and the textbook is accessible to readers.
The author presents a variety of examples and perspectives. However, I think the textbook could benefit from a more intersectional approach.
I’m a firm believer that higher education should be more affordable for students so I am pleased that this textbook, as well as others in the Open Textbook Library, offer quality sociological reading material.
This text covers a broad spectrum of social problems coherently and thoroughly. One of the strengths of this text is the manner in which it provides read more
This text covers a broad spectrum of social problems coherently and thoroughly. One of the strengths of this text is the manner in which it provides examples that can connect the reader, students, to the issues in a way that matters to them. There are relevant examples throughout that are intermingled with theoretical lenses that connect the reality to academia, or vice versa. Each chapter focuses on one area of social problems and ties them to broader areas of oppression and intersections such as race, class, gender, etc. This is not easily accomplished across such a broad range of topics, but is nicely done here and is central in the first few chapters, setting a stage of perspective for the rest of the book.
Concepts and theories are accurate and clearly described, as well as current and relevant. The text is also up to date and in many cases seems to present more than one angle to social problems. This is taking into consideration a natural bias in social sciences when looking at social problems, but this text seems to, in most cases, lessen this to a great extent.
Prefacing the book with ‘classic theory’ and incorporating current events will maintain that the text is relevant for a long time. The ability to update the current events and areas of the chapters should be simple and will keep it current and lively!
Easy to read and comprehend, and the chapters were clear in their intent and purpose. The language used and writing style is very well managed in a way that presents the material clearly and concisely, while keeping readers attention.
Seemed consistent throughout, in both terminology and framework.
While reading this it was clear that there was a structure to create modules of learning to accompany. This would be easy to organize into discussions and lectures from the text layout. Also within chapters there was clear sub sections that were also laid out in modular organization. This text could easily be divided into subunits and sets of chapters for multiple subjects. This is a very strong point of this text.
The layout and structure seemed well thought out and the sections and sub sections were clear and followed each other well. There is no way to judge what social problem should come before another in presentation, and if it were desired to change the flow, one could easily assign different topic chapters in a different order.
Easily accessible, downloadable and all text, images and graphs were clear. As someone who is typically not drawn to online reading and would prefer in hand reading, this was easy and simple to navigate.
No grammatical errors were found.
Given the inclusion of current events and obvious attempt at intersectionality, this seems culturally relevant and easily graces the reader with the ability to see this. The text is appropriate and respectful of diverse backgrounds and lives.
I am not one to subscribe to online texts per se, but will definitely consider this after taking the time to read Social Problems: Continuity and Change, I was impressed by how comprehensive and well-presented it was. I think that given the vast amount of information, that this text could be very useful in full or in part for teaching, and given the format, a more socially conscious choice. There were chapters that would not only be good as part of the whole text, but used as an introductory to a more specific subject course. I think one of the strengths of the text is the language and the manner in which it really does provide opportunity for students to connect closely through pictures and examples presented.
The book is extremely comprehensive, covering major challenges society is facing in the 21st Century, and would serve well as a reference book and as read more
The book is extremely comprehensive, covering major challenges society is facing in the 21st Century, and would serve well as a reference book and as a place to go to begin research on today’s social problems. Extensive references are helpful resources.
The book is generally well researched, with many references in each chapter, although some of the references are ten years old or more. More recent research would add legitimacy to the accuracy of the book. For example, the section on marijuana (pp 322-324) is inaccurate and needs updating due to recent legalization, medicinal usage, rising potency of the drug, and also due to new research on cannabis and its effects. Both assertions in the statement “marijuana is generally not physiologically addictive, (and) it does not reduce ambition and motivation” (p. 323) have been shown through research to be untrue. The DSM 5 now recognizes that there are both physical and mental symptoms associated with marijuana withdrawal, and studies have shown that “amotivational” behavior occurs in those who chronically use marijuana. Actually, I found this section on marijuana and its effects to be somewhat irresponsible—the text takes a tone that is seemingly condoning marijuana use, which in my opinion is ill-advised considering the general demographic of those who will most likely be reading this text. Check out The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Research Report Series on marijuana for an overview of newer research: https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/mjrrs_9_15.pdf
The social problems discussed in the book, such as racism, poverty, drug and alcohol use, crime, and war and terrorism are both relevant to current societal concerns plaguing both the United States and the world and are also are challenges the world will be facing long into the future. The text should remain relevant with updates and inclusion of more current reseacrh and case examples.
The book is very clear in presenting its ideas in a linear and logical fashion. It presents a social problem, examines the causes and current impact of the problem, and offers suggestions for how the problems could begin to be ameliorated. The book is written in understandable language.
The chapters are very consistent in their presentations. The social problems herein are examined in the same manner in each chapter, which allows the book to flow well. The reader knows what to expect and what learning objectives are meant to occur.
The book is very well organized and the individual chapters can stand alone. If an instructor wanted to only teach portions of the book, this could be easily achieved. The chapters are also broken up into smaller sections, which make it easy to read small chunks at a time while also gaining increased knowledge of the subject matter.
The book flows well. I found the structure and the presentation helpful, as my interest in the topics grew the more I read.
I noted no problems with the book’s interface. Graphics were simply presented and understandable.
No grammar problems were noted. The writing was easy to follow and understand.
The text is very culturally conscience and relevant. Many (if not all) of the social problems in the world involve racism, discrimination, and conflicts between cultures, and the text does a good job of pointed out how culture affects and is affected by the social maladies covered. I did not perceive the text to be culturally insensitive in any way, although I am a privileged white male and have my own blind spots, so it’s possible I missed something an individual of another culture or demographic might see differently.
Overall, I found this text to be an excellent overview of problems with which modern society is confronted and which college students will continue to face as they grow older. Although I am familiar with many of the subjects discussed in the book, I enjoyed reading the text and found my interest growing in the subjects due to the manner in which topics were presented and the examples used to demonstrate them. I also appreciated that the book encouraged students to strive for social justice and not lose hope that they can contribute to the amelioration or resolution of these social problems.
Through the text, Barkan provides a comprehensive definition of social problems and policy processes, overview of critical current issues and read more
Through the text, Barkan provides a comprehensive definition of social problems and policy processes, overview of critical current issues and theoretical perspectives, and history of problems affecting the social context of the United States and how such have been and can be addressed. There are also helpful sections that provide a global look at some social issues. While there is no index, glossary, or table of contents, the text is formatted effectively to highlight key terms, definitions, and concepts. Having nearly 900 pages of comprehensive coverage of social problems limits opportunities for instructors to assign additional readings and expose students to a variety of authors and research.
The content provided is not only comprehensive, but is also accurate and current. Barkan provides multiple perspectives on social problems, which effectively limits bias. Readers are exposed to opposing public and political views within a socio-historical context, allowing for readers to form their own educated assessments on the various social issues.
The content is current, and the text makes use of relevant news stories. It is arranged in such a way that and has a digital format whereby these news stories, supporting resources, and text can be easily replaced and/or updated.
Barkan’s writing style falls between informal and formal registers, utilizing clear, accessible language and avoiding the use of jargon (including academic, scholarly, and technical terminology) without providing an adequate explanation. The information is presented in a manner appropriate for some high school classes in addition to the post secondary level.
The terminology and framework of the text are internally consistent, incorporating the theoretical perspective of social constructivism throughout. It has a user-friendly and engaging chapter/section format that includes several types of pedagogical features and text blocks for application of social problems in the news, in relation to youth, with respect to change, various activities and scenarios, as well as succinctly summarized objectives, takeaways, and review.
The text is successfully divided into modules whereby each chapter contains smaller reading sections, complete with the aforementioned pedagogical features and text blocks. This arrangement is particularly useful when structuring reading assignments for courses in which the entire text may not be used or may be supplemented with additional journal articles. The included subheadings are also useful to guide readers and instructors through the content. Sections of text can be easily reorganized and assigned without disrupting the meaning and delivery of the content.
The chapters and topics within each chapter are presented in a clear and logical manner. The modularity of the text is structured in such a way that flows consistently with the subject matter while leaving flexibility for re-organization to fit the needs of individual instructors.
While the text appears to be free of significant interface issues, navigation through the text is challenging. The comprehensive nature of the text makes it lengthy, and the addition of interactive table of contents, index, and glossary as well as a list of the charts and figures would be helpful to allow readers to navigate through the text. Currently, navigation through the text is a bit cumbersome, limited to scrolling through nearly 900 pages to locate information. The images are appropriate and engaging. While they contain helpful information, the charts used could be more visually sophisticated. None of the display features appear to be distracting or confusing.
The text appears to be free of grammatical errors.
Barkan does an excellent job of addressing social problems, which by nature can be controversial, in a manner that is neither culturally insensitive nor offensive. Barkan uses examples that are diverse, multicultural, and inclusive.
Social Problems: Continuity and Change is a well written, organized, and comprehensive textbook presentation of social issues and transformation. The author skillfully provides multiple perspectives on a wide range of issues, typically controversial in nature, thus promoting cultural sensitivity and relevance while avoiding bias. Though lengthy, the modular format of the text is ideal for modification for use in post-secondary as well as some secondary settings. Because the author so thoroughly covers the landscape of social problems, this text is an excellent resource even if not adopted in entirety.
Attempting to comprehensively cover all aspects of social problems, with the extensiveness of marginalization, diversity, and oppression that exists read more
Attempting to comprehensively cover all aspects of social problems, with the extensiveness of marginalization, diversity, and oppression that exists in modern American society, is a daunting task. While I think the aim of this book is not for complete comprehensiveness, it’s almost 900 pages provide an extensive overview and set the stage well for opening students eyes to the differences that exist between the version(s) of the world they have experienced first hand, and the versions of the world that others experience. One of the key strengths of the text is in how it not only provides an overview of social problems in American society, but it also how it grounds the interpretations of these social problems through theoretical and paradigmatic lenses. Discussions of Structural Functionalism or Critical theories are highly useful in setting the stage for the investigation of social problems, and this text handles that well. Additionally the text provides examples throughout the chapters for how these types of problems may be viewed or dealt with in different cultures around the world. These pieces, along with discussions of opportunity for change and action, add to the comprehensiveness of the text by fostering conversations that could bring the students full circle to where they are not only enlightened about problems they may not have known existed prior to engagement in the course, but are also equipped to take steps toward addressing those problems.
The content of the text appears to be relatively error free. However, all positions concerning social problems are by their nature inherently biased. By simply deciding what constitutes a problem we have identified a position in which we stand. This is not bench science where generalizable truth is easier to quantify. Thankfully the author acknowledges this early in the text by explaining the differential nature by which people ascribe meaning to the world around them, and the theme is carried throughout, thus giving the reader the ability to interpret the identified problems from multiple viewpoints.
The contents of this text appear to be very up to date. I would expect this (digital) format to be an incredible asset to helping to keep the discussion of these social problems a contemporary one. Due to the structure and compartmentalization of the text I would expect updates to be easily added to the text.
The author has done a wonderful job at making the text easy to read and accessible. There is a minimum use of highly scientific or jargon terms, and students should find it easily digestible.
The text is consistent. For example throughout the text various social problems are examined using the same theoretical perspectives. Also there are social research sections throughout the text and key takeaways and discussion topics are at the end of every section. The structure and organization of the book, as well as concepts, terminology, and theories used, are consistent.
The modularity of the text would lend it to be easily taken apart and reassembled to suit particular classes. Further, the text with almost 900 pages total, appears to have been constructed with this in mind. Each chapter is self contained and could be used standing alone, and the sections within chapters are relatively self sustaining as well. The text has a good use of headings and is well organized.
The topics are presented in a fairly logical progression. Inside the chapters, content layout is highly logical and clear.
The text has an excellent interface. Charts, illustrations and figures are vibrant and helpful. One thing that may be helpful would be quick links (in a condensed table of contents) in the pdf file that could take you straight to a chapter rather than having to scroll through to find it.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
The author appears to have worked to make the text as culturally sensitive as possible considering the subject matter.
The book takes a comprehensive approach to social problems addressing major social institutions (family, school, work and health care) and including read more
The book takes a comprehensive approach to social problems addressing major social institutions (family, school, work and health care) and including an emphasis on race/ethnicity, age, rural/urban, and global concerns such as war and terrorism. I was also delighted to see a chapter on the environment. In particular I appreciate the first chapters that clearly lay out the definition and evolution of a social problem along with theoretical perspectives on social problems. This setup provides a very useful framework for understanding what is to come in individual issues focused chapters. The books is filled with examples and illustrations along with application- the why does it matter bit that students so appreciate.
The book's content appears accurate. Theories and concepts are well explained.
The book connects relevant and up-to-date sources with classics. Each chapter starts off with "social problems in the news" section highlighting a timely connection to the issue.. I should imagine the book will remain useful for some years to come!
I found the writing to be very clear and approachable. Appropriate terminology was used but always with a clear explanation illustrated with examples.
The books format and content appear consistent. Chapters are laid out to include similar elements (my favorite of which is the applying social research). Colorful graphs, illustrations and photos support the text. the theoretical perspectives introduced in the front matter are pulled throughout.
The book was clearly developed with an eye for modularity. Combined with the front matter chapters and even subsections of chapters easily stand alone. I could imagine using sections of this book in several courses in our undergraduate program (including families in poverty, family, school and community collaboration, critical thinking, and health disparities). I could also see using sections of the book as supplements to workshops and training.
The flow seemed logical. I appreciate the development of clear subsections within each chapter.
I found no issues interfacing with the pdf. Graphs, images and and text were clear.
The book seems to strive to be inclusive of perspectives outside of majority culture. The privilege of social class and geographic location that bring about opportunity gaps were well acknowledged in explanations of inequality.
I came in to this review a skeptic. I was sure that a free online textbook would somehow be an inferior product. My mind has been changed!
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Understanding Social Problems
- Chapter 2: Poverty
- Chapter 3: Racial and Ethnic Inequality
- Chapter 4: Gender Inequality
- Chapter 5: Sexual Orientation and Inequality
- Chapter 6: Aging and Ageism
- Chapter 7: Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Chapter 8: Crime and Criminal Justice
- Chapter 9: Sexual Behavior
- Chapter 10: The Changing Family
- Chapter 11: Schools and Education
- Chapter 12: Work and the Economy
- Chapter 13: Health and Health Care
- Chapter 14: Urban and Rural Problems
- Chapter 15: Population and the Environment
- Chapter 16: War and Terrorism
About the Book
Social Problems: Continuity and Change is a realistic but motivating look at the many issues that are facing our society today. As this book’s subtitle, Continuity and Change, implies, social problems are persistent, but they have also improved in the past and can be improved in the present and future, provided that our nation has the wisdom and will to address them.
It is easy for students to read a social problems textbook and come away feeling frustrated by the enormity of the many social problems facing us today. Social Problems: Continuity and Change certainly does not minimize the persistence of social problems, but neither does it overlook the possibilities for change offered by social research and by the activities of everyday citizens working to make a difference. Readers the book will find many examples of how social problems have been improved and of strategies that hold great potential for solving them today and in the future.
You will find several pedagogical features help to convey the “continuity and change” theme of this text and the service sociology vision in which it is grounded: Each chapter begins with a “Social Problems in the News” story related to the social problem discussed in that chapter. These stories provide an interesting starting point for the chapter’s discussion and show its relevance for real-life issues. Three types of boxes in each chapter provide examples of how social problems have been changed and can be changed. In no particular order,
A first box, “Applying Social Research,” discusses how the findings from sociological and other social science research have either contributed to public policy related to the chapter’s social problem or have the potential of doing so.
A second box, “Lessons from Other Nations,” discusses how another nation or nations have successfully addressed the social problem of that chapter.
A third box, “People Making a Difference,” discusses efforts by individuals, non-profit organizations or social change groups, or social movements relating to the chapter’s social problem. Students will see many examples in this box of how ordinary people can indeed make a difference.
A fourth box in each chapter, “Children and Our Future,” examines how the social problem discussed in that chapter particularly affects children, and it outlines the problem’s repercussions for their lives as adolescents and adults. This box reinforces for students the impact of social problems on children and the importance of addressing these problems for their well-being as well as for the nation’s well-being.
Each chapter ends with a “Using What You Know” feature that presents students with a scenario involving the social problem from the chapter and that puts them in a decision-making role. This feature helps connect the chapter’s theoretical discussion with potential real-life situations.
Each chapter also ends with a “What You Can Do” feature that suggests several activities, strategies, or other efforts that students might undertake to learn more about and/or to address the social problem examined in the chapter. Like other aspects of the book, this feature helps counter “doom and gloom” feelings that little can be done about social problems.
Other pedagogical features in each chapter include Learning Objectives at the beginning of a major section that highlight key topics to be learned; Key Takeaways at the end of a major section that highlight important points that were discussed in the section; For Your Review questions, also at the end of a major section, that have students think critically about that section’s discussion; and a Summary that reviews the major points made in the chapter.
The founders of American sociology a century or more ago in cities like Atlanta and Chicago wanted to reduce social inequality, to improve the lives of people of color, and more generally to find solutions to the most vexing social problems of their times. A former president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, A. Javier Treviño, has used the term service sociology to characterize their vision of their new discipline. Social Problems: Continuity and Change is grounded in this vision by offering a sociological understanding of today’s social problems and of possible solutions to these problems.
About the Contributors
Social Problems: Continuity and Change is adapted from a work produced by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.