Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World

(9 reviews)

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Pub Date: 2016

ISBN 13:

Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing

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Reviewed by Dee Hill Zuganelli, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, University of Arizona, on 6/11/2015.

Barkan’s textbook is a staggering 764 pages in length, covering 15 chapters (the last, a concluding overview of what students should have learned … read more

 

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Reviewed by Steve Przymus, Instructor, University of Arizona, on 6/11/2015.

The challenge with providing a textbook that tackles dynamic concepts such as globalization and social change, is making sure the information is … read more

 

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Reviewed by Jamee Kristen, Sociology Faculty and Department Chair, Portland Community College, on 1/8/2016.

While this is a very long text and has chapters dedicated to all main "intro" topics, there are key concepts that are missing - namely in the Race … read more

 

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Reviewed by Michael Dawson, Sociology Instructor, Portland Community College, on 1/8/2016.

The chapter topics are quite comprehensive, and chapters provide thorough, balanced overviews of each topic. The big missing chapter is one on war, … read more

 

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Reviewed by Lisa Linares, Lecturer, University of Wisconsin - Stout, on 8/22/2016.

Very thorough in its scope and range, resulting in a tome in size. I would have liked to see an actual table of contents at the beginning of the … read more

 

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Reviewed by Kristen Budd, Assistant Professor, Miami University, on 8/22/2016.

This book is very comprehensive. Not only does it include chapters that are found within traditional standard Introduction to Sociology textbooks … read more

 

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Reviewed by Jonathan Ortiz , Adjunct Professor , Concordia University , on 12/6/2016.

At first glance the text is daunting and I worry that my students might be turned off simply based on the size, 3588 pages in iBooks. Given its … read more

 

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Reviewed by Gayle D'Andrea, Sociology Professor, Reynolds Community College, on 2/9/2017.

Most all introductory textbooks include the same chapters, and often in the same order! This text includes all of the chapters one would expect and … read more

 

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Reviewed by Christopher Stapel, Community Faculty, Metropolitan State University, on 2/9/2017.

This text provides a remarkably thorough treatment of sociological theory, research methods, and social institutions. The text incorporates classical … read more

 

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Sociology and the Sociological Perspective
  • Chapter 2: Eye on Society: Doing Sociological Research
  • Chapter 3: Culture
  • Chapter 4: Socialization
  • Chapter 5: Social Structure and Social Interaction
  • Chapter 6: Groups and Organizations
  • Chapter 7: Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
  • Chapter 8: Social Stratification
  • Chapter 9: Global Stratification
  • Chapter 10: Race and Ethnicity
  • Chapter 11: Gender and Gender Inequality
  • Chapter 12: Aging and the Elderly
  • Chapter 13: Work and the Economy
  • Chapter 14: Politics and Government
  • Chapter 15: The Family
  • Chapter 16: Education
  • Chapter 17: Religion
  • Chapter 18: Health and Medicine
  • Chapter 19: Population and Urbanization
  • Chapter 20: Social Change and the Environment
  • Chapter 21: Collective Behavior and Social Movements
  • Chapter 22: Conclusion: Understanding and Changing the Social World

About the Book

Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World 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. Though the publisher has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution, this adapted edition reproduces all original text and sections of the book, except for publisher and author name attribution.

The founders of sociology in the United States wanted to make a difference. A central aim of the sociologists of the Chicago school was to use sociological knowledge to achieve social reform. A related aim of sociologists like Jane Addams, W.E.B. DuBois, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett and others since was to use sociological knowledge to understand and alleviate gender, racial, and class inequality.

It is no accident that many sociology instructors and students are first drawn to sociology because they want to learn a body of knowledge that could help them make a difference in the world at large. Steve Barkan’s Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World is designed for this audience. It presents a sociological understanding of society but also a sociological perspective on how to change society, while maintaining the structure and contents of the best mainstream texts.

Several pedagogical features of the book convey the sociological perspective and change theme:

Almost every chapter begins with a Social Issues in the News story from recent media coverage that recounts an event related to the chapter’s topic and proceeds with thought-provoking discussion about the social issue related to the event. Additional discussion elsewhere in the chapter helps students understand the basis for this issue and related issues. This dual treatment of the news story will help students appreciate the relevance of sociology for newsworthy events and issues.

Three types of boxes in almost every chapter reflect the U.S. founders’ emphasis on sociology and social justice. The first box, Sociology Making a Difference, discusses a social issue related to the chapter’s topic and shows how sociological insights and findings have been used, or could be used, to address the issue and achieve social reform. The second box, Learning from Other Societies, discusses the experience in another nation(s) regarding a social issue related to the chapter; this box helps students appreciate what has worked and not worked in other nations regarding the issue and thus better understand how social reform might be achieved in the United States. The third box, What Sociology Suggests, summarizes social policies grounded in sociological theory and research that hold strong potential for addressing issues discussed in the chapter.

In addition, many chapters contain tables called Theory Snapshots. These tables provide a quick reference tool for students to understand the varying theoretical approaches to the sociological topic that the chapter is discussing.

Finally, almost every chapter ends with a Using Sociology vignette that presents a hypothetical scenario concerning an issue or topic from the chapter and asks students to use the chapter’s material in a decision-making role involving social change. These vignettes help students connect the chapter’s discussion with real-life situations and, in turn, to better appreciate the relevance of sociological knowledge for social reform.

Drawing on these features and other discussion throughout the book, a brief and unique final chapter, ”Conclusion: Understanding and Changing the Social World,“ sums up what students have learned about society and themselves and reviews the relevance of sociology for achieving social change.

Steve Barkan’s Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World makes sociology relevant for today’s students by balancing traditional coverage with a fresh approach that ironically takes them back to sociology’s American roots in the use of sociological knowledge for social reform.

About the Contributors

Author(s)

Unnamed Author is a professor of sociology at the University of Maine. He is the author of several other textbooks: (1) Discovering Sociology: An Introduction Using MicroCase ExplorIt, second edition (Wadsworth); (2) Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, fifth edition (Prentice Hall); (3) Law and Society: An Introduction (Prentice Hall); (4) Collective Violence, second edition (with Lynne Snowden; Sloan Publishing); and (5) Fundamentals of Criminal Justice, second edition (with George Bryjak; Jones and Bartlett). He has also authored more than 30 journal articles and book chapters in sources such as the American Sociological Review; Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion; Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency; Justice Quarterly; Mobilization; Review of Religious Research; Social Forces; Social Problems; Social Science Quarterly; and Sociological Forum.

Professor Unnamed Author is past president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and is currently in his 17th year (fortunately, not all consecutive) as chair of his department. He has received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UMaine. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Professor Unnamed Author has lived in Maine for the past 32 years. He received his PhD in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his BA in sociology from Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), where he began to learn how to think like a sociologist and also to appreciate the value of a sociological perspective for understanding and changing society. He sincerely hopes that instructors and students enjoy reading this book in the format of their choice.