Read more about Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World

Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World

(25 reviews)

Copyright Year: 2016

ISBN 13: 9781946135247

Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing

Language: English

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Reviewed by Elaine Gatewood, Adjunct Faculty, Bridgewater State University on 11/7/22

I found the book to be very comprehensive, covering all aspects of a typical intro textbook. I liked the way the topics were broken down and listed in the table of contents for each subject. It made it very easy to find particular aspects of a... read more

Reviewed by Christine McCown, Instructor/Collegiate Faculty (Fall '23), Virginia Tech on 5/22/22

I found the book to be very comprehensive, covering all aspects of a typical intro textbook and then-some, only much more effective at getting straight to the point, while still being engaging. I liked the way the topics were broken down and... read more

Reviewed by Gabriel Nelson, Adjunct Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 10/14/21

The text is comparable to other introductory textbooks in terms of its breadth of topics and subspecialties in sociology. The textbook's strength lies in its organization of topics and its concise discussions of many different subspecialties with... read more

Reviewed by Christine Witkowski, Instructor, Midlands Technical College on 7/14/21

This book is comparable in coverage of topics to other introductory sociology textbooks, with the exception of lacking a dedicated chapter about media. I’m appreciative of the approach of the textbook’s authors to present the material in a... read more

Reviewed by Evan Shenkin, Visiting Assistant Professor, Western Oregon University on 6/13/21

Many subjects are covered in this volume. If this textbook is selected, I would suggest assigning other content, in addition to this book, as a way to provide more depth into specific subjects for students to gain a greater sense of the... read more

Reviewed by Nathan Riemer, Adjunct Instructor, Northeastern Illinois University on 5/8/20

This text covers all of the standard topics you would expect to find in an introductory sociology textbook, and likely more! This is a very ambitious text with 22 chapters. With coverage of so many topics this text makes it possible for any... read more

Reviewed by Aysha Bodenhamer, Assistant Professor, Radford University on 1/27/20

The organization seems a bit off in some places. For example, Chapter 20 also includes a lot that could be classified as culture and theory, but are irrelevant to the discussion of environmental sociology. read more

Reviewed by Mary "Betsie" Cole, Senior Lecturer, East Tennessee State University on 11/8/18

The text is comprehensive in coverage of most topics, but lacks a comprehensive glossary at the end of the chapters or at the end of the text. It is a bit lengthy for an introductory text. read more

Reviewed by Anjel Stough-Hunter, Assistant Professor, OhioLink on 9/28/18

This book is much longer than other open source and even non-OER textbooks. Its length alone allows for comprehensive coverage of standard topics discussed in an introduction to sociology course with a few notable exceptions. The chapter on race... read more

Reviewed by Nara Roberta Molla da Silva, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lehman College - CUNY on 6/19/18

The book appropriately covers the most recurrent topics in sociology undergraduate courses in 22 chapters and more than 800 pages. It presents the tenets of the sociological perspective and the sociological research first and goes on to explore... read more

Reviewed by Jolene Sundlie, Sociology Instructor, Saint Paul College on 5/21/18

The book covers 22 chapters and runs 837 pages, so it's quite comprehensive in the topics it covers. This is NOT a brief or essentials version of an Introduction to Sociology textbook. Topics that are often combined (politics/economy) each receive... read more

Reviewed by Victor Perez, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware on 2/1/18

Like many introductory textbooks, this book covers all of the core topics of sociology in short, relatively straightforward ways. It is extremely similar to most other textbooks in this respect, and does not necessarily provide any novel or new... read more

Reviewed by Molly Monahan Lang, Instructor, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College on 2/1/18

This text is more comprehensive than most Introductory texts I have read in Sociology. I am hard-pressed to think of an area that is not addressed in the book. read more

Reviewed by Carse Ramos, Visiting Assistant Professor, Rhode Island College on 2/1/18

The textbook contains all topics and issue areas usually covered in an introductory text and much more! It is highly comprehensive. There are 22 chapters in total, with nearly half being outside of the "standard" curriculum, This should give... read more

Reviewed by Nicholas Kiersey, Associate Professor, Ohio University on 2/1/18

I am a political theorist, not a sociologist. So I may not be the best qualified to comment on the comprehensiveness of this text. That said, going back to my own undergraduate days, this book appears to cover a lot of key topics that you'd expect... read more

Reviewed by Jill Harrison, Associate Professor, Rhode Island COllege on 2/1/18

This text has an expansive approach to sociology. It covers gender issues, terrorism, race and class inequalities, political organizations, addresses medical sociology, terrorism, the importance of social institutions, and the list goes on. I did... read more

Reviewed by Christopher Stapel, Community Faculty, Metropolitan State University on 2/8/17

This text provides a remarkably thorough treatment of sociological theory, research methods, and social institutions. The text incorporates classical theory prominently into the exploration of all social institutions with learning objectives... read more

Reviewed by Gayle D'Andrea, Sociology Professor, Reynolds Community College on 2/8/17

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 require in an introductory sociology text. The theories are presented in a balanced way and the... read more

Reviewed by Jonathan Ortiz , Adjunct Professor , Concordia University on 12/5/16

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 length I was disappointed that there's no index or glossary for quick reference. It makes sense that... read more

Reviewed by Kristen Budd, Assistant Professor, Miami University on 8/21/16

This book is very comprehensive. Not only does it include chapters that are found within traditional standard Introduction to Sociology textbooks (e.g., physical "in hand" books from other publishers that students must spend money on to buy),... read more

Reviewed by Lisa Linares, Lecturer, University of Wisconsin - Stout on 8/21/16

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 text, though navigation can be done via bookmarks. Lastly a glossary/index would have been good to... read more

Reviewed by Michael Dawson, Sociology Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16

The chapter topics are quite comprehensive, and chapters provide thorough, balanced overviews of each topic. The big missing chapter is one on war, a topic the author tries to cover in a section of the chapter on More generally, the pdf version... read more

Reviewed by Jamee Kristen, Sociology Faculty and Department Chair, Portland Community College on 1/7/16, updated 11/10/20

This is a very long text with full chapters dedicated to all main "intro" topics. read more

Reviewed by Dee Hill Zuganelli, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, University of Arizona on 6/10/15

Barkan’s textbook is a staggering 764 pages in length, covering 15 chapters (the last, a concluding overview of what students should have learned from the text) and a broad range of fundamental and contemporary sociological topics. Each chapter... read more

Reviewed by Steve Przymus, Instructor, University of Arizona on 6/10/15

The challenge with providing a textbook that tackles dynamic concepts such as globalization and social change, is making sure the information is current and relevant. Although what we write today is not current tomorrow, the author of Sociology:... 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

Ancillary Material

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  • About the Book

    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. 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.

    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.

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