Introduction to Sociology - 2nd Canadian Edition
William Little, University of Victoria
Ron McGivern, Thompson Rivers University
Copyright Year: 2016
ISBN 13: 9781774200216
Conditions of Use
This textbook appears overall to be adequate for faculty who supplement it with readings and with lecture notes. My teaching philosophy follows that so I can see adopting it for future Introductory courses. However, there are a number of... read more
This textbook appears overall to be adequate for faculty who supplement it with readings and with lecture notes. My teaching philosophy follows that so I can see adopting it for future Introductory courses. However, there are a number of weaknesses. For example, the text pretty much ignores rational choice (in its various forms like exchange theory) until the chapter on religion, and then to introduce Stark & Bainbridge’s treatment in a box but leaves out their essential concept of supernatural compensators. The text is very weak on sociological social psychological concepts like the development and use of the self and definition of the situation, despite a focus on Goffman and on social construction. While it offers a good discussion of the scientific process, it is weak of qualitative research asserting that field research is “about correlations” and ignores that it develops meanings from the community under study.
generally good, but there are points where I will have to disagree like in the research chapter. While it offers a good discussion of the scientific process, it is weak of qualitative research asserting that field research is “about correlations” and ignores that it develops meanings from the community under study.
The content is relatively up to date, but for sociology I think offering updated examples is part of the job of the instructor, not the textbook.
this is as clear as any introductory textbook I have seen
the book is consistent
I appreciate the modularity of the textbook because i will need to move chapters around.
I found its sequencing odd, with discussion of concepts like rationalization, protestant work ethic, alienation, anomie in the chapter on social interaction instead of the chapter on organizations, a topic which gets short treatment by being lumped together in a chapter with groups. I also found that I will need to resequence chapters, like put technology and media closer to social change, and start the section on institutions with government and work like most of the introductory textbooks.
I did not find any technical issues with navigation or display of charts on either my desktop computer or my netbook.
I did find the first misspelling in Chapter 18: “Recent Economic Cconditions.”
I appreciate the broad cultural discussions in the various sections, it helps the course's designation as multicultural.
This textbook appears overall to be adequate for faculty who supplement it with readings and with lecture notes. My teaching philosophy follows that so I can see adopting it for future Introductory courses. However, there are a number of weaknesses. For example, the text pretty much ignores rational choice (in its various forms like exchange theory) until the chapter on religion, and then to introduce Stark & Bainbridge’s treatment in a box but leaves out their essential concept of supernatural compensators. The text is very weak on sociological social psychological concepts like the development and use of the self and definition of the situation, despite a focus on Goffman and on social construction. It has a discussion of the “genetic roots of our temperament and behavior” from the twin studies that seems odd for a sociology text. While it offers a good discussion of the scientific process, it is weak of qualitative research asserting that field research is “about correlations” and ignores that it develops meanings from the community under study. I found its sequencing odd as well, with discussion of concepts like rationalization, protestant work ethic, alienation, anomie in the chapter on social interaction instead of the chapter on organizations, a topic which gets short treatment by being lumped together in a chapter with groups. I also found that I will need to resequence chapters, like put technology and media closer to social change, and start the section on institutions with government and work like most of the introductory textbooks. Again, though, overall the textbook does a good job of introducing the basic concepts as needed so my classes can focus on exercises and discussions of the current topics that always seem to hit at the right time for classes.
This Introduction to Sociology is both extremely comprehensive and well designed. The initial chapters locate sociology as a necessary area of study in an increasingly complex global landscape. The topics cover all aspects of social life and... read more
This Introduction to Sociology is both extremely comprehensive and well designed. The initial chapters locate sociology as a necessary area of study in an increasingly complex global landscape. The topics cover all aspects of social life and society, drawing on real world issues to realise the theoretical approaches. As a sport sociologist I would have liked a separate section on sport but sport as an agent of socialisation is embedded throughout the book.
I did not find any issues with accuracy although some statistics were from 2010 so perhaps more recent Pew surveys would reveal changes in trends.
As a textbook, Introduction to Sociology is extremely relevant for students within all areas of the humanities. It introduces a variety of themes and topics which can be applied to different degree pathways. Students of communication and media would benefit from a number of these chapters and instructors in current courses in policing and crime would find a number of sections useful to inform particular modules. Whilst this is the Canadian edition and many of the statistics are based on Canadian data sources the book also draws on wider examples from North America and Europe which makes it useful for an international audience. The sections that underline Sociology in the Real World that draw on contemporary examples are self contained in a way that makes them easily modifiable.
The prose is accessible and when more esoteric language and terms are introduced these are explained well. The Key Terms boxes at the end of each chapter are excellent for reinforcing learning outcomes and checking knowledge. Useful contexts are included and even the selection of images shows the careful consideration. The choice of the TV show Dexter to open the chapter on Deviance not only situates the topic within a cultural framework students can relate to but by itself, invites them to consider the subjectivity of crime before the chapter has even started. This makes the rationale clear. I did find the History section rather elongated and wonder whether this might lose the students focus.
There was a consistent formula in that each chapter signposted the learning outcomes, provided a summary and allowed testing of knowledge through quizzes. Chapters used the same structure with multiple sections and examples. Key terms are highlighted in bold.
The book covers a wide range of themes and sub themes and manages to do this coherently due to the structure. The modules are in essence autonomous learning blocks and many sociology courses would benefit from an inbuilt ability to select certain chapters as standalone teaching material. The thorough nature of each section also means they incorporate a number of sub-topics allowing them to be taught as mini modules, something which would be useful for short-course teaching.
The organisation was clear and appropriate. The first three chapters were by necessity placed at the start to provide an explanation of a sociologist’s remit and where the study of the social began. As readers tend to infer importance from the order of chapters, I think the structure replicated this well as the first six chapters could provide a very robust understanding of sociology in the modern world. I would have liked though to see the chapter on Social Interaction feature far earlier as I feel this fits really well with the introductory section.
The only issue I found was using the search facility. A search for a word takes you to the beginning of the chapter only. As this book is so comprehensive and each chapter is very long this renders the search facility inadequate.
No issues at all.
The textbook is relevant to Western cultures, more so than just North America and Canada. It tackles a wide variety of cultural issues including sexuality, ethnicity and technological interactions. As a modern/post-modern text it focuses throughout on issues of social mobility through a solid deconstruction of inequality and an endemic problem. As a Canadian text it may well be skewed towards a more liberal and tolerant audience and as such, for less enlightened readers, I would have liked a more thorough analysis of the Creationist movement and the impact of the Flat Earth believers on the idea of knowledge.
I will definitely use this in teaching undergraduate modules.
Quite comprehensive. Each chapter is quite lengthy and not only addresses the standard topics covered in Intro to Soc courses, but goes above and beyond. At first I was concerned that there was no separate chapter on poverty or social class, but... read more
Quite comprehensive. Each chapter is quite lengthy and not only addresses the standard topics covered in Intro to Soc courses, but goes above and beyond. At first I was concerned that there was no separate chapter on poverty or social class, but these concepts are well integrated into the chapter on social inequality. Each chapter ends with definitions of the key terms, which have been bolded throughout the chapter, and with brief summaries of each section. Additionally, each chapter includes a review quiz for students, including answers. Multiple, high quality "short answer" questions have been provided for each chapter, though these would be more useful for homework assignments, in-class discussion generators or group work than test questions.
I see no issues with this text's accuracy.
The content is very relevant to students. Examples of key concepts are used liberally, and in engaging ways, including people's personal stories. The author encourages students to interact with the material and with sociology through his writing style, such as using the film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to illustrate political concepts. As a teacher in a community college in the United States, I'm quite sure my students would find the Canadian focus not only relevant, but interesting. Additionally, there is a substantial amount of statistics on North America in general, and the U.S. specifically.
Very clearly written and includes well-explained concepts such as neoliberalism.
Very consistent structure and framework across chapters.
For those who like to supplement assigned chapters with articles or other sources, this text is very easily broken up since it's sectioned off and well-organized. As noted in the book's preface, "This textbook is organized on Connexions (http://cnx.org) as a collection of modules that can be rearranged and modified to suit the needs of a particular professor or class. That being said, modules often contain references to content in other modules, as most topics in sociology cannot be discussed in isolation."
Quite well organized. It is quite similar in content flow to most introductory textbooks.
Very well organized and displayed. Visual choices are appropriate and interesting.
I only found a missing "the" in one section. Otherwise, impeccable.
Makes use of some quality examples that are inclusive of a variety of groups; for example, the explanation of trans folks in the gender chapter is well done and some chapters foreground a global perspective. For example, this is the first textbook I've come across that notes the first sociologist was the Berber scholar Ibn Khaldun. More diversity in examples and in images in the second half of the text would make this section stronger. For example, including sections on variations in religious and political behaviors and experiences by class, gender and race.
Very well done. A lot of research and planning went into the creation of this textbook. We are lucky it is an OER.
The text has 22 comprehensive chapters, from the opening Introduction to Sociology, through key areas such as Gender and Sex, Race and Ethnicity, Religion, Health and Medicine, etc. Each chapter begins by stating the learning objectives and key... read more
The text has 22 comprehensive chapters, from the opening Introduction to Sociology, through key areas such as Gender and Sex, Race and Ethnicity, Religion, Health and Medicine, etc. Each chapter begins by stating the learning objectives and key terms, and concludes with section summaries and quizzes, suggestions for further research, and references. Each chapter contains colorful photos, tables, and diagrams.
The text is well informed through classical sociological theory and current developments. While generally progressive in tone, it is comprehensive in presenting historical and diverse perspectives on things such as crime, social organization, gender, identity, etc.
The book provides a thorough review of past social theory, covering all of the foundational theories (e.g., functionalism, labeling) and figures (Durkheim, Mills), while presenting in a comprehensive and integrated manner current theories (e.g., cyber-bullying, interesectionism). There are some gaps. For example, something on Assemblage theory as recently articulated by Emanuel DeLanda would be a welcome addition. But this is minor omission. Current examples focused on Canada are intermixed with the "big picture" and cross-cultural references.
Extremely lucid and well written. The text flows well from introducing conceptual information to providing examples from past and current events. The key terms are highlighted and explained in enough detail to help the reader understand the content without becoming tangential.
Each chapter keeps to a common structure, creating a sense of familiarity that aids overall clarity.
The chapter sections are generally short, ranging from a few paragraphs to ten. Each section has a prominent and relevant heading/subheading. Special topic sections do not interrupt the flow but rather enhance the subject matter of the chapter and are always relevant and interesting.
The book is very well organized. The sections summaries at the end of each chapter provide a useful review as do the quizzes.
The interface is excellent. The text is highly readable, with clear and colorful images and effective hyperlinks.
The book is Canada-focused and cognizant of ethnic/racial, gender, as well as class and regional differences. It avoids generalizations beyond those necessary for sociological theory and analysis.
Highly recommended as central text for introductory sociology courses as well as courses in higher level social sciences that seek specific chapters to present introductory concepts.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1. An Introduction to Sociology
- Chapter 2. Sociological Research
- Chapter 3. Culture
- Chapter 4. Society and Modern Life
- Chapter 5. Socialization
- Chapter 6. Groups and Organizations
- Chapter 7. Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
- Chapter 8. Media and Technology
- Chapter 9. Social Inequality in Canada
- Chapter 10. Global Inequality
- Chapter 11. Race and Ethnicity
- Chapter 12. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
- Chapter 13. Aging and the Elderly
- Chapter 14. Marriage and Family
- Chapter 15. Religion
- Chapter 16. Education
- Chapter 17. Government and Politics
- Chapter 18. Work and the Economy
- Chapter 19. The Sociology of the Body: Health and Medicine
- Chapter 20. Population, Urbanization, and the Environment
- Chapter 21. Social Movements and Social Change
- Chapter 22: Social Interaction
About the Book
Introduction to Sociology adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course. In addition to comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories, we have incorporated section reviews with engaging questions, discussions that help students apply the sociological imagination, and features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways. Although this text can be modified and reorganized to suit your needs, the standard version is organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences.
For the student, this book is based on the teaching and research experience of numerous sociologists. In today's global socially networked world, the topic of Sociology is more relevant than ever before. We hope that through this book, students will learn how simple, everyday human actions and interactions can change the world. In this book, you will find applications of Sociology concepts that are relevant, current, and balanced.
For instructors, this text is intended for a one-semester introductory course and includes these features:
- Sociological Research: Highlights specific current and relevant research studies.
- Sociology in the Real World: Ties chapter content to student life and discusses sociology in terms of the everyday.
- Big Picture: Features present sociological concepts at a national or international level.
- Case Study: Describes real-life people whose experiences relate to chapter content.
- Social Policy and Debate: Discusses political issues that relate to chapter content.
- Section Summaries distill the information in each section for both students and instructors down to key, concise points addressed in the section.
- Key Terms are bold and are followed by a definition in context. Definitions of key terms are also listed in the Key Terms, which appears at the end of each chapter.
- Section Quizzes provide opportunities to apply and test the information students learn throughout each section. Both multiple-choice and short-response questions feature a variety of question types and range of difficulty.
- Further Research: This feature helps students further explore the section topic and offers related research topics that could be explored.
About the Contributors
Dr. William Little is an adjunct assistant professor in Sociology at the University of Victoria where he has taught sociology since 1996. He is also an open learning faculty member in Sociology and Anthropology at Thompson Rivers University. He has taught online open learning courses at TRU since 2011. Dr. Little’s research interests include contemporary social theory, media and popular culture, political violence and neonazism, and the biopolitics of healing practices. His work on neonazism and violence has been published in New German Critique, the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, and in several edited collections.
Ron McGivern is the senior lecturer in Sociology and Associate Dean of Arts at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. His work focuses on applied sociology, social marketing, and policy analysis. Mr. McGivern is a champion of open access, open learning, and open scholarship. Most of his courses incorporate free open textbooks or open educational resources in place of published texts. When not “committing sociology”, Mr. McGivern is working on his hobby farm trying to keep up with chickens, ducks, sheep, steers, horses, and grandchildren.