Social Problems: Continuity and Change
Copyright Year: 2016
ISBN 13: 9781946135230
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
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The textbook covers foundational information on a multitude of social issues– particularly the characteristics, causes, and consequences of these issues – and could be used for both sociology and social work courses. Both historic and current... read more
The textbook covers foundational information on a multitude of social issues– particularly the characteristics, causes, and consequences of these issues – and could be used for both sociology and social work courses. Both historic and current examples were provided. Additionally, I appreciated that national and global perspectives were included within each chapter.
While much of the content appeared to be based in research and accurate, this was uneven across chapters. At times, statements or positions seemed a stretch from the research that had been discussed and other times, seemed like personal or professional opinion.
Some of the statistics should be updated, but the overall picture of what is being described remains relevant. The author has organized text in a manner that will require straightforward updates. As noted above, some chapters would benefit from a stronger (or more explicit) connection to social science research.
One of the major strengths of this text is the straightforward and clear way that content is presented and explained. I believe that students will appreciate the ease of read while also gaining important foundational information.
The text consistently uses the same frameworks and terminology throughout chapters.
The organization of this textbook will make it easy to utilize in blocks. That is a major strength because chapters and sections can be reorganized and complemented with other material within a course, as needed.
This textbook is organized well. Chapter 3, 6, 9, and 13 have sections that are out-of-order. This is confusing when trying to read the book straight through rather than clicking on sections.
There were no major interface issues. Minor issues included that images, charts, and tables were disjointed and made it difficult to follow. When viewing the PDF on a laptop, all images, charts, and tables were displayed well. Some of the photo images were unnecessary and did not enhance understanding or learning. Rather, the captions below them repeated what had been shared within the text.
There were no major grammatical errors. Most errors consisted of leaving a word or two out of a sentence. Though not necessarily “grammatical errors” jargon was used throughout.
While overall I believe the textbook was inclusive of diverse cultural backgrounds, there were some issues that could be enhanced. For instance, in Chapter the use of a photo of someone who was lynched seemed insensitive and abrupt ,with no trigger warning and did not add anything to the discussion. In Chapter 4 on gender inequality, gender was discussed as a social construct. Yet, non-binary or gender fluidity was not addressed, or were inequality and issues related to non-dominant gender identity. Given that the author is stating that gender is a social construct, it seems necessary to go into other identities. (This was touched on briefly in Chapter 5 on Sexual Orientation, referenced as androgynous). In Chapter 5, the references to “gays” and “straights” is vague and does not seem to be culturally appropriate terminology.
I think this textbook provides a good foundation and plenty of content to mix and complement courses related to social problem and social welfare policy analysis.
The book appears to be comprehensive, as it is 796 pages, thoroughly indexed and outlined for ease in following the progression of the content. read more
The book appears to be comprehensive, as it is 796 pages, thoroughly indexed and outlined for ease in following the progression of the content.
There is some research-basis for the text - but there seems to be significant personal opinion as well. At times, there are many areas that appear to be personal reflection and inference rather than statement of fact.
It would seem to be relevant and easy to update as needed. There is a mix of historical theory as well as present-day examples.
The book seems to read more like a graduate-school paper than a text book. This could be helpful for early graduate students in understanding and ingesting the content; however, professionally, there is some jargon and amateur language used throughout.
The book is consistent in organization, terminology, and framework.
There are clear, smaller sections that are easy to navigate and read.
The topics are organized well and presented in a clear, logical progression of content. Each chapter has take-aways and key points for reflection and class discussion.
The interface has some formatting issues - there is a lot of empty, white space, especially after pictures or charts.
There are minor grammatical errors, mostly pertaining to use of jargon or non-professional terminology.
The book does appear to incorporate cultural significance within many of the topic areas.
There are sections of this book that could be useful on their own for classroom assignments and discussion. The overall book is very long and could not reasonably be used for a single term; however, the smaller sections with the key takeaways are interesting and useful.
Yes, each chapter covered relevant concepts, related issues, and a sociological framework to 'digest' the content. Each chapter also included ways to address or improve the social problem highlighted within the chapter, which I found to be better... read more
Yes, each chapter covered relevant concepts, related issues, and a sociological framework to 'digest' the content. Each chapter also included ways to address or improve the social problem highlighted within the chapter, which I found to be better format than a separate, overarching 'Solutions' chapter. To further develop students’ understanding of the importance and the inherent relationship between historic, economic, cultural, and social factors in the develop and persistence of social problems, it should be more intentional as far as developing a framework from which to analyze causal factors that breed structured inequality and hence social problems. Furthermore, such connections become the building block for higher-level learning and learning retention. These components were missing: - Although capitalism, corporate power, particularly via multinational corporations, and the great wealth disparity was included in the Work & Economy chapter, there isn’t a chapter, or subunit, that directly addresses different political systems and ensuing social issues, inequitable access to political power, voter apathy, etc. - I didn’t find Immigration Patterns and Issues addressed in any chapter. It may fit nicely as a subunit in the Racial/Ethnic Inequality. - No glossary; however, key terms and concepts are highlighted within the text. (A glossary is important for easy reference). - The end of the chapter summary is helpful, but I suggest it is expanded into more targeted end-of -the chapter review questions in order to highlight and reinforce learning as a student-driven formative assessment. - The subunits within each chapter begin with three-four Learning Objectives, which are helpful; however, in some instances, I found them to be too general to truly introduce pertinent points and guide learning. To that end, I suggest the subunits’ learning objectives are: 1) reviewed for any missing pertinent learning objectives, 2) designed to capture higher-level using Bloom’s taxonomy learning such as 'synthesize', 'analyze', etc. 3) revised and created for more targeted, measurable chapter-level learning outcomes (versus objectives), and 4) directly or indirectly address the CCNS Learning Outcomes at: https://erpdnssb.cccs.edu/PRODCCCS/ccns_pub_controller.p_command_processor?pi_search_type=SB_COURSE&pi_subj_code=SOC&pi_crse_numb=215&pi_archive_date=&pi_course_status=A&pi_term_code=202020.
Yes, the pertinent trends and general patterns were thematically correct sociologically speaking; however, it would benefit from some updating.
Yes, and appropriate updates will be easily implemented. To that end, some of the poverty and demographic data (i.e., from the 2010 Census) and statistics should be updated; however, with new research generating data quickly this can be time intensive so the author has to be intentional when selecting data.
Yes, the text is clearly written in an manner that is easily understood. There were points that students would benefit from elaboration regarding the socio-economic and/or historic context of some sociological concepts and social issues in order to foster deeper thematic connections and learning retention.
Yes, very much so from beginning each chapter with “Social Problems in the News’, with subunits (i.e., 1.2, 1.3, etc.) each with a concise list of Learning Objectives, and ending each chapter with “End of the Chapter Material”.
Yes, it is broken into small subunits that can be moved and incorporated at other points in the course if the instructor finds a different arraignment more intuitive and student friendly.
Yes, I broadly ‘see’ it organized as Understanding Social Problems, Social Problems of Inequality, and then Institutional Social Problems .
No visible issues, and the graphs and charts are well done.
No significant issues.
The textbook addresses a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and offers a cross-cultural lens in the 'Lessons from Other Societies'.
Instructor Supplemental Material: There are power point slides available to the instructor, but I didn’t find them easily utilized because how to access them by chapter wasn’t very intuitive (i.e., I found myself clicking on lots of random files). For example, the Chapter #2 Poverty slides are missing, or I couldn’t find them. Learning Tools for Students: Expand learning tools to reinforce reading comprehension, basic understanding of the concepts, and to provide formative student-driven assessment.
Social Problems: Continuity and Change provides complete coverage of the main categories of problems in society today: poverty, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. The table of contents lays these out for easy access. Within each chapter, key terms are... read more
Social Problems: Continuity and Change provides complete coverage of the main categories of problems in society today: poverty, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. The table of contents lays these out for easy access. Within each chapter, key terms are in boldface and defined; sections of each chapter are summarized with key takeaways, and discussion questions are provided. The text lacks an index and glossary at the end, however. This makes it challenging to look up key concepts without knowing in which chapter that concept was discussed.
The book is factual and well rounded in representation. Most chapters review each social problem using the three major theoretical families (functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism). This allows discussion of the social problem from multiple vantage points. Students have commented that the text seems "balanced" in its representation.
The chapter material is up to date, although statistics often reference 2010 (sometimes even earlier); now in 2019 I have found myself looking up new data to see how trends have evolved over the last decade. Have correlates continued to hold? Particularly in discussing wealth distribution, new graphics depicting the rise of the super rich are helpful to supplement the material. The text is written in a way that allows the instructor to easily supplement and update data like this while teaching; ultimately it appears that updates to text would also be easy to implement.
In review of Social Problem's writing, the text is straightforward. Any relevant terms are in bold faced and defined. Each chapter's sections begin with a learning objectives box. And as noted prior, each section has a summary. This provides the classic "tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them" format that helps clarify what is important. Finally, the end of each chapter contains a summary of the whole chapter's main points.
The framework of the text has some nice consistent elements. For example, sections termed, "Perspectives on ____ (e.g. aging)" typically list the three theoretical viewpoints on the problem. Sometimes, however, these same areas are called "Explaining ______." It would be helpful for directing students if these were consistent. Also, it would be preferred if each chapter followed a similar order. For example, section one would be an introduction, section two the theoretical perspectives, section three correlates, etc. The terminology, however, is consistent.
The text is nicely segmented; sections are labeled clearly, and within each section the main concepts are identified with headings. The order of the chapters can be easily reordered; each is self-contained, and when other chapters are referenced they are hyperlinked. Following those links is not necessary, though, because key terms are redefined and concepts restated as needed.
I like the order in which the chapters are presented in Social Problems, although I do contemplate covering race and ethnicity before poverty simply because the correlates of poverty to race and ethnicity are so powerful. Within each chapter, I would prefer greater consistency in the structure of sections (e.g. section two always containing the theoretical perspectives).
The interface works very well in Chrome; not so much in Explorer. In Explorer the page navigation is just text at the bottom of the screen (rather than a box with fill and text from which the course material appears behind). This makes it difficult to read. In both browsers, though, the table of content menu is very easy to use (drop down).
I have not found grammatical errors in the text.
The text (to my "white" eyes) is not culturally insensitive, however, one of my critical-thinking Hispanic students felt that it had a tone of "looking down" upon folks for color. This could be a product of the scientific tone of sociology, but his comment is worth noting. In perusing the photo depictions within the text, it appears many are of white folks. I look for photos that match my students; I do not see much representation of Asian, Muslim, or Hispanic people. The text does make the correlates of inequality to social problems clear, however. And it notes past biological views were racist.
For a free textbook, this is a wonderful resource. It provides a solid foundation from which to grow course curriculum. Supplementing with TED talks, additional data, and ideas on what individuals can do to improve social issues makes for a well rounded introduction to social problems.
The textbook is organized in the typical fashion as other social problems textbooks (with a notable exception being Joel Best's Social Problems). The expected social problems are covered, but chapters on the media, technology, and/or science would... read more
The textbook is organized in the typical fashion as other social problems textbooks (with a notable exception being Joel Best's Social Problems). The expected social problems are covered, but chapters on the media, technology, and/or science would have been welcomed. The topic of guns and gun control is absent. A substantive discussion on globalization is also missing. While there is a Table of Contents (with some unfortunate numbering errors), there is no index or glossary. While not the most purely sociological approach, the increasing prominence of rational choice theory may warrant its inclusion (and critique) in the textbook. The introductory chapter serves as a clear road map to future chapters.
The content is mainly accurate (although some of the statistics are outdated), and the text is generally error-free and unbiased. While most of the URLs (detected by the .pdf reader used) worked, some links were broken. More up-to-date and sociologically relevant links could be made to student-friendly sites like The Society Pages, Contexts, and even asanet.org.
While some of the statistics are out-of-date, with sufficient time, it would not be too difficult in updating much of this data. Since each chapter is divided into 5-7 sections, it would not be too onerous to update some of the discussions, particularly the ones on policy. A more in-depth discussion on the social construction of social problems and an expanded discussion on how social policies come to be would make the textbook more relevant. A discussion on political ideologies and their relationship to the understanding of social problems and policy would also be helpful.
Since the text stays away from a lot of the technical language of sociology, students should find the text approachable. I did not run across a passage in which I thought students would not be able to understand the arguments or explanations being made.
The typical three theoretical perspectives are introduced in Chapter 1 and are consistently present in later chapters. Useful end of chapter study aids are present in all chapters. There seems to be an attempt to reduce jargon which does improve the readability of the textbook. At the same time, I think making it slightly more technical would be acceptable. Students should be reminded that sociology is a science which is distinct from other ways of knowing and distinct from other social sciences. It has its own set of vocabulary that students should be exposed to.
A clear strength of the textbook is in its modularity. Each chapter is divided into several sections that can be easily be assigned at varying points throughout the term. A select number of modules could easily serve as supplemental or background information if other texts are being used. Excessive use of subheadings is avoided.
Each chapter had a similar structure with the same end of chapter materials. Students should be able to predict the flow and structure of each of the chapters. While not explicitly indicated, chapters are grouped more or less by theme: inequalities, deviance and behavior, institutions, and social change.
The textbook was reviewed on a laptop and on an iPad in .pdf format. I found the formatting acceptable, and there was no display, formatting, or text issues that served as barriers to enjoying the textbook. Images, graphics, figures, and charts were not awkwardly embedded in the text.
There were no glaring grammatical errors or problems with usage, sentence structure, or punctuation that got in the way of the readability of the textbook.
Since this is a text on social problems from a sociological perspective, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and other ascriptions are covered from a scientific approach. Nothing struck the reviewer as culturally insensitive, and the textbook very much read as many introductory and social problems textbooks do.
This text-book offers a comprehensive look at social problems. I believe all of the important topics are addressed. read more
This text-book offers a comprehensive look at social problems. I believe all of the important topics are addressed.
The book is accurate. However, some of the statistics are getting dated.
This textbook is relevant for a social problems/social issues course. Key topics are addressed, though some statistics are getting dated.
The book clearly lays out information. Key terms are bolded and chapter summaries are offered to help ensure information does not get missed.
Organization and writing is consistent throughout the book.
The book is broken down into chapters and each chapter has manageable sub-sections. I found this easy to follow. I think it will help students by making the readings more manageable.
The book is logically organized. Important course topics are covered in a clear and logical structure. The chapters are framed with sociological theory.
Each chapter has learning objectives and bolded course terminology. This book is also available in a variety of formats (e.g. PDF, online, etc.)
Appropriate for students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
This is a great book!
The information presented in this textbook is comparable to a traditional, publisher distributed textbook. The presentation structure of the text is written in a comprehensive manner. Beginning with an introduction to the concept of social... read more
The information presented in this textbook is comparable to a traditional, publisher distributed textbook. The presentation structure of the text is written in a comprehensive manner. Beginning with an introduction to the concept of social problems, the book presents various social problems experienced by society throughout the chapters. The chapters dissect the content through the lens of the major sociological theories.
Throughout my analysis of the chapters, I found the content to be accurately presented with well-developed explanations through the lens of the theories.
Relevancy is not an issue for this text. The examples are up-to-date and current; nonetheless, updating the textbook should be simple. The textbook presents classic examples and ideas that are just as relevant as the examples of recent, current events. The combination of historical examples and current events can assist the student as they understand the social problems in society. This text will easily be relevant for several years.
The writing is clear and easy to understand. I do not feel the author used academic jargon to the point that students will struggle to comprehend the material. As with all disciplines, some academic jargon is necessary and the author provides the necessary amount of technical terminology to expose the students to the discipline without excessive use.
Terminology use is consistent throughout the text, making the book comprehensive for students. The structure of the book is highly consistent, making textbook navigation straightforward and simple to use. I found the logic and the additional learning material, such as figures and graphs, to be consistent throughout the text.
I really like the design of this text. The reader can easily spot the title page, content and learning objectives for each chapter. Within the chapters, the author successfully uses proper headings and subheadings to guide the reader through the material. Since the modules are so well-organized, this textbook could potentially be a great resource for other OER courses.
The text is well organized. The topics are clearly stated so you know what chapter to look at when looking for specific information. ; topics are not hidden behind fancy chapter titles. Each chapter is broken down and structured appropriately. Content is written in a logical and chronological manner.
I did not find any issues with the textbooks overall interface. The text is easy to navigate, and the images are clear and consistent. When I am reading a textbook, I like additional figures and little important snippets of information that I should remember or learn. Images can enhance the learning experience and this book does exactly that.
As far as I can tell, the book appears free of grammatical errors.
Cultural sensitivity is extremely important for a Sociology textbook. Considering how controversial many of these chapters are, the author did an exceptional job presenting the information in a non-biased manner, making the textbook inclusive for students of all backgrounds, races, genders, and ethnicities.
The textbook follows the standard practice of providing an initial understanding of Social Problems in general, and the theoretical perspectives employed to explain them, and goes on to examine in some detail a variety of social processes within... read more
The textbook follows the standard practice of providing an initial understanding of Social Problems in general, and the theoretical perspectives employed to explain them, and goes on to examine in some detail a variety of social processes within which problems are identified and discussed. The text follows a method of providing a general understanding, historical background, identifies the concepts relevant to each area, and provides a range of data, particularly through visual presentation (graphs, charts, maps etc.). Additionally, the chapters in the textbook provides a comparative international perspective. In all these ways, the textbook is quite comprehensive.
The content in this textbook is accurate. It provides mostly recent data, backed by historical information. The information presented is drawn from credible sources, and the analysis presented is based on social scientifically produced knowledge. In fact, aside from being unbiased, the textbook employs sociological perspectives to identify biases prevalent in society and demonstrates how sociologically produced knowledge can dispel them.
The content is up-to-date. The data presented is mostly uptodate, and because social data doesn’t vary vastly in short to medium time scale, new data can easily replace the old data. Therefore, in my opinion, the book will remain relevant for at least 10 years. Most importantly, the historical context, theoretical perspectives, typologies, and international comparative approach employed in the text contribute to its relevance and longevity.
The text is very well written. The clarity of writing makes it accessible to lower division undergraduate students for whom the book is written. It steers clear of jargons, and when terms are used as concepts, they are clearly elaborated for students to understand their utility.
As a sociology textbook, it is remarkably consistent internally in terms of terminology employed and the framework used. Theoretical frameworks are identified and elaborated at the start, and throughout the textbook, these frameworks are employed to present varied explanations of why the social problems exist, and what can be done about them.
The textbook is divided into chapters that deal with topical areas in Social Problem studies. Each chapter, then, is divided into sections and subsections that provide certain types of information/analysis. These sections and subsections are clearly identified and, while they connect with each other in contributing to the whole of the chapter, they are also useful as stand alone pieces that provide information. Learning objectives are identified at the start of each section, and that makes it easier for students to grasp the purpose of the section.
This is a very well structured textbook. At the start, the textbook provides a clear introduction to what social problems and the various approaches to addressing them. From thereon, the text goes on to follow a consistent structure in all the chapters that deal with various topical areas in Social Problems studies. Consistency in structure of chapters make it very student friendly.
Aside from some pages having a bit too much of blank space, the pagination and interface follow the standard format. Visual information, through images, graphs, charts, maps etc., are presented clearly and consistently. I did not experience any navigation problems or notice any distortion of the visual presentation of information.
I did not see any grammatical errors. Largely well written book.
The textbook is written in a culturally sensitive manner. In fact, it addresses many of the cultural insensitivities prevalent in society and attempts to address them.
A thoughtfully developed, well written textbook that is accessible to undergraduate students of social problems.
The book covers all the traditional content chapters of a traditional textbook. In each chapter, theories traditionally taught in an introductory level course are discussed. read more
The book covers all the traditional content chapters of a traditional textbook. In each chapter, theories traditionally taught in an introductory level course are discussed.
The textbook presents current, "state of the art" content. I read information is presented in a balanced way so that points and counterpoints are represented.
The book is up-to-date in terms of content and ideas. The data and references do seem dated so, in time, the statistical data would need to be updated. I do not think those updates would require an overhaul of the text.
The textbook is clear and accessible. Discipline specific jargon is explained clearly and examples provide useful support in understanding the theories and concepts.
The book follows the same format for each chapter. Each chapter includes a chapter containing the following: a short introduction, context for the topic, discussion about how concept is measured, discussion of theories, recommendations for problem solving and a conclusion. I appreciate the conclusions at they provide a nice summary of the whole chapter.
The text is divided into reasonable chunks so that assigning a whole chapter or sections of a chapter are easy. The sections each have a title and there are appropriate subtitles dividing the reading. It was easy to read through each section and maintain a sense of where I am in the book.
There is no real logic to presenting topics in a social problems book. That said, the order of topics in this book is very similar to the order of topics in several other social problems text books.
I read the book using the online platform and had no problems. There is a table of contents and a home button that provide an appropriate amount of navigation. I also downloaded the book into a pdf file and was able to use the bookmark feature to navigate in the book. The bookmark feature was helpful for navigating to a certain place in the book but did not indicate when you have scrolled to different area.
I saw no grammatical issues.
I do not think the text is insensitive. However it couldn't hurt to have more images of people of color, namely Asians, Native Peoples, and Latinos.
There is a strong discussion of the sociological imagination in chapter one (which I love). That is a good feature. The book does a good job of discussing the three classical theories throughout, but I especially like that there is background content, historical context and contemporary application when the classical theories are introduced in chapter 1. The presentation of global comparisons is especially helpful. I do wish there were a stronger or fuller discussion of the constructed nature of social problems, but the discussion that exists in this book parallels other books I have used. Overall this is a solid book that is a good foundational text for teaching Social Problems.
This textbook is a thorough description of what social problems are, with detailed illustration of specific social problems. It provides a comprehensive summary for holistic education and the content is substantial enough for individuals chapters... read more
This textbook is a thorough description of what social problems are, with detailed illustration of specific social problems. It provides a comprehensive summary for holistic education and the content is substantial enough for individuals chapters to be used as supplementary material in the fields of political science, history, social work, and sociology.
I find no discrepancy with respect to objective information.
The book is certainly relevant to the needs of higher education today. It is a good blend of history and social policy with both a micro and a macro viewpoint. The content will remain relevant for the near future.
Clarity is important in higher education because so much content is cluttered with jargon and field-specific verbose. This book does a very nice job of speaking to readers from diverse background and interests.
Each chapter follows a predictable outline that brings the content together.
My favorite feature of this book is the separation of ideas by chapter. This makes the book useful in a variety of courses, as a supplement to other material.
I found no problems with interface.
I found no problems with grammar.
The content is timely and needed for students' general education requirements.
I am more likely to use this book as individual chapters for course-relevant supplementary material than to create a course around it.
The book addresses a wide array of social issues, defines and discusses subjective and objective definitions of social problems and covers major sociological perspectives and theorists. Basically, it has what you'd generally expect to be covered... read more
The book addresses a wide array of social issues, defines and discusses subjective and objective definitions of social problems and covers major sociological perspectives and theorists. Basically, it has what you'd generally expect to be covered in an introductory social problems book. It does not have a glossary, likely because it has a search option at the top of the screen that seems to work well.
Based on what I reviewed, I did not see any errors.
The book does a good job of discussing the persistence of many social issues over time giving past and present examples. I personally would supplement the book with specific examples that are current (they also ask for you to submit how you supplement the book) as the majority of "newer" sources seem to be from 2010-2011. There was one link in chapter 2 for a poverty figure that no longer works, but it still takes you to the correct website.
The text does a good job of defining terms, explaining concepts and providing easy to understand examples. I don't think a student would find it difficult to understand even with no prior sociological knowledge. They break down some of the main theoretical perspectives and how they apply to sociology in a very digestible way.
I did not find any issues with the consistency of the book.
The book does an excellent job with regard to modularity. Each chapter has a box with learning objectives. The modules in each chapter are concise with good examples. There are boxes at the end that list key takeaways, provide review activities and references for the individual section/chapter. There is a good " at a glance" chart on theoretical perspectives in the beginning that explains the major assumptions of each and how each perspective views social problems. I also love the drop-down index that makes it incredibly easy to jump to chapters and sections of chapters as well as the term search box.
The information is presented in a clear logical manner. The first chapter does a good job of laying the foundational groundwork needed to discuss the social problems in the following chapters. Each chapter does a good job of explaining how issues have been framed in the past as well as present and how different frameworks have been used over time.
I did not find any issues with the interface.
I did come across any grammatical errors.
While the book is likely going by past racial categories on the census I would add in Middle Eastern and Multiracial experiences in the chapter on race & ethnicity, especially as the census explores the MENA category as well as how people perceived to be of Middle Eastern descent have faced increased discrimination and stereotyping post 9/11. The section on types of racism I would supplement with current material as we've seen a rise in old-fashioned racism (hate crimes) over the past year. While I like the idea of the "What You Can Do" sections at the end of the modules/chapters I think this can also be problematic if possible pitfalls of social change are not also discussed (paternalism/savior mentality, assimilation, ignoring cultural differences...). Often well-intended people get involved with issues that they are out-group members of and sometimes the impact is more harmful than helpful. This box of suggestions can unintentionally promote a helper vs. helped framework rather than teaching students how to be in community with others to solve social issues.
Each chapter is well described. Chosen social problems are relevant and can be applied to a variety of fields. read more
Each chapter is well described. Chosen social problems are relevant and can be applied to a variety of fields.
Well balanced coverage of views. Each chapter includes several references.
Social problems addressed in this book include a brief history, present situation, and suggestions for future resolution. As written, appears one can easily update and maintain relevance over time.
Easily understood and holds interest. Great for introductory level students.
Each chapter is consistent in layout and writing style.
These chapters are extremely modular/portable. Topics may stand alone without compromise. True building blocks that may be configured to build a specific form.
Consistently well-organized throughout. Encourages critical thinking through assignment opportunities and self-reflective review.
Very clear, easy to navigate. Appreciate the low number of charts/graphs, that when overused, unnecessarily bog down a basic overview.
No problems were identified. Well written.
Some concern that over simplification (albeit in an effort to provide basic overview) may perpetuate generalizations that limit application where more intense scrutiny is appropriate. Chapter 3: Racial and Ethnic Inequality does a nice job in regard to cultural relevance. Other chapters were less intentional in regard to culture connections embedded in the topic, and its handling of the same.
Especially enjoy the interactive component! Each chapter provides an opportunity for deeper reflection and engaging activities.
This book does a nice job at giving a broad overview of some of the core societal problems that have plagued our country, and continue to do so. The material is presented at a pretty basic level - I think it would be great for introductory,... read more
This book does a nice job at giving a broad overview of some of the core societal problems that have plagued our country, and continue to do so. The material is presented at a pretty basic level - I think it would be great for introductory, undergraduate courses in a variety of fields ranging from sociology to medicine, social work to law, and so on. Frankly, it would be good for much of the general public to just read given our current social/political climate. While there is no glossary in this book, the language is pretty digestible. The table of contents is well organized and user friendly.
The content in the book was accurate and did not appear to have any errors. It is relatively unbiased; however, without knowing anything about the author, I would venture to say that he is an upper-middle class white male.
This book is HIGHLY relevant today despite being in need of an update. Areas most in need of updating are Chapter 5: Sexual Orientation and Inequality, Chapter 7: Alcohol and Other Drugs, and Chapter 13: Health and Health Care. These three areas have had rapid changes particularly in the last 5-10 years. For example, LGBT now would more commonly be LGBTQ or even LGBTQIA. In regards to substance abuse, an update regarding decriminalization and the state vs federal debates on legalization of marijuana should be included. The advances of Medical Marijuana should also be addressed in a future edition. In terms of healthcare, an update regarding Affordable Care Act would be welcomed. The author mentioned adopting "Integrated Care" as a strategy to improve healthcare and there as been a tremendous shift in this direction since this book was written. Integrated Care, Accountable Care entities etc. have rapidly developed in the last 5-10 years and I feel the author could provide a nice synopsis of these changes. The book is written in such a way that these could easily be implemented.
This book could be read by many different audiences of varying educational levels. It offers surprisingly comprehensive context in a succinct and accessible manner, and is free from a lot of technical terms/jargon.
The book uses consistent terminology and framework throughout. The "Theory Snapshot" provides a nice uniformity throughout the chapters.
The book is written in such a way that you could easily select a single chapter, or a section of a chapter, individually as a reading assignment. It could be used for a variety of different courses, selecting just the chapters that are relevant.
The book is well organized and consistent throughout. Each chapter offers the Theoretical Perspective as well as a nice summary in the End of Chapter material.
I am a person that likes BOOKS. I like turning the pages, highlighting sections, and writing notes in the margin. That being said, I do not always have the time to go to a bookstore, nor the space on the shelves to house more books, nor the patience to flip through all of the pages to find the note scrawled down a page. I am pleased to say that this text has made be a 'believer' of the Open Textbook. The interface of this book was flawless. I did not notice any errors, navigation issues, or other problems. It was available in several formats and all worked without issue.
I did not come across any issues here.
I did not come across any insensitive or offensive references in this book.
This book provides a brief, but good, overview of some of the biggest "hot topic" issues of our time. Making books like this available on Open Textbooks allows access to valuable educational resources that people might not be able to access otherwise.
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. 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.
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... 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.
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... 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 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... 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.
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... 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 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. 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.
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. ... 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.
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... 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.
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... 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 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... 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.
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... 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 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... 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.
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... 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.
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... 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 in modern American society, is a daunting task. While I think the aim of this book is not for... 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 an emphasis on race/ethnicity, age, rural/urban, and global concerns such as war and terrorism. I... 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.