Search Ebook here:

Sociology: A Down-To-Earth Approach (13th Edition)


Author: James M Henslin

Publisher: Pearson


Publish Date: January 14, 2016

ISBN-10: 9.78013E+12

Pages: 792

File Type: PDF

Language: English

read download

Book Preface

WELCOME TO SOCiOLOgY! I’ve loved sociology since I was in my teens, and I hope you enjoy it, too. Sociology is fascinating because it is about human behavior, and many of us find that it holds the key to understanding social life. If you like to watch people and try to figure out why they do what they do, you will like sociology. Sociology pries open the doors of society so you can see what goes on behind them. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach stresses how profoundly our society and the groups to which we belong influence us. Social class, for example, sets us on a particular path in life. For some, the path leads to more education, more interesting jobs, higher income, and better health, but for others it leads to dropping out of school, dead-end jobs, poverty, and even a higher risk of illness and disease. These paths are so significant that they affect our chances of making it to our first birthday, as well as of getting in trouble with the police. They even influence our satisfaction in marriage, the number of children we will have— and whether or not we will read this book in the first place.

When I took my first course in sociology, I was “hooked.” Seeing how marvelously my life had been affected by these larger social influences opened my eyes to a new world, one that has been fascinating to explore. I hope that you will have this experience, too. From how people become homeless to how they become presidents, from why people commit suicide to why women are discriminated against in every society around the world—all are part of sociology. This breadth, in fact, is what makes sociology so intriguing. We can place the sociological lens on broad features of society, such as social class, gender, and race–ethnicity, and then immediately turn our focus on the smaller, more intimate level. If we look at two people interacting—whether quarreling or kissing—we see how these broad features of society are being played out in their lives.

We aren’t born with instincts. Nor do we come into this world with preconceived notions of what life should be like. At birth, we have no concepts of race–ethnicity, gender, age, or social class. We have no idea, for example, that people “ought” to act in certain ways because they are male or female. Yet we all learn such things as we grow up in our society. Uncovering the “hows” and the “whys” of this process is also part of what makes sociology so fascinating. One of sociology’s many pleasures is that as we study life in groups (which can be taken as a definition of sociology), whether those groups are in some far-off part of the world or in some nearby corner of our own society, we gain new insights into who we are and how we got that way. As we see how their customs affect them, the effects of our own society on us become more visible. This book, then, can be part of an intellectual adventure, for it can lead you to a new way of looking at your social world and, in the process, help you to better understand both society and yourself. I wish you the very best in college—and in your career afterward. It is my sincere desire that Sociology: A Down- to-Earth Approach will contribute to that success.
James M. Henslin Department of Sociology Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville



REMEMBER WHEN YOu FiRST gOT “HOOKED” on sociology, how the windows of perception opened as you began to see life-in-society through the sociological perspective? For most of us, this was an eye-opening experience. This text is designed to open those windows onto social life, so students can see clearly the vital effects of group membership on their lives. Although few students will get into what Peter Berger calls “the passion of sociology,” we at least can provide them the opportunity. To study sociology is to embark on a fascinating process of discovery. We can compare sociology to a huge jigsaw puzzle. Only gradually do we see how the smaller pieces fit together. As we begin to see the interconnections, our perspective changes as we shift our eyes from the many small, disjointed pieces to the whole that is being formed. Of all the endeavors we could have entered, we chose sociology because of the ways in which it joins the “pieces” of society together and the challenges it poses to “ordinary” thinking. It is our privilege to share with students this process of awareness and discovery called the sociological perspective. As instructors of sociology, we have set ambitious goals for ourselves: to teach both social structure and social interaction and to introduce students to the sociological literature—both the classic theorists and contemporary research. As we accomplish this, we would also like to enliven the classroom, encourage critical thinking, and stimulate our students’ sociological imagination. Although formidable, these goals are attainable.

This book is designed to help you reach them. Based on many years of frontline (classroom) experience, its subtitle, A Down-to-Earth Approach, was not proposed lightly. My goal is to share the fascination of sociology with students and in doing so to make your teaching more rewarding. Over the years, I have found the introductory course especially enjoyable. It is singularly satisfying to see students’ faces light up as they begin to see how separate pieces of their world fit together. It is a pleasure to watch them gain insight into how their social experiences give shape to even their innermost desires. This is precisely what this text is designed to do—to stimulate your students’ sociological imagination so they can better perceive how the “pieces” of society fit together—and what this means for their own lives. Filled with examples from around the world as well as from our own society, this text helps to make today’s multicultural, global society come alive for students. From learning how the international elite carve up global markets to studying the intimacy of friendship and marriage, students can see how sociology is the key to explaining contemporary life—and their own place in it.

In short, this text is designed to make your teaching easier. There simply is no justification for students to have to wade through cumbersome approaches to sociology. I am firmly convinced that the introduction to sociology should be enjoyable and that the introductory textbook can be an essential tool in sharing the discovery of sociology with students.

The Organization of This Text The text is laid out in five parts. Part I focuses on the sociological perspective, which is introduced in the first chapter. We then look at how culture influences us (Chapter 2), examine socialization (Chapter 3), and compare macrosociology and microsociology (Chapter 4). After this, we look at how sociologists do research (Chapter 5). Placing research methods in the fifth chapter does not follow the usual sequence, but doing so allows students to first become immersed in the captivating findings of sociology—then, after their interest is awakened, they learn how sociologists gather their data. Students respond very well to this approach, but if you prefer the more traditional order, simply teach this chapter as the second chapter. No content will be affected. Part II, which focuses on groups and social control, adds to the students’ understanding of how far-reaching society’s influence is—how group membership penetrates even our thinking, attitudes, and orientations to life. We first examine the different types of groups that have such profound influences on us and then look at the fascinating area of group dynamics (Chapter 6). We then examine the impact of bureaucracy and formal organizations (Chapter 7). After this, we focus on how groups “keep us in line” and sanction those who violate their norms (Chapter 8). In Part III, we turn our focus on social inequality, examining how it pervades society and how it has an impact on our own lives. Because social stratification is so significant, I have written two chapters on this topic. The first (Chapter 9), with its global focus, presents an overview of the principles of stratification. The second (Chapter 10), with its emphasis on social class, focuses on stratification in the United States. After establishing this broader context of social stratification, we examine gender, the most global of the inequalities (Chapter 11). Then we focus on inequalities of race–ethnicity (Chapter 12) and those of age (Chapter 13). Part IV helps students to become more aware of how social institutions encompass their lives. We first look at economy, the social institution that has become dominant in U.S. society (Chapter 14) and then at politics, our second overarching social institution (Chapter 15). We then place the focus on marriage and family (Chapter 16), and education (Chapter 17). After this, we look at the significance of religion (Chapter 18) and, finally, that of medicine (Chapter 19). One of the emphases in this part of the book is how our social institutions are changing and how their changes, in turn, have an impact on our own lives. With its focus on broad social change, Part V provides an appropriate conclusion for the book. Here we examine why our world is changing so rapidly, as well as catch a glimpse of what is yet to come. We first analyze trends in population and urbanization, those sweeping forces that affect our lives so significantly but that ordinarily remain below our level of awareness (Chapter 20). Our focus on collective behavior and social movements (Chapter 21) and social change and the environment (Chapter 22) takes us to the “cutting edge” of the vital changes that engulf us all.


Brief Contents

1 The Sociological Perspective 1
2 Culture 34
3 Socialization 63
4 Social Structure and Social
Interaction 96
5 How Sociologists Do Research 127
6 Societies to Social Networks 148
7 Bureaucracy and Formal
Organizations 174
8 Deviance and Social Control 196
9 Global Stratification 228
10 Social Class in the United States 261
11 Sex and Gender 294
12 Race and Ethnicity 326
13 The Elderly 365
14 The Economy 394
15 Politics 427
16 Marriage and Family 459
17 Education 493
18 Religion 520
19 Medicine and Health 555
20 Population and Urbanization 587
21 Collective Behavior and Social
Movements 622
22 Social Change and the
Environment 648

Download EbookRead NowFile TypeUpload Date
downloadreadPDFMay 30, 2020

Do you like this book? Please share with your friends, let's read it !! :)

How to Read and Open File Type for PC ?