Sociology: The Essentials, 9th Edition

Sociology: The Essentials, 9th Edition PDF

Author: Margaret L. Andersen and Howard F. Taylor

Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing


Publish Date: January 1, 2016

ISBN-10: 1305503082

Pages: 459

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Sociology: The Essentials is a book that teaches students the basic concepts, theories, and insights of the sociological perspective. With each new edition come new challenges—challenges that stem from new generations of students with different learning styles; challenges that stem from the diversity among students who will study this book; and challenges that stem from the changes that are taking place in society. One of the most important changes taking place today is how students learn and how they are engaged with their course material, often in the form of online learning resources. With that in mind, Sociology: The Essentials, ninth edition, takes full advantage of this revolutionary change by having a fully electronic version of the book available, which allows for personalized, fully online digital learning—a platform of content, assignments, and learning resources that will engage students in an interactive mode, while also offering instructors the opportunity to make individualized configurations of course work. Some will want to continue using the printed version of the book, still enhanced with various pedagogical features. Those who want to enhance their curriculum through online resources will be able to utilize the new MindTap Sociology in the way that best suits their course.

However the book is used, we have updated it to reflect the latest social changes and developments in sociological scholarship. We are somewhat amazed, even as sociologists, to see how much change occurs, even in the relatively short period of time between editions. Our book adapts to new research that appears at an amazing pace, as well as addresses the significant changes that occur in society between editions.

In this edition, we have maintained the themes that have been the book’s hallmark from the start: a focus on diversity in society, attention to society as both enduring and changing, the significance of social context in explaining human behavior, the increasing impact of globalization on all aspects of society, and a focus on critical thinking and an analysis of society fostered through sociological research and theory. We know that studying sociology opens new ways of looking at the world. As we teach our students, sociology is grounded in careful observation of social facts, as well as analyses of how society operates. For students and faculty alike, studying sociology can be exciting, interesting, and downright fun, even though it also deals with sobering social issues, such as the growing inequality that marks our time, as one example.

In this book, we try to capture the excitement of the sociological perspective, while introducing students to how sociologists do research and how they theoretically approach their subject matter. We know that most students in an introductory course will not become sociology majors, although we hope, of course, that our book and their teacher encourage them to do so. We want to give students, no matter their area of study, a way of thinking about the world that is not immediately apparent. We especially want students to understand how sociology differs from the individualistic and commonsense thinking that tends to predominate. This is showcased in the box feature in every chapter entitled, “What Would a Sociologist Say?” Here, we take a common topic and, with informal writing, briefly discuss how a sociological perspective would approach understanding on that particular issue. We think this feature helps students see the unique ways that sociologists view everyday topics—things as commonplace as the funeral of a superstar, finding a job, or sports in popular culture.

We want our book to be engaging and accessible to undergraduate readers, while also preserving the integrity of sociological research and theory. Our experience in teaching introductory students shows us that students can appreciate the revelations of sociological research and theory if they are presented in an engaging way that connects to their lives. We have kept this in mind throughout this revision and have focused on material that students can understand and apply to their own social worlds.

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