The Meaning of Sociology: A Reader (7th Edition)

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9780130336767: The Meaning of Sociology: A Reader (7th Edition)

This classic reader captures the excitement inherent in the field of sociology with 65 carefully chosen classic and contemporary selections from a wide variety of authors and sources. The reader is better organized around basic sociological concepts than other readers and makes a concerted effort to interrelate those concepts. The reading selections address a wide range of topics including the meaning of sociology, humans as social beings, social organization, social structure, social class, ethnic and racial inequality, gender inequality, culture, social control and social deviance, social institutions, social change and the importance of sociology. For anyone interested in reading a broad treatment of sociological issues.

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The purpose of this reader is to share the excitement of sociology. Each selection has been chosen carefully according to the following criteria: Is it interesting? Is it a good example of sociology? Does it illustrate an idea or concept that is central to the sociological perspective? Is it written at a level that can be understood by a student who does not have an extensive background in sociology?

Sociology can be applied to every aspect of our lives. It is the study of society and the individual, interaction and organization, social patterns and institutions, social issues and social problems, social order and social change. The selections in this reader attempt to capture this diversity.

Some selections are written by professional sociologists, and some are written by people who think like sociologists. Some are very recent; whereas some happen to be older. Some are theoretical; whereas, some are empirical. Diversity and balance have been my aim.

I also have tried to take selections from a wide variety of sources. The experience of writing seven editions has led me to rely more and more on selections taken from books rather than journals. Always, my concern is to include what I consider to be good representatives of how sociologists think about the human being, and to include articles that students can understand and apply to their lives.

This is the seventh edition of this reader. It is always difficult to know which selections should be kept and which should be replaced. In making decisions for this edition, I relied heavily on a poll of several users of the sixth edition. Although I did not always take their suggestions, they caused me to question my choices, and they gave me good leads. In the end, I decided to use forty-one selections from the sixth edition. Twenty-four selections are new.

I really believe that the selections here are interesting and contribute to an understanding of sociology and society. If some are especially relevant to your life, please let me know. If some are either not interesting or non-relevant I would like to know that too. Please contact me at charonj@mnstate.edu.

I would like to thank Sharon Chambliss, Nancy Roberts, and the staff at Prentice Hall for their confidence in me and for their encouragement and advice. I also thank the Prentice Hall reviewers Russell L. Curtis, Jr., University of Houston; Jonathon Epstein, University of Southern Indiana; Sharon L. Hardesty, Eastern Kentucky University; Mark Jones, Indiana University at South Bend; Ginger E. Macheski, Valdosta State University; and William F. Poley, Jr., Kent State University, for their helpful suggestions for this revision.

I would like to dedicate this book to Denise Krause—friend, colleague, and supporter.

Joel M. Charon

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