Society: The Basics (6th Edition)

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9780130410481: Society: The Basics (6th Edition)

For one-quarter/semester Introductory Sociology courses. Society: The Basics, Sixth Edition, offers a complete multimedia learning program in sociology including a carefully coordinated package that includes the textbook, a free interactive CD-ROM in every copy, and an innovative Companion WebsiteaA A . As in the past, this number one seller features a balanced theoretical foundation: structural-functional, symbolic-interaction, and social-conflict analysis is supplemented by cultural ecology, social exchange theory, and sociobiology. In addition, the three main themes that make up the core of the book remain: Social Diversity within the United States; a Global Perspective; and an emphasis on Critical Thinking.

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About the Author:

John J. Macionis (pronounced ma-SHOW nis) was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and his doctorate in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. His publications are wide-ranging, focusing on community life in the United States, interpersonal intimacy in families, effective teaching, humor, new information technology, and the importance of global education. He and Nijole V. Benokraitis have edited the companion volume to this text, Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology. Macionis has also authored Sociology, the leading hardback text in the field, and he collaborates on international editions of the texts: Sociology: Canadian Edition (with Linda M. Gerber, from Prentice Hall Canada), Society: The Basics, Canadian Edition (with Cecelia Benoit and Mikael Jansson, also from Prentice Hall Canada), and Sociology: A Global Introduction (with Ken Plummer, published by Prentice Hall Europe). Sociology is also available in various international and foreign language editions. In addition, Macionis and Vincent Parrillo have written the urban studies text, Cities and Urban Life (Prentice Hall). Macionis's newest text is Social Problems (Prentice Hall). The latest on all the Macionis textbooks, as well as news, information, and dozens of Internet links of interest to students and faculty in sociology, can be found at the author's personal Web site, or Additional information, as well as online study guides for the texts, is available at the Prentice Hall site,

John Macionis is Professor of Sociology and Prentice Hall Distinguished Scholar at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. During a career of almost twenty-five years at Kenyon, he has chaired the Sociology Department, directed the college's multidisciplinary program in humane studies, and presided over the campus senate and also the college's faculty.

In 1998, the North Central Sociological Association named Macionis recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching, citing his work with textbooks and his pioneering use of new technology in sociology. Professor Macionis has been active in academic programs in other countries, having traveled to some fifty nations. In the fall of 1994, he directed the global education course for the University of Pittsburgh's Semester at Sea program, teaching 400 students on a floating campus that visited twelve countries as it circled the globe.

Macionis writes, "I am an ambitious traveler, eager to learn and, through the texts, to share much of what I discover with students, many of whom know so little about the rest of the world. For me, traveling and writing are all dimensions of teaching. First and foremost, I am a teacher—a passion for teaching animates everything I do." At Kenyon, Macionis offers a wide range of upper-level courses, but his favorite course is Introduction to Sociology, which he schedules every semester. He enjoys extensive contact with students and each term invites his students to enjoy a home-cooked meal.

The Macionis family—John, Amy, and children McLean and Whitney—live on a farm in rural Ohio. Their home serves as a popular bed and breakfast where they enjoy visiting with old friends and making new ones. In his free time, John enjoys bicycling through the Ohio countryside, swimming, sailing, and playing oldies rock and roll on his guitar. He is currently learning to play the Scottish bagpipes.

Professor Macionis welcomes (and responds to) comments and suggestions about this book from faculty and students. Write to the Sociology Department, Palme House, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 43022, or direct e-mail to MACIONIS@KENYON.EDU.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It was just five or six years ago that people were beginning to talk about the Internet and the Information Revolution. Today, computers and other new technology already play a part in how people entertain themselves, stay in touch with others, shop for everything from gadgets to groceries, teach classes, and study for exams. One can only imagine the extent of the transformation that will unfold over the course of this new century.

Yet there remains a contradiction in calling this the "information age." No one, doubts that students have more information available to them than ever before. But who can deny that students (especially young people just out of high school) still know little about their own society and even less about the larger world? It is here that old-fashioned sociology has a crucial part to play. By developing students' sociological imagination, we help them see the shape of the society that guides their lives, as well as appreciate ever-present forces of change. This same imagination also lets them place this society in a global context, highlighting the worldwide structures and systems that affect us all.

The daily e-mail I receive from students across the United States and around the world is testimony to the power of sociology to transform people's way of seeing the world. All instructors know the deep satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of our students. Indeed, there is no greater reward for our work, and, in my case, there is no better reason for reaching ever further with each new edition of the text. In this spirit, I am delighted to offer this revision of Society: The Basics, the discipline's most popular text, and a book that never stands still.

The heart of this high-technology learning package is, of course, the book. As in the past, this sixth edition of Society is authoritative, comprehensive, stimulating, and—as student e-mail messages testify—plain fun to read. This major revision elevates sociology's most popular text to a still higher standard of excellence, and offers an unparalleled resource to today's students as they learn about both our diverse society and the changing world.

But the book is only one part of a complete learning package. Found in the back of every new copy of Society: The Basics, Sixth Edition, is a CD-ROM, included at no additional cost to the student. This CD-ROM is the best of its kind—not only does it contain a full study guide and approximately 80 percent of the textbook, but it also includes fully interactive study features such as author's tip videos, video applications, multimedia chapter introductions, interactive maps, a full glossary, and hundreds of links to Web sites around the world. Simply put, no other CD-ROM offers students a better opportunity for review, assessment, and feedback.

In addition, students using Society: The Basics, Sixth Edition, can log on to a full-featured Web site,, also at no cost to them, using the access code packaged with this new textbook. From the main page, simply click on the cover of this text to reach a learning site that includes chapter overviews and learning objectives, suggested essay questions and paper topics as well as multiple-choice and true-false questions that the server will grade, chapter-relevant Web destinations with learning questions, and a chat room where students can share experiences and opinions with others taking the course. Faculty will find a full complement of resources as well, including the syllabus manager system that allows posting a course syllabus to the Internet without having to learn hypertext markup language (HTML); the Prentice Hall server does the work for you. Prentice Hall and EBSCO, the world leader in online journal subscription management, have come together to develop an innovative new feature of our Companion Website™—ContentSelect. With database access to more than 100 academic journals and leading popular sources, ContentSelect provides a twenty-four-hour-a-day window into the most reputable content in the discipline of sociology.

Textbook, CD-ROM, and Web site: A three-part, multimedia package that is the foundation for sound learning in this new information age. We invite you to examine all three!


Society: The Basics carries students through sociology's basic ideas, research, and insights in sixteen logically organized chapters. Chapter 1 ("Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method") explains how the discipline's distinctive point of view illuminates the world in a new and exciting way. In addition, the first chapter introduces major theoretical approaches and explains the key methods sociologists use to test and refine their knowledge.

The next six chapters examine core sociological concepts. Chapter 2 ("Culture") explores the fascinating diversity of human living that marks our world. Chapter 3 ("Socialization: From Infancy to Old Age") investigates how people everywhere develop their humanity as they learn to participate in society. While highlighting the importance of the early years to the socialization process, this chapter describes significant transformations that occur over the entire life course, including old age. Chapter 4 ("Social Interaction in Everyday Life") takes a micro-level look at how people construct the daily realities that we often take for granted. Chapter 5 ("Groups and Organizations") focuses on social groups, within which we have many of our most meaningful experiences. It also highlights the expansion of formal organization and points up some of the problems of living in a bureaucratic age. Chapter 6 ("Deviance") analyzes how the routine operation of society promotes deviance as well as conformity. Chapter 7 ("Sexuality"), which is new to this edition, explains the social foundations of human sexuality. Based on recent research, this chapter surveys sexual patterns in the United States and also explores variations in sexual practices through history and around the world today.

The next four chapters provide more coverage of social inequality than is found in any other brief text. Chapter 8 ("Social Stratification") introduces basic concepts that describe social hierarchy throughout history and around the world. The chapter then highlights dimensions of social difference in the United States today. Chapter 9 ("Global Stratification") extends this text's commitment to global education by analyzing the social ranking of nations themselves. Why, in other words, do people in some societies have abundant wealth while, in others, people struggle every day just to survive? Society: The Basics also provides full-chapter coverage of two additional dimensions of social difference. Chapter 10 ("Gender Stratification") describes how gender is a central element of social stratification in the United States, as it is worldwide. Chapter 11 ("Race and Ethnicity") explores racial and ethnic diversity in the United States, explaining how societies use physical and cultural traits to construct and rank categories of people in a hierarchy.

Next are three chapters that survey social institutions. Chapter 12 ("Economics and Politics") looks at the economy of U.S. society, beginning with how the Industrial Revolution transformed the Western world. This chapter contrasts capitalist and socialist economic models, and investigates how economic systems are linked to a society's distribution of power. This chapter also contains coverage of the military and the important issues of war and peace. Chapter 13 ("Family and Religion") spotlights two institutions central to the symbolic organization of social life. The chapter begins by focusing on the diversity of families in the United States, making frequent comparisons to kinship systems in other parts of the world. Basic elements of religious life come next, with an overview of recent religious trends. Chapter 14 ("Education and Medicine") examines two institutions with special importance in the modern world. The chapter looks first at the historical expansion of schooling, noting many ways in which the scope and kind of education are linked to other social institutions. Next, we look at medicine, which also has become a central institution during the last century and a half. The chapter concludes by explaining the distinctive strategies various countries—including the United States—employ to promote public health.

The final two chapters of the text focus on dimensions of social change. Chapter 15 ("Population, Urbanization, and Environment") is a new synthesis that begins by spotlighting the growth of population in the world. Then, our attention turns to the rise of cities in the United States and to the urban explosion now taking place in poor nations of the world. Finally, the chapter explains how the state of the natural environment reflects social organization. Chapter 16 ("Social Change: Modern and Postmodern Societies") concludes the text with summaries of major theories of social change, a look at how people forge social movements to encourage or resist change, analysis of various benefits and liabilities of modern social patterns, and the emergence of a "postmodern" way of life.


Society: The Basics is no standard textbook: In sociology, it represents the standard of excellence. How else can one explain the fact that this book is selected by far more faculty than any other? The extraordinary success of Society: The Basics, as well as Sociology—the market leader among comprehensive hardback texts—results from a combination of the following distinctive features.

The best writing style. Most important, this text offers a writing style widely praised by students and faculty, alike as elegant and inviting. Society is an enjoyable text that encourages students to read-eve...

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Macionis, John J.
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