Society: The Basics, Seventh Edition

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9780131111646: Society: The Basics, Seventh Edition

For one-quarter/semester Introductory Sociology courses. Society: The Basics, Seventh Edition, offers students a best-selling text with a global perspective through which to view society and a text that provides the most current research in the field of sociology.

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In the same way that an earthquake makes us keenly aware of the earth beneath our feet, so changes in the world make us more aware of the society that surrounds us. The last year or two has been a challenge to us all. It has been just over a year since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a day that changed everyone's lives. Since then, an increasing number of terrorist acts and other types of violence at home and abroad, a sinking economy, and the threat of war now prompt us to realize we cannot take the world for granted.

More to the point, these events force us to confront the question of what kind of world we live in and what kind of world we want for ourselves and for our children. It is here that readers of this book will discover the importance of the discipline of sociology.

The daily e-mail I receive from students in the United States and around the world stands as testimony to the power of sociology to transform the way they see the world. All instructors know well the deep satisfaction that comes from making a difference in the lives of our students. There is no greater reward for our work, and, in my case, no better reason for striving for ever-better revisions of Society: The Basics, which, along with the longer, hardback version, Sociology, stands out as the discipline's most popular text.

The new seventh edition of Society: The Basics is authoritative, comprehensive, stimulating, and—as students' 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 just one part of a complete learning package. Found in the back of every new copy of Society: The Basics, Seventh Edition, is a CD-ROM, included at no additional cost to the student. This CD-ROM is the best of its kind, a fully interactive window into others' lives—both in the United States and around the world. The CD includes relevant ABC News video clips and a library of sixteen short "author's tip" videos—one for each chapter—that bring to life key themes. All of the maps from the text become interactive on the CD-ROM, and students can review key terms using our new flashcard feature. Simply put, no other CD-ROM offers as much support to make students eager to learn.

In addition, students using Society: The Basics, Seventh Edition, can log on to a full-featured Web site at http://www.prenhall.com/macionis, also at no cost to them. From the main page, simply click on the cover of Society: The Basics, Seventh Edition, to find chapter overviews and learning objectives, suggested essay questions and paper topics, multiple-choice and true-false questions that the server will grade, and chapter-relevant Web destinations with learning questions.

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!

Organization of this Text

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") explains the social foundation 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 political economy of U.S. society in world context. 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. It also contains coverage of the military, issues of war and peace, and much-expanded discussion of terrorism.

Chapter 13 ("Family and Religion") spotlights two institutions central to the symbolic organization of social life. The chapter begins by focusing on the variety of families in the United States, making frequent comparisons to kinship systems in other parts of the world. Basic elements of religious life follow, 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 in any society 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 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, and analysis of various benefits and liabilities of modern social patterns as well as the emergence of a "postmodern" way of life.

Continuity: Established Features of Society: The Basics

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 strength of Society: The Basics (and of 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: The Basics is an enjoyable text that encourages students to read—even beyond their assignments. No one says it better than the students themselves, whose recent e-mail includes testimonials such as these:

I'm a college student in California and my sociology class used your book .... It was by far the best textbook I have ever used. I actually liked to read it for pleasure as well as to study. I just wanted to say it was great.

Thanks for writing such a brilliant book. It has sparked my sociological imagination. This was the first textbook that I have ever read completely and enjoyed. From the moment that I picked the book up I started reading nonstop. I have read four chapters ahead; it's like a good novel I can't put down! I just wanted to say thank you.

Your book is extremely well written and very interesting. I find myself reading it for pleasure, something I have never done with college texts. It is going to be the only collegiate textbook that I ever keep simply to read on my own. I am also thinking of picking up sociology as my minor due to the fact that I have enjoyed the class as well as the text so much. Your writing has my highest praise and utmost appreciation.

I am taking a Sociology 101 class using your t...

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