A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition / Edition 1

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About the Author:
Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University

About the Author:
Kenneth Thompson is professor emeritus of Sociology at the Open University, UK

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594512704
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Series: The Yale Cultural Sociology Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 899,791
  • Product dimensions: 7.49 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, where he is co-director of the Center for Cultural Sociology. Among his many influential books is The Civic Sphere (Oxford University Press, 2006). He is also co-editor of the Yale Cultural Sociology Series (Paradigm Publishers).

Kenneth Thompson, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Open University, has held positions at Yale, UCLA, Rutgers, and Smith. He is the author of Moral Panics (Routledge, 1998).

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Table of Contents

List of Boxes, Tables, and Figures     x
Preface     xvi
What is Sociology?
Sociological Stories and Key Concepts     2
The Individual and the Social     4
The Sociological Imagination     7
Society Today: So What's New?     11
How Do We Understand Today's Social World?     21
Conclusion     23
Exercises     26
Study Questions     26
Further Reading     27
Sociological Methods     28
Some Key Research Terms     36
Concepts and Theories     38
Methodology and Methods     43
Postmodernism, Relativism, and Research Methods     53
Research in the Future     55
Conclusion     56
Exercises     60
Study Questions     60
Further Reading     61
Meanings and Media
Cultural Structures     62
An Individual or a Social Story?     66
Thinking Sociologically about Culture     68
Postmodernity, Globalization, and the Cultural Turn     79
Are Cultures Wholes or Parts?     80
Conclusion     88
Exercises     88
Study Questions     89
Further Reading     89
Media and Communication     90
An Individual or a Social Story?     93
The Importance of the Mass Media     94
Keeping Informed: U.S. Public News Habits     98
The Mass Media: Concepts and History     101
Conclusion     117
Exercises     117
Study Questions     118
Further Reading     118
Personal Worlds and Identity
Socialization and the Life Cycle     120
An Individual or a Social Story?     122
The Paradox of Socialization     124
The "Self" in History     125
Creating the Self     131
Primary Socialization: The Family     133
Secondary Socialization     141
Life Stages and the Life Cycle     147
Emotion Work in Postmodern Life     161
Conclusion     163
Exercises     164
Study Questions     164
Further Reading     165
Sexuality     166
An Individual or a Social Story?     170
Naturalism versus Constructivism     171
Beyond Essentialism     172
Sexuality before Modernity      174
Modern Sexuality     176
Polluting Nonprocreative Sex     178
Sexualizing Nonwhite Races     179
Underground Sexual Practices     180
Sexuality in the Postmodern Transition     184
Historical Developments     189
The Women's Movement     196
Conclusion     198
Exercises     202
Study Questions     202
Further Reading     203
Marriage and the Family     204
An Individual or a Social Story?     207
Marriage and Family: The Social Forces of Change     208
Marriage and the Transition from Modern to Postmodern Society     211
The Modern Family     219
The Postmodern Family: Emerging Possibilities     226
The Conservative Backlash     233
Conclusion     234
Exercises     235
Study Questions     236
Further Reading     236
Inequalities and Identities
Inequality     238
An Individual or a Social Story?     240
Social Stratification     241
Social Mobility     249
Beliefs and Attitudes     253
Inequality: Past, Present and Future      255
Conclusion     264
Exercises     266
Study Questions     266
Further Reading     267
Gender     268
An Individual or Social Story?     270
Hardly Fair Play: Gender and Sports     274
Gender at Work     278
A Universal Problem: Exploitation and Violence     286
Everyday Culture and Mass Media     289
Conclusion     293
Exercises     295
Study Questions     296
Further Reading     297
Race and Ethnicity     298
An Individual or a Social Story?     300
The Social Construction of "Race" and "Ethnicity"     300
Minority Group Theory     311
The Great Debate: Origins of the Racial Underclass in America     314
Conclusion     326
Exercises     327
Study Questions     328
Further Reading     328
Crime and Deviance     330
An Individual or a Social Story?     332
Defining and Describing Deviance and Crime     335
Theories of Crime and Deviance     348
The Future of Crime and Deviance in Postmodern Society      358
Conclusion     360
Exercises     362
Study Questions     362
Further Reading     363
Work and the Economy     364
An Individual or a Social Story?     366
Structural and Cultural Dimensions of Work and the Economy     369
Structure of the Economy: Economic Systems     372
Organization of Work     374
Conflict and Control     377
The Cultural Dimension: Values and Attitudes at Work     381
The Future of Work, Organization, and the Economy     383
From Modernity to Postmodernity     390
Conclusion     392
Exercises     392
Study Questions     392
Further Reading     393
Education     394
An Individual or a Social Story?     398
Education and Modernity     399
Different Perspectives on Education     408
Education in a Multicultural, Postmodern Society     411
Conclusion     422
Exercises     423
Study Questions     424
Further Reading     424
Health and Medicine     426
An Individual or a Social Story?      428
Medicine, Structure, and Organization     430
Social and Cultural Constructions of Health and Medicine     432
Social Structure and Health Care Inequalities     442
Race, Ethnicity, and Gender     445
Health and Medicine in the Twenty-First Century     450
Conclusion     453
Exercises     453
Study Questions     454
Further Reading     454
Religion     456
An Individual or a Social Story?     458
What Is Religion?     460
Religion, Modernity, and the Secularization Thesis     463
The American Christian Mosaic     470
Religion and Cultural Change     472
Personal Stories and Ethnographies     475
New Age     476
Public Religion     477
Conclusion     481
Exercises     482
Study Questions     482
Further Reading     483
Politics, Globalization, and Social Change
Urbanism and Population     484
An Individual or a Social Story?     488
The Growth of Cities     491
Urban Sociology in the Twentieth Century     494
The City of the Future: Postmodern Urbanism      497
Conclusion     505
Exercises     508
Study Questions     508
Further Reading     509
Politics, Publics, and the State     510
An Individual or a Social Story?     513
States and Impersonal Power     515
Politics and Personal Power     524
Citizenship, Publics, and the Civil Sphere     537
Conclusion     551
Exercises     552
Study Questions     553
Further Reading     553
Social Change, Collective Action, and Social Movements     554
An Individual or a Social Story?     556
Industrial Society     565
Postindustrial Society     567
Information Society, Globalization, and Social Movements     572
Globalization     580
Conclusion     581
Exercises     582
Study Questions     582
Further Reading     583
Bibliography     584
Index     611
Credits     633
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