Essentials of Sociology, A Down-to-Earth Approach / Edition 9

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Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach is heralded by students and instructors alike as the most friendly and inviting introduction to sociology available. James Henslin guides students on an intellectual voyage through through the sociological imagination, helping them better understanding both themselves and their world. With humor, personal reflection and illuminating examples, he shares with readers his passion for sociology.

Six central themes run throughout the text: down-to-earth sociology, globalization, cultural diversity, critical thinking, the new technology and the influence of mass media on everyday life. Each of these themes is reflected in the central narrative, in boxed features throughout the text.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Hi Mr. Henslin,

I am currently taking Introduction to Sociology and I must tell you, your book rocks!!!! It is the most fun I've ever had reading any textbook in my life.


Kim B.

Greenville Technical College

Thank you to the following reviewers:

Lauren Ross Quinnipiac University

Ekaterina Ralston Concordia University-St. Paul

Dorothy Dillard Delaware State University

Ryan Cragun University of Tampa

Tamara Leech Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis

Susan Claxton Georgia Highlands College

Gianna Durso-Finley Mercer County Community College

Cathy Pitzer Wilmington College

Thank you to the following reviewers for reviewing MySocLab for Henslin Essentials 9/e:

Lindsey Peterson Ohio State University
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An attractive introductory text designed to interest and motivate students, filled with examples from around the world as well as our own society. Sections cover the sociological perspective, groups and social control, social inequality, social institutions, and social change. Includes boxed readings on globalization, cultural diversity, critical thinking, real-life sociology, and sociology and the new technology, plus detailed chapter summary reviews, Internet projects, a glossary, and exciting color photos of people around the world. The author is affiliated with Southern Illinois University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205763122
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 9/27/2010
  • Series: MySocLab Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 9
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. Henslin was born in Minnesota, graduated from high school and junior college in California and from college in Indiana. Awarded scholarships, he earned his Master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After this, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health, and spent a year studying how people adjust to the suicide of a family member. His primary interests in sociology are the sociology of everyday life, deviance, and international relations. He has published widely in sociology journals, including Social Problems and American Journal of Sociology. While a graduate student, Jim Henslin taught at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. After completing his doctorate, he joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. He says, “I’ve always found the introductory course enjoyable to teach. I love to see students’ faces light up when they first glimpse the sociological perspective and begin to see how society has become an essential part of how they view the world.” Henslin enjoys reading and fishing. His two favorite activities are writing and traveling. He especially enjoys visiting and living in other cultures, for this brings him face to face with behaviors and ways of thinking that he cannot take for granted, experiences that “make sociological principles come alive.”
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Table of Contents





Part I The Sociological Perspective

Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective

Chapter 2 Culture

Chapter 3 Socialization

Chapter 4 Social Structure and Social Interaction

Chapter 5 Social Groups and Formal Organizations

Chapter 6 Deviance and Social Control

Chapter 7 Global Stratification

Chapter 8 Social Class in the United States

Chapter 9 Race and Ethnicity

Chapter 10 Gender and Age

Chapter 11 Politics and the Economy

Chapter 12 Marriage and Family

Chapter 13 Education and Religion

Chapter 14 Population and Urbanization

Chapter 15 Social Change and the Environment

Epilogue: Why Major in Sociology?


Part I The Sociological Perspective

Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective

The Sociological Perspective

Seeing the Broader Social Context

The Global Context — and the Local

Origins of Sociology

Tradition Versus Science

Auguste Comte and Positivism

Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

Karl Marx and Class Conflict

Emile Durkheim and Social Integration

Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic

Sociology in North America

Sexism and Early Female Sociologists

Racism at the Time: W.E.B. Du Bois

Down-to-Earth Sociology: W.E.B. Du Bois: The Souls of Black Folk

Jane Addams and Social Reform

Talcott Parsons and C. Wright Mills: Theory Versus Reform

The Continuing Tension: Basic, Applied, and Public Sociology

D own-to-Earth Sociology: Careers in Sociology: What Applied Sociologists Do

Cultural Diversity in the United States:

Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology

Symbolic Interactionism

Functional Analysis

Conflict Theory

Putting the Theoretical Perspectives Together

Levels of Analysis: Macro and Micro

How Theory and Research Work Together

Doing Sociological Research

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Enjoying A Sociology Quiz: Sociological Findings Versus Common Sense A Research Model



Down-to-Earth Sociology: Loading the Dice: How Not to Do Research

Participant Observation (Fieldwork)

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Gang Leader for a Day: Adventures of a Rogue Sociologist

Case Studies

Secondary Analysis



Unobtrusive Measures

Gender in Sociological Research

Ethics and Values in Sociological Research

Ethics: Protecting the Subjects — The Brajuha Research

Ethics: Misleading the Subjects — The Humphreys Research

Values and Controversy in Research

Summary and Review

Chapter 2 Culture

What Is Culture?

Culture and Taken-for-Granted Orientations to Life

Cultural Diversity Around the World: Culture Shock: The Arrival of the Hmong

Practicing Cultural Relativism

Cultural Diversity Around the World: You Are What You Eat? An Exploration in Cultural Relativity

Components of Symbolic Culture



C ultural Diversity in the United States: Miami–Continuing Controversy Over Language

Language and Perception: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Cultural Diversity in the United States: Race and Language: Searching for Self-Labels

Values, Norms, and Sanctions

Folkways and Mores

Many Cultural Worlds


Down-to-Earth Sociology: 2-D: A New Subculture and a Different Kind of Love


Values in U.S. Society

An Overview of U.S. Values

Value Clusters

Value Contradictions

Emerging Values

Culture Wars: When Values Clash

Values as Distorting Lens

“Ideal” Versus “Real” Culture

Technology in the Global Village

The New Technology

Cultural Lag and Cultural Change

Technology and Cultural Leveling

Summary and Review

Chapter 3 Socialization

Society Makes Us Human

Down-to-Earth Sociology:Heredity or Environment? The Case of Jack and Oscar, Identical Twins

Feral Children

Isolated Children

Institutionalized Children

Deprived Animals

Socialization into the Self and Mind

Cooley and the Looking-Glass Self

Mead and Role Taking

Piaget and the Development of Reasoning

Global Aspects of the Self and Reasoning

Learning Personality, Emotions, and Internal Control

Freud and the Development of Personality

Socialization into Emotions

Society Within Us: The Self and Emotions as Social Control

Socialization into Gender

Learning the Gender Map

Gender Messages in the Family

C ultural Diversity Around the World: Women Becoming Men: The Sworn Virgins

Gender Messages From Peers

Gender Messages in the Mass Media

Mass Media in Social Life: Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: Changing Images of Women in the Mass Media

Agents of Socialization

The Family

The Neighborhood


Day Care

The School and Peer Groups

Cultural Diversity in the United States: Immigrants and Their Children: Caught Between Two Worlds

The Workplace


Total Institutions

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Boot Camp as a Total Institution

Socialization Through the Life Course

Childhood (from birth to about age 12)

Adolescence (ages 13-17)

Transitional Adulthood (ages 18-29)

The Middle Years (ages 30-65)

The Older Years (about 65 on)

Are We Prisoners of Socialization?

Summary and Review

Chapter 4 Social Structure and Social Interaction

Levels of Sociological Analysis

Macrosociology and Microsociology

The Macrosociological Perspective: Social Structure

The Sociological Significance of Social Structure

Down-to-Earth Sociology:College Football as Social Structure


Social Class

Social Status



Social Institutions

Societies — and Their Tranformation

Sociology and the New Technology: Avatar Fantasy Life: The Blurring Lines of Reality

What Hold Society Together?

C ultural Diversity in the United States: The Amish: G emeinschaft Community in a Gesellschaft Society

The Microsociological Perspective: Social Interaction in Everyday Life

Symbolic Interaction

Down to Earth Sociology: Looks: The Last Frontier of Socially Acceptable Discrimination?

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Beauty May Be Only Skin Deep, But Its Effects Go On Forever

Dramaturgy: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Mass Media in Social Life:You Can’t Be Thin Enough: Body Images and the Mass Media

Ethnomethodology: Uncovering Background Assumptions

The Social Construction of Reality

The Need for Both Macrosociology and Microsociology

Through the Author's Lens: When a Tornado Strikes

Summary and Review

Chapter 5 Social Groups and Formal Organizations

Groups Within Society

Primary Groups

Seconary Groups

In-Groups and Out-Groups

Reference Groups

Social Networks

New Group: Electronic Communities


The Characteristics of Bureaucracies

Down-to-Earth Sociology: The McDonaldization of Society

Goal Displacement and the Perpetuation of Bureaucracies

Dysfunctions of Bureaucracies

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Group Pranking: Escaping the Boredom of Bureaucracy?

Working for the Corporation

Self-Fulfilling Stereotypes in the “Hidden” Corporate Culture

T hinking Critically: Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Group Dynamics

Effects on Group Size on Stability and Intimacy

Effects on Group Size on Attitudes and Behavior


The Power of Peer Pressure: The Asch Experiment

Down-to-Earth Sociology: The Power of Cascades: When Error Escalates

The Power of Authority: The Milgram Experiment

Thinking Critically:If Hitler Asked You to Execute a Stranger, Would You? The Milgram Experiment

Global Consequences of Group Dynamics: Groupthink

Summary and Review

Chapter 6 Deviance and Social Control

What Is Deviance?

Cultural Diversity Around the World:Human Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective

How Norms Make Social Life Possible


Competing Explanations of Deviance: Sociobiology, Psychology, and Sociology

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

Differential Association Theory

Control Theory

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Shaming: Making a Comeback? Labeling Theory

Mass Media in Social Life:Pornography and the Mainstream: Freedom Versus Censorship

The Functionalist Perspective

Can Deviance Really Be Functional for Society?

Strain Theory: How Social Values Produce Deviance

Illegitimate Opportunity Structures: Social Class and Crime

Down-to-Earth Sociology:Islands in the Street: Urban Gangs in the United States

The Conflict Perspective

The Law as an Instrument of Oppression

Reactions to Deviance

Cultural Diversity Around the World: What Kind of Prison Is This?

Street Crime and Prisons

T hinking Critically:“Three Strikes and You're Out!” Unintended Consequences of Well-Intended Laws

The Decline in Crime


The Death Penalty and Bias

Down-to-Earth Sociology:The Killer Next Door: Serial Murderers in Our Midst

Legal Change

T hinking Critically:Changing Views: Making Hate a Crime

The Medicalization of Deviance: Mental Illness

The Need for a More Humane Approach

Summary and Review

Chapter 7 Global Stratification

Systems of Social Stratification


Mass Media in Social Life:What Price Freedom? Slavery Today




Global Stratification and the Status of Females

The Global Superclass

What Determines Social Class?

Karl Marx: The Means of Production

Max Weber: Property, Power, and Prestige

Why Is Social Stratification Universal?

The Functionalist View: Motivating Qualified People

The Conflict Perspective: Class Conflict and Scarce


Lenski's Synthesis

How Do Elites Maintain Stratification?

Soft Control Versus Force

Comparative Social Stratification

Social Stratification in Great Britain

Social Stratification in the Former Soviet Union

Global Stratification: Three Worlds

The Most Industrialized Nations

The Industrializing Nations

Thin king Critically:Open Season: Children As Prey

The Least Industrialized Nations

Through the Author's Lens: The Dump People: Working and Living and Playing in the City Dump of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

How Did the World's Nations Become Stratified?


World System Theory

T hinking Critically:When Globalization Comes Home: Maquiladoras South of the Border

Culture of Poverty

Evaluating the Theories

Maintaining Global Stratification


Multinational Corporations

Technology and Global Domination

Strains in the Global System

Summary and Review

Chapter 8 Social Class in the United States

What Is Social Class?


Down-to-Earth Sociology: How the Super-Rich Live



Status Inconsistency

Down-to-Earth Sociology:The Big Win: Life After the


Sociological Models of Social Class

Updating Marx

Updating Weber

Consequences of Social Class

Physical Health

Mental Health

T hinking Critically: Mental Illness and Inequality in Medical Care

Family Life




Crime and the Criminal Justice

Social Mobility

Three Types of Social Mobility

Cultural Diversity in the United States:Social Class and the Upward Mobility of African Americans Women in Studies of Social



Drawing the Poverty Line

Do wn-to-Earth Sociology: Taking Another Fun Quiz: Exploring Stereotypes About the Poor

Who Are the Poor?

Children of Poverty

T hinking Critically: The Nation's Shame: Children in


The Dynamics of Poverty

Why Are People Poor?

Welfare Reform

Where Is Horatio Alger? The Social Functions of a Myth

Summary and Review

Chapter 9 Race and Ethnicity

Laying the Sociological Foundation

Race: Myth and Reality

Cultural Diversity in the United States: Tiger Woods: Mapping the Changing Ethnic Terrain

Ethnic Groups

Minority Groups and Dominant Groups

How People Construct Their Racial-Ethnic Identity

Prejudice and Discrimination

Learning Prejudice

Down-to-Earth Sociology: The Racist Mind

Individual and Institutional Discrimination

Theories of Prejudice

Psychological Perspectives

Sociological Perspectives

Down-to-Earth Sociology: The Man in the Zoo

Global Patterns of Intergroup Relations


Population Transfer

Internal Colonialism



Multiculturalism (Pluralism)

Racial-Ethnic Relations in the United States

European Americans

Latinos (Hispanics)

Cultural Diversity in the United States: The Illegal Travel Guide

African Americans

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Stealth Racism in the Rental Market: What You Reveal by Your Voice

Asian Americans

Native Americans

Looking Toward the Future

The Immigration Debate

Cultural Diversity in the United States: Glimpsing the Future: The Shifting U.S. Racial-Ethnic Mix

Summary and Review

Chapter 10 Gender and Age


Issues of Sex and Gender

Gender Differences in Behavior: Biology or Culture?

Opening the Door to Biology

Gender Inequality in Global Perspective

Through the Author's Lens: Work and Gender: Women at Work in India

Mass Media in Social Life: Women in Iran: The Times Are Changing, Ever So Slowly

The Origins of Patriarchy

Global Violence Against Women

Cultural Diversity Around the World: Female Circumcision

Gender Inequality in the United States

Fighting Back: The Rise of Feminism

Gender Inequality in Health Care

D own-to-Earth Sociology: Cold-Hearted Surgeons and Their Women Victims

Gender Inequality in Education

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Affirmative Action for Men

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Sexual Harassment–and Worse

Violence Against Women

The Changing Face of Politics

Glimpsing the Future–With Hope


Aging in Global Perspective

The Social Construction of Aging

Industrialization and the Graying of the Globe

The Graying of America

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

Shifting Meanings of Growing Old

The Influence of the Mass Media

Mass Media in Social Life: Shaping Our Perceptions of the Elderly

The Functionalist Perspective

Disengagement Theory

Activity Theory

Continuity Theory

The Conflict Perspective

Fighting for Resources: Social Security Legislation

Intergenerational Competition and Conflict

Do wn-to-Earth Sociology: Senior Citizen Discounts: Stirrings of Resentment

Looking Toward the Future

New Views of Aging

Summary and Review

Chapter 11 Politics and the Economy


Power, Authority, and Violence

Authority and Legitimate Violence

Traditional Authority

Rational-Legal Authority

Charismatic Authority

The Transfer of Authority

Types of Government

Monarchies: The Rise of the State

Democracies: Citizenship as a Revolutionary Idea

Dictatorships and Oligarchies: The Seizure of Power

The U.S. Political System

Political Parties and Elections

Voting Patterns

Lobbyists and Special-Interest Groups

Who Rules the United States?

The Functionalist Perspective: Pluralism

The Conflict Perspective: The Power Elite

Which View is Right?

War and Terrorism: Implementing Political Objectives

Why Nations Go to War


Down-to-Earth Sociology: Who Are the Suicide Terrorists? Testing Your Stereotypes

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Child Soldiers


The Transformation of Economic Systems

Preindustrial Societies: The Birth of Inequality

Industrial Societies: The Birth of the Machine

Postindustrial Societies: The Birth of the Information Age

Biotech Societies: The Merger of Biology and Economics

Implications for Your Life

Cultural Diversity Around the World: The Child Workers

World Economic Systems



Ideologies of Capitalism and Socialism

Criticisms of Capitalism and Socialism

The Convergence of Capitalism and Socialism

Cultural Diversity Around the World: The New Capitalism in China

The Globalization of Capitalism

A New Global Structure and the Global Oppression of Workers

Through the Author’s Lens: Small Town USA

Stagnant Paychecks

The New Economic System and the Old Divisions of Wealth

The Global Superclass

A New World Order?

Trends Towards Unity

Strains in the Global System

Summary and Review

Chapter 12 Marriage and Family

Marriage and Family in Global Perspective

What Is a Family?

What Is Marriage?

Common Cultural Themes

Sociology and the New Technology: Finding a Mate: Not the Same as It Used to Be

Marriage and Family in Theoretical Perspective

The Functionalist Perspective: Functions and Dysfunctions

The Conflict Perspective: Struggles Between Husbands and Wives

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective: Gender, Housework, and Child Care

The Family Life Cycle

Love and Courtship in Global Perspective



Child Rearing

Family Transitions

Diversity in U.S. Families

African American Families

Latino Families

Asian American Families

Native American Families

One-Parent Families

Families Without Children

Blended Families

Gay and Lesbian Families

Trends in U.S. Families

Postponing Marriage and Childbirth


Down-to-Earth Sociology: “You Want Us to Live Together? What Do You Mean By That?”

Divorce and Remarriage

Ways of Measuring Divorce

Down-to-Earth Sociology: “What Are Your Chances of Getting Divorced?”

Children of Divorce

Grandchildren of Divorce

The Absent Father and Serial Fatherhood

The Ex-Spouses


Two Sides of Family Life

The Dark Side of Family Life: Battering, Child Abuse, Marital Rape, and Incest

Down-to-Earth Sociology: “Why Doesn't She Just Leave?” The Dilemma of Abused Women

The Bright Side of Family Life: Successful Marriages

Symbolic Interactionism and the Misuse of Statistics

The Future of Marriage and Family

Summary and Review

Chapter 13 Education and Religion


Education and Industrialization

Down-to-Earth Sociology: Community Colleges Old and New Education in the Most Industrialized Nations: Japan

Education in the Industrializing Nations: Russia

Education in the Least Industrialized Nations: Egypt

The Functionalist Perspective: Providing Social Benefits

Teaching Knowledge and Skills

Cultural Transmisssion of Values

Social Integration

Gatekeeping (Social Placement)

Replacing Family Functions

The Conflict Perspective: Perpetuating Social Inequality

The Hidden Curriculum

Tilting the Tests: Discrimination by IQ

Stacking the Deck: Unequal Funding

The Bottom Line: Family Background

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective: Teacher Expectations

The Rist Research

How Do Teacher Expectations Work?

Problems in U.S. Education–and Their Solutions




Mass Media in Social Life: School Shootings: Exploring a Myth

Technology and Education

Sociology and the New Technology: Internet University: No Walls, No Ivy, No All Night Parties


What Is Religion?

The Functionalist Perspective

Functions of Religion

Dysfunctions of Religion

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

Religious Symbols


Through the Author’s Lens: Holy Week in Spain


Religious Experience

The Conflict Perspective

Opium of the People

A Legitimation of Social Inequalities

Religion and the Spirit of Capitalism

Types of Religious Groups





Variations in Patterns

Religion in the United States

Characteristics of Members

Characteristics of Religious Groups

Cultural Diversity in the United States: Human Heads and Animal Blood: The Toleration of Religion

The Future of Religion

Mass Media in Social Life: God on the Net: The Online Marketing of Religion

Summary and Review

Chapter 14 Population and Urbanization


A Planet with No Space for Enjoying Life?

The New Malthusians

The Anti-Malthusians

Who Is Correct?

Why Are People Starving?

Population Growth

Down-to-Earth Sociology: How the 2004 Tsunami Can Help Us to Understand Population Growth

Why the Least Industrialized Nations Have So Many Children

Implications of Different Rates of Growth

The Three Demographic Variables

Problems in Forecasting Population Growth

Cultural Diversity Around the World: Killing Little Girls: An Ancient and Thriving Practice


Through the Author's Lens: A Walk Through El Tiro in Medellin, Columbia

The Development of Cities

The Process of Urbanization

U.S. Urban Patterns

D own-to-Earth Sociology: Reclaiming Harlem: A Twist in the Invasion — Succession Cycle

The Rural Rebound

Models of Urban Growth

The Concentric-Zone Model

The Sector Model

The Multiple-Nuclei Model

The Peripheral Model

Critique of the Models

Cultural Diversity Around the World: Why City Slums Are Better Than the Country: Urbanization in the Least Industrialized


City Life

Community in the City

Who Lives in the City?

The Norm of Noninvolvement and the Diffusion of Responsibility

Urban Problems and Social Policy


Disinvestment and Deindustrialization

The Potential of Urban Revitalization

Summary and Review

Chapter 15 Social Change and the Environment

How Social Change Transforms Social Life

The Four Social Revolutions

From Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft

The Industrialization Revolution and Capitalism

Conflict, Power, and Global Politics

Theories and Processes of Social Change

Evolution From Lower to Higher

Natural Cycles

Conflict Over Power

Ogburn's Theory

How Technology Changes Society

The Social Significance of Technology

Sociology and the New Technology: From Electronic Toy to Political Weapon: Twittering in the Digital Age

Social Movements as a Source of Social Change

Types of Social Movements

Propaganda and the Mass Media

Down-to-Earth Sociology: “The Tricks of the Trade” — Deception and Persuasion in Propaganda

The Stages of Social Movements


Thinking Critically: Which Side of the Barricades? Prochoice and Prolife as a Social Movement

The Growth Machine Versus the Earth

Environmental Problems in the Most Industrialized Nations

Environmental Problems in the Industrializing and Least Industrialized Nations

Cultural Diversity Around the World: The Rainforests: Lost Tribes, Lost Knowledge

The Environmental Movement

Thinking Critically: Ecosabatage

Environmental Sociology

Summary and Review

Epilogue: Why Major in Sociology?

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