Exploring Social Change: America and the World / Edition 3

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Upper Saddle River, NJ 1998 Hard cover 3rd ed. New. No dust jacket as issued. Gift Quality. Immaculate. Pristine. Fast Arrival. Brand New. Carefully packed in bubblewrap. 1st ... Printing 1998. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 342 p. Gift Quality. Immaculate. Pristine. Fast Arrival. Brand New. Carefully packed in bubblewrap. 1st Printing 1998. I do not rent books please no returns thanks. This book is spotless. Read more Show Less

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Ideal for those new to the subject, this compact introduction to social change explores the "big" issues, but in a way that engages the life experiences of individuals (the "micro-macro" connection). Unlike most books on the subject, it shows the connection between many issues, using current data and a balanced discussion of major perspectives, theories, and models. Begins with an introduction to sociology and the concept of social change; then explores recent changes and trends in contemporary American society; discusses concepts, theories, and models of change with reference to social movements, revolutions, innovation, and the role of change agents as producers of social change; and concludes with a discussion of world-scale trends and change processes in the modern world, with reference to development, globalization, environmental issues, and prospects for the future. For those involved in marketing, policy development, etc.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133086850
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
  • Publication date: 8/8/1997
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 342

Table of Contents

1. By Way of Introduction.


2. American Social Trends.
3. Change and the Settings of Everyday Life: Population, Families, and Work.
4. Economics, Politics, and the American Prospect.


5. The Causes and Patterns of Change.
6. Sociological Theory and Change.


7. Social Movements.
8. American Reform Movements and Social Change.
9. Revolutions.
10. Technology, Innovation, and Networks.
11. Creating Change.


12. The Emerging World System: Development and Globalization.
13. Society, Environment, and Change.
14. World Futures.
Epilogue: Living in a Rapidly Changing World.
Author Index.
Subject Index.
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This is a book for all those who are curious about social change. It is also about how sociologists study change. It is about the substance of social change in the United States and the contemporary world; it is also about the usefulness of sociological ideas for, understanding change and methods of inquiry that have been used to understand social change. We think the topic of social change is of intrinsic interest to everyone, since its pervasive impact is felt by all and is often the cause of considerable perplexity. Sociological perspectives are uniquely suited to illuminate social change because of their holistic treatment of the different aspects of social life that other disciplines (politics, law, economics) address in a more partial way. Sociology is also a lively and contentious discipline, and we have not ignored sociological controversies or omitted complex ideas that defy oversimplification. The book requires some background, but we have tried to write a book for relative newcomers to sociology, avoiding the most arcane jargon and professional idiom for what we hope are clear language and fertile examples. It is about "big" issues, but we have tried to write in a way that engages the life experience of individuals.

The topics of the book are based on what we think is important to communicate about social change based on years of teaching and thinking about it. Others may not agree. It begins with a synoptic overview of recent change in American society. America here refers to the United States, and when we refer to other Western Hemispheric nations, we will use their proper names, or other terms like North America or Latin America. Middlechapters deal with selected change processes and with sociological theories of change. The later chapters are about global change processes in the modern world. A more descriptive overview of the chapter topics and organization of the book occurs at the end of Chapter 1, so we won't elaborate more here.

Writing a book involves the minds and energies of many people besides the authors. Harper would like to acknowledge his indebtedness to five teachers who have been particularly influential in his intellectual development: Ray Cuzzort, Ernest Manheim, Oscar Eggers, Jerry Cloyd, and Jack Siegman. He would also like to thank his students and colleagues at Creighton University who put up with him over the years through several editions, especially the diverse contributions of Tom Mans, Sue Crawford, and James T. Ault. Harper also thanks Barbara Braden, Dean of the Creighton University Graduate College, for her material support during the completion of the fourth edition. He also thanks professional colleagues for their support and critical feedback over the years, including Prentice Hall reviewers Gerry Cox of Black Hills State University; David Swift of the University of Hawaii; Mark Mantyh of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and Becky M. Trigg of the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Leicht first and foremost owes an immeasurable debt of gratitude to Charles Harper for his capable guidance and friendship over the past twenty years. He also owes a great deal to James T. Ault for taking a Nebraska boy who was a little wet behind the ears and turning him into a productive member of the social science community. When he was offered the opportunity to help with the revision of this text, he jumped at the chance in part because of the experiences he had as an undergraduate at Creighton University. He sincerely hopes that this text inspires others to think critically about the world around them, whether they decide to become sociologists or not.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to the editorial staff of Prentice Hall, particularly Sharon Chambliss, the supportive and congenial "editor in charge" of the project, and Nancy Roberts, Publisher, who has been a constant source of unobtrusive encouragement and the most human face in a distant corporation.


This is a compact but flexibly organized core text that can be used with a wide variety of supplements. Ideas are connected and developmental, but not so tightly that you can't omit some chapters or rearrange the order to fit the priorities of different courses. Here are a few suggestions for some optional ways of organizing the course.

If you want a more descriptive course about change in America and the world without much theory, you can omit entirely Parts Two and Three about theory, movements, and innovation, though you may have to decode some discussions later on. Another alternative, more consistent with comparative interests, would be to omit the American materials in Part One entirely, begin with the theory material (Parts Two and Three), skip to the material about technology and innovation (Chapter 10), and then continue through material about development, globalization, population/environment issues, and the future (Part Four). Yet another alternative is a more applied emphasis that asks students to observe change processes close up. For that, we would begin with the American materials (Part One), followed with a chapter about movements (Chapter 7), and then with material about innovation and creating change (Chapter 1)—ending with other material as you see fit. You can, of course, rearrange the sequence by having students read the theory and change process material first, but based on our teaching experience we don't recommend it. We placed material about change in America first as a means of engaging students before addressing more conceptually demanding issues about theory, models, social movements, and innovation.

We have retained the review questions at the end of each chapter to help students explore the personal implications of large-scale social change processes and to facilitate discussion.

We would like to hear about your experience with the book and about improving it.

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