Marriages and Families: Diversity and Change / Edition 5

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Taking an historical, cross-cultural, and global approach, this book focuses on the link between social structure and the everyday lives of people's diverse experiences of marriages, families, and intimate relationships. It shows how contemporary families go well beyond the traditional, heterosexual, two-parent, white, middle class family and heterosexual legally-sanctioned marriage; challenges the assumption that one culture's way of doing things is the “natural” or “right” way; shows how marriage and family life have changed historically over time and from place to place; and how political and economic globalization impacts families worldwide. Features extensive boxed material accompanied by questions for personal reflection.

Marriages and Families Over Time. Ways of Studying and Explaining Marriages and Families. Understanding Gender: Its Influence In Intimate Relationships. The Many Faces of Love. Dating, Coupling, and Mate Selection. Sexuality and Intimate Relationships. Nonmarital Lifestyles. The Marriage Experience. Reproduction and Parenting. Evolving Work and Family Structures. Violence and Abuse. The Process of Uncoupling: Divorce in the United States. Remarriage and Remarried Families. Families in Later Life. Marriages and Families in the Twenty-first Century: U.S. and World Trends.

For anyone interested in marriage and family dynamics, including individuals, counselors, nurses, social workers, home economists, etc.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132287692
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 12/4/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Mary Ann Schwartz has been married over 25 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and History from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her Master's Degree in Sociology from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and her Doctorate in Sociology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Women's Studies and former Chair of the Sociology Department at Northeastern Illinois University, where she co-founded and was actively involved in the Women's Studies Program. She also served as a faculty consultant to the Network for the Dissemination of Curriculum Infusion, an organization that presents workshops nationally on how to integrate substance abuse prevention strategies into the college curriculum.

Throughout her educational experiences, Professor Schwartz has been concerned with improving the academic climate for women, improving student access to higher education, and improving the quality of undergraduate education. As a union activist, Professor Schwartz worked to win collective bargaining for higher education faculty in Illinois. She served as union president at Northeastern and spent over eight years as the Legislative Director for the University Professionals of Illinois where she lobbied for bills of interest to higher education faculty and students. She edited the union's newsletter, Universities 21, that is devoted to sharing ideas on academic issues.

Professor Schwartz's research continues to focus on marriages and families, socialization, nonmarital lifestyles, work, aging, and the structured relationships of race, class, and gender.Although she found teaching all courses thought-provoking and enjoyable, her favorites were Marriages and Families; Women, Men, and Social Change; and Introductory Sociology. In her teaching she employed interactive learning strategies and encouraged students to apply sociological insights in their everyday lives. Seeing students make connections between their individual lives and the larger social forces that influence them remains one of the most rewarding and exciting aspects of her teaching career.

Dr. BarBara M. Scott has been married over 37 years and is the proud mother of two sons and two granddaughters. As a wife and mother of two small children, she returned to school, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and two different Master's Degrees: a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology and a Master of Philosophy from Roosevelt University in Chicago, and later a Doctorate in Sociology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Scott is a Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and former Chair of the Criminal Justice, Social Work, Sociology, and Women's Studies Department at Northeastern Illinois University. She is a strong advocate for curriculum transformation and the integration of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation into the college curriculum, as well as a social activist who has been in the forefront of organizing among national and international women of color, both within and outside academia.

Professor Scott has received meritorious recognition for her work and has served over 27 years as an educational and human resource consultant. She has coordinated the Women's Studies Program, is a founding member of the university's Black Women's Caucus, and is the faculty sponsor for the undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority on her campus. Her research and teaching interests include marriages and families, particularly African American families; the structured relationships of race, class, and gender; institutionalized racism and inequality; cultural images and the social construction of knowledge in the mass media; and Africana Women's Studies. She finds teaching challenging and invigorating, and among her favorite courses are Marriages and Families, Sociology of Black Women, and Introductory Sociology. She is an enthusiastic advocate of applying sociology to the everyday worlds in which we live and routinely engages her students in field research in the communities in which they live and work. After years of teaching, she still gets excited about the varied insights that sociology offers into both the most simple and the most complex questions and issues of human social life.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Marriages and Families over Time 1
Ch. 2 Ways of Studying and Explaining Marriages and Families 26
Ch. 3 Gender Roles 52
Ch. 4 The Many Faces of Love 75
Ch. 5 Daring, Coupling, and Mate Selection 101
Ch. 6 Sexuality and Intimate Relationships 131
Ch. 7 Nonmarital Lifestyles 170
Ch. 8 The Marriage Experience 192
Ch. 9 Reproduction and Parenting 221
Ch. 10 Evolving Work and Family Structures 252
Ch. 11 Challenges Confronting Today's Families: Global Connections 277
Ch. 12 Violence and Abuse 302
Ch. 13 The Process of Uncoupling: Divorce in the United States 330
Ch. 14 Remarriage and Remarried Families 354
Ch. 15 Marriages and Families in Later Life 375
Ch. 16 Marriages and Families in the Twenty-First Century 399
Appendixes 410
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In this fourth edition of Marriages and Families: Diversity and Change, there is a conscious effort to present a continuity of major issues, concerns, and themes on contemporary marriages, families, and intimate relationships. Our initial resolve when writing the first edition of this textbook has not changed, and it informs this fourth edition as well. The subtitle of this book, Diversity and Change, continues to be the major thematic framework that runs through all 15 chapters and is informed by the scholarship of a wide variety of scholars, most notably scholars of color and feminist scholars in sociology and from across a number of other academic disciplines. The emphasis on diversity helps students to understand that there are many different forms of intimate relationships beyond the traditional heterosexual, two-parent, white, middle-class family and the legally sanctioned heterosexual marriage. As we show throughout this textbook, marriages and families more generally include single-parent families, headed by women or men; lesbian or gay families with or without children and with or without a live-in partner; adoptive and foster families; biracial and multiracial families; cohabiting couples involving heterosexual or homosexual partners; and blended families that emerge following divorce, remarriage, or simply when people bring to a new relationship children from a previous intimate relationship. In this context, we treat marriages and families as social constructs whose meanings have changed over time and from place to place.

Consistent with this position, we continue to give high priority to framing our discussions of marriages and families in historicalcontext. Most, if not all, aspects of our lives, are shaped by larger historical circumstances. To be born during a particular historical period is to experience intimacy, marriage, family life, childbearing and child rearing, family decision making, household labor, and marital and family satisfaction (to name a few) in particular ways that are germane to the time, place, and social structure within which we find ourselves. For example, the economic growth and prosperity of the 1950s, a period during which the nuclear family was idealized, encouraged or made possible this particular family structure. During this period both women and men married at early ages, had children within a relatively short interval from the wedding, and generally stayed married until the death of one spouse. For many families, a husband's income was sufficient to support the family. Thus, wives and mothers typically remained at home fulfilling domestic and child-care roles. Although economic conditions have changed, now often requiring multiple wage earners, this 1950s "idealized" image continues to dominate popular discourse on marriages and families. In the 1990s, however, most children were growing up either in single-parent families or in families where both parents worked outside the home. Framing our discussion of marriages and families in historical context not only provides students with knowledge about marriages and families in earlier periods of U.S. history but also enables them to understand and interpret the changes that are occurring around them in marriages and families today.

Our objectives in this fourth edition are simple yet significant:

  • to help students recognize and understand the dynamic nature of marriages, families, and intimate relationships;
  • to enable students to recognize, confront, and dispel prominent myths about marriages, families, and intimate relationships;
  • to help students see the interactive relationships of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation;
  • to encourage an informed openness in student attitudes that will empower them to make informed choices and decisions in their own marriage, family, and intimate relationships;
  • to enable students to see how marriages, families, and intimate relationships around the world are increasingly affected by global events, particularly trade imbalances, armed conflicts, and acts of terrorism; and
  • to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to a number of key issues facing marriages and families in the twenty-first century.

In this age of rapid communication and technological changes, not only does the evening news bring into our homes stories about marriages and families in distant places, but more importantly the news also calls attention to how political and economic decisions, both national and international, affect families in the United States as well as those in other countries of the world. For example, decisions of multinational corporations to relocate from one country to another in pursuit of lower labor costs and less regulation impact families in both countries. On the one hand, family budgets and patterns of living are often seriously disrupted when a family member loses a job because of a plant relocation. On the other hand, family patterns are also affected when members must work for subsistence level wages, often in an unhealthy environment. In this example, the experiences of these families are globally interdependent.

In addition, issues of violence and the massive abuse of human beings both nationally and internationally crowd our psyches. On the one hand, in the United States, racism, hate crimes, street violence, the escalation of violence in schools, and terrorist attacks are indeed very troubling issues faced by all families. On the other hand, the violence and atrocities related to political, cultural, and ethnic wars such as in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Burundi have had devastating consequences for millions of families. These global incidents are not unrelated to life in the United States as many of the survivors of these atrocities seek refuge in the United States. In turn, both human and financial resources must be reallocated from domestic agendas to help meet humanitarian commitments around the world. By examining the process of globalization and its consequences or, as C. Wright Mills (1959) suggested, by grasping history and biography and the connections between the two, students should be better able to understand their personal life experiences and prepare themselves for meeting the challenges of living in a global society.

Rapid changes in the racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population, due to immigration and differential fertility rates, have focused our nation's attention on diversity. Although some dimensions of this issue are new, a historical review quickly shows that throughout U.S. history marriages and families have taken many diverse forms. A focus on structured relationships such as race, class, and gender allows us to see how marriages and families are experienced differently by different categories of people. In this fourth edition, we continue to make a special effort to treat this diversity in an integrative manner. Thus, we have no separate chapters on class or families of color. Instead, when marriage and family experiences are differentiated by race, class, or gender, these differences are integrated into the discussion of specific experiences. Two examples will illustrate this point. First, although the vast majority of all Americans will eventually marry, the marriage rate is lower for some groups than others. White females are more likely to marry than African American females, who are confronted with an increasing shortage of African American males of comparable age and education. Second, although both women and men suffer from the dissolution of their marriages through divorce or death, gender also differentiates those experiences in important ways. The most striking difference is an economic one: the standard of living declines for women but improves for men.

It is not always easy to discuss diversity, partly because our thinking about diversity is itself diverse. One of the first issues we face in discussing diversity is language—what are the appropriate designations to use to refer to different groups at this point in time? Names are often controversial and reflect a power struggle over who has the right or authority to name. Not surprisingly, those in positions of power historically have assumed that right and authority. As the "named" groups themselves become more powerful and vocal, however, they often challenge the naming process and insist on designations they believe more clearly express their sense of their own identity. For example, as a result of pressure from people with mixed ancestry, the U.S. Census Bureau gave official recognition to a biracial or multiracial category on its year 2000 census forms. However, even this is not without problems. The multiracial category has yielded significant changes in the number of reported members in various racial and ethnic groups of color. This fact has political and economic significance in terms of the distribution of governmental resources and services.

Although there is no unanimity on these matters even among members of the same group, some terms have emerged as preferred terms. Thus, for example, Latina/o is preferred to Hispanic, Native American is preferred to American Indian, lesbian and gay are preferred to homosexual, and African American is preferred to black. Throughout this text we try to be consistent in using the preferred terms. When we make specific comparisons by race, however, we use the terms black and white for ease of presentation. In addition, we have consciously avoided using the term minority group to refer to racial and ethnic groups in our society. Instead, we use the term people of color. Although this term is not problem-free, it avoids an implicit assumption in the term minority that groups so designated are not part of the dominant culture in terms of shared values and aspirations.


Marriages and Families: Diversity and Change continues to be distinguished from other textbooks in a number of important ways including the new and expanded features of the fourth edition.

In the News

Each chapter begins with an "In the News" feature. These are true stories of people caught up in the web of marriage and family relationships. Following each "In the News" feature is a series of questions under the heading "What would you do?" This feature helps students to see the relevance of many political, economic, and cultural issues to ordinary people's lives and invites them to reflect on the topics to be covered in that chapter in light of their own value expectations, and experiences.

Strengthening Marriages and Families Box

This box appears in several key chapters and utilizes a question-and-answer format with family therapist Joan Zientek. The purpose of this box is to introduce students to the concept of family therapy and show them how such therapy can help family members confront some of the many problems that today's families might encounter. For example, in Chapter 8 Joan Zientek describes how couples can improve communication and resolve conflicts, and in Chapter 15 she provides guidance to parents on how to talk to their children about terrorism.

Searching the Internet Box

These boxes present up-to-date data on relevant topics discussed in the chapter and provide students with the Internet Websites where they can go to do further research on their own. For example, in Chapter 1 students can learn at a glance statistics that reveal the current patterns of marriages and living arrangements. In Chapter 15 students can compare the status of children in the United States with that of children in Afghanistan. In addition, at the end of some of asked to read some examples of Robert Strenberg's theory these chapters students are provided with thought-provoking questions that test their ability to use the sociological imagination while utilizing resources found via the Internet.

Family Profiles Box

This popular feature from the second edition has been expanded to include profiles, of a single parent of adopted children, a survivor of domestic violence, and a couple who is raising four children. These photos and profiles of real people, including what they see as the major challenges in their current stage of their family life cycle and the philosophy that guides their behavior in their relationships, serve as a good basis for students to examine their own attitudes and values regarding where they are in their family's life cycle.

In Other Places Box

This box will continue to offer insights into the diverse structures and functions of marriages and families, both global and local. For example, in Chapter S students can read about interracial dating in South Africa. Each "In Other Places" box includes a series of questions under the heading "What do you think?" These questions require students to reflect on cultural similarities and differences. It also helps students understand that culture is relative.

Social Policy Issues Box

This box not only extends coverage of complex and unresolved social issues but also discusses policy initiatives in these areas. For example, in Chapter 9 students are asked to reflect on issues .concerning fetal rights and the rights of pregnant women, particularly if the woman abuses alcohol or other drugs; and students can explore controversial policies related to the emerging trend of defining a "viable fetus" as a child covered by child abuse laws. Thus, pregnant women are increasingly being prosecuted for behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and abusing drugs (see Chapter 11).

Writing Your Own Script Box

These exercises again can be found at the end of each chapter. Students and instructors have told us that this focused approach makes it easy for students to reflect on their own life choices and in writing their own marital or relationship scripts. In this way, students are encouraged to think sociologically about their personal decision making in light of the relevant research presented in that chapter.

Applying the Sociological Imagination Box

The content of these boxes challenges students to use a sociological perspective in analyzing aspects of marriages and families. It requires students to see the relationship between personal behavior and how society is organized and structured. For example, in Chapter 4 students are of love as a story and then reflect on and identify their own personal story of love. Other boxes in this category examine contemporary marriage and family situations.

New and Expanded Themes

In addition to these special features, we have enriched each chapter by incorporating hundreds of new research studies. We have also included new photos, examples, tables, and figures to illustrate contemporary marriage and family concepts, events, trends, and themes.

  • Changing immigration patterns have resulted in greater racial, ethnic, and racial diversity among families in the United States and throughout the world (Chapters 1 and 15).
  • Just as families are changing, so, too, is the discipline of sociology. Although in the past, women and people of color were involved in research and theorizing about marriages and families, their contributions were largely ignored. Today, however, women and people of color are gaining much deserved recognition as researchers and theorists (Chapter 2).
  • Generally, when we think of changes in gender roles, we think of change in a linear pattern moving toward greater equality. However, the experiences of Afghan women show that this pattern does not apply everywhere. For example, the Taliban regime reversed many of the rights of Afghan women when they took control of Afghanistan in late 1996 (Chapter 3).
  • Love takes many different forms (Chapter 4).
  • Contemporary dating and mate selection take a number of new forms, including cyberdating (Chapter 5).
  • For most American teens oral sex is not "really" sex; real sex is vaginal intercourse. This perspective puts young people in jeopardy of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The incidence of AIDS is increasing dramatically around the globe (Chapter 6).
  • Despite great controversy, Vermont became the first and, to date, only state granting legal recognition to same-sex unions. The lifestyles of the unmarried population continue to take many diverse forms (Chapter 7).
  • Although some people think of premarital agreements as cold, unromantic, and businesslike, an increasing number of couples are making them part of their marriage preparation. Additionally, because conflict is now being recognized as a normal part of intimate relationships, many couples are participating in marriage preparation classes that teach conflict resolution skills (Chapter 8).
  • Polls show that an increasing number of fathers desire to spend more time and develop a closer relationship with their children. New research documents the importance of fathers in the lives of children, indicating that when fathers provide strong emotional, financial, and other support, their children are likely to be healthier physically and psychologically (Chapter 9).
  • Despite the economic prosperity of the 1990s, the income gap between wealthy and poor families widened considerably. Research shows that America's working families lose a staggering $200 billion in income annually because of the gender wage gap, an average of $4000 a family. The September 11 terrorist attacks led to a sharp increase in unemployment, particularly among families whose wage earners worked in jobs that service the middle and upper classes such as child-care workers, bellhops, waiters, and cab drivers (Chapter 10).
  • Violence within families continues to be a major problem in the United States and in many other countries. The most vulnerable family members are children 3 years and younger and the elderly. Contemporary judicial and legislative approaches to domestic violence are sometimes more punitive toward the victim than the perpetrator (Chapter 11).
  • Although the overall divorce rate has decreased slightly over the past several years, the rate remains high and varies among different groups and in different geographic regions. For example, recent statistics show that people living m the "Bible Belt" states such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, and Oklahoma have higher rates of divorce than people living in socially more liberal states like New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (Chapter 12).
  • Estimates are that 30 percent of all U.S. children are living in stepfamilies. Although no precise figures exist on the number of children being raised in lesbian and gay stepfamilies, the increasing use of reproductive technology (Chapter 9) and changes in adoption laws (Chapter 15) suggest that more children will live in lesbian and gay stepfamilies in the future (Chapter 13).
  • People are living longer. There now are more than 60,000 centenarians in the United States. Contrary to popular stereotypes, the vast majority of older people maintain their independence and enjoy an active social life. An emerging trend among the elderly is unplanned parenthood. That is, an increasing number of grandparents are assuming primary parenting responsibility for their grandchildren. Over 4.5 million children now live in 2.4 million grandparent-headed households (Chapter 14).
  • As globalization expands, so, too, does the inequality that accompanies it, leaving many individuals and families behind. Rising inequality can result in an increase in racial bias, xenophobia, isolationist tendencies, and religious intolerance. In this process, individuals and societies who are among the most disadvantaged sometimes respond with violence and acts of terrorism (Chapter 15).


Marriages and Families: Diversity and Charge is intended as a text that challenges students to become involved in a direct way in examining their personal belief systems as well as societal views of the many forms that marriages and families have taken in the past and are taking in the present. Based on over 40 years of combined teaching experiences, we have found that a course on the sociology of marriages and families almost always invokes concern and interest among students regarding how the general principles and descriptions of marriages and families in a given textbook apply to and are similar to or different from their own personal experiences. Thus, throughout the process of revising this book, we continued to utilize an innovative, sensitive, and inclusive approach to writing about marriages and families. We use a sociological and feminist/womanist perspective, encouraging the application of the sociological imagination to everyday life. In this context, we focus on the link between social structure and our personal experiences of marriages, families, and intimate relationships. That is, we examine how cultural values, historical context, economic and political changes, and structured relationships of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and age interact and affect individuals and groups as they create, sustain, and change their various intimate relationships. There are many benefits to using a sociological approach to study marriages and families. Most importantly, such an approach enables us to understand the constraints and opportunities that affect our lives and those of other people, thereby positioning us to make more discriminating and successful decisions and exercise greater control over our lives.

The positive response of students as well as instructors to the pedagogical strategies included in the first three editions encouraged us to continue them in this edition. It has been gratifying to hear how these strategies have facilitated students' involvement in understanding marriages and families and empowered them to make more informed lifestyle decisions.

Key Terms

The important terms and concepts that help us to understand and analyze marriages and families are boldfaced and defined in the text. The key terms are also listed at the end of each chapter and defined in the glossary at the end of the book as a way of facilitating the study and review process.

Chapter Questions

Throughout this edition, students will find a shaded question mark that asks them to apply the material in the chapter to their own experiences and to critically evaluate aspects of interpersonal relationships.

End-of-Chapter Study Aids

At the end of each chapter, students will find a summary of the chapter's main points, a list of key terms, a set of questions for study and discussion, and suggestions for additional resources. These resources include traditional sociological materials. New to this edition are suggested relevant literary works pertaining to a topic or general theme of the chapter. The use of literature is intended to enrich the study of sociology and provide yet another springboard from which students can develop a more in-depth understanding of various sociological concepts. In addition, we introduce students to a number of Internet sites whereby they can explore and do independent research on marriage and family issues. The chapter summary and key terms are designed to facilitate a quick review of the material in the text. The study questions and suggested readings are to help students stretch their understanding of marriages and families beyond the contents of this textbook. Among some of the questions for study and discussion are some which ask students to use the Internet to access and evaluate information on a variety of topics, for example, demographic patterns, support groups, work and family issues, and wedding rituals and costs. Given the fluidity of many Websites, we have listed only those that have proven to be relatively stable over time, that are well documented, and that are updated as needed.


The appendixes included at the back of the book supplement the text's sociological discussion of key aspects of relationships by providing technical information on sexual dysfunctions and sexually transmitted diseases (Appendix A), human anatomy and reproduction (Appendix B), abortion techniques (Appendix C), and methods of birth control (Appendix D).


Instructors and students who use our textbook have access to a number of materials specially designed to complement the classroom lectures and activities and enhance the students' learning experiences.

For the Instructor

INSTRUCTOR'S RESOURCE MANUAL. This essential instructor's tool includes detailed chapter outlines, learning objectives, teaching suggestions, discussion questions, and class exercises. Also included is a test bank that contains over 1600 questions in multiple-choice, true/false, and essay formats. All multiple-choice and true/false questions are page referenced to the text.

WIN/MAC PRENTICE HALL TEST MANAGER. This computerized software allows instructors to create their own personalized exams, to edit any or all test questions, and to add new questions. Other special features of this program, which is available for Windows and Macintosh, include random generation of an item set, creation of alternate versions of the same test, scrambling question sequence, and test preview before printing.

ABC NEWS/PRENTICE HALL VIDEO LIBRARY FOR MARRIAGES AND THE FAMILY. Selected video segments from award-winning ABC News programs such as Nightline, ABC World News Tonight, and 20/20 accompany topics featured in the text. An Instructor's Guide is also available. Please contact your Prentice Hall representative for more details.

PRENTICE HALL MARRIAGE AND FAMILY POWERPOINT™ TRANSPARENCIES. This set of 200 PowerPoint slides combines graphics and text in a colorful format to help you convey sociological principles in a new and exciting way. For easy download, please visit our Website.

DISTANCE LEARNING SOLUTIONS. Prentice Hall is committed to providing our leading content to the growing number of courses being delivered over the Internet by developing relationships with the leading course management platforms. Please visit our technology solutions Website for more information or contact your local Prentice Hall representative.

For the Student

STUDY GUIDE. Created for the students, this manual offers chapter-by-chapter outlines, learning objectives, and a chapter review that includes key points and self-test questions keyed to the text.

COMPANION WEBSITE™. In tandem with the text, students can now take full advantage of the World Wide Web to enrich their study of material found in the text. This resource correlates the text with related material available on the Internet. Features of the Website include chapter objectives, study questions, Census updates, as well as links to interesting material and information from other sites on the Web that can reinforce and enhance the content of each chapter.

A PRENTICE HALL GUIDE TO EVALUATING ONLINE RESOURCES, SOCIOLOGY, 2003. This guide provides a brief introduction to navigating the Internet, along with references related specifically to the discipline of sociology. Also included with the guide is access to ContentSelect. Developed by Prentice Hall and EBSCO, the world leader in online journal subscription management, ContentSelect is a customized research database for students of sociology. Free to students when packaged with this text.

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