The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology / Edition 5

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Overview

The Practical Skeptic, a concise introduction to sociology, focuses on core concepts as the central building blocks for understanding sociology. Lisa McIntyre's straightforward, lively style and her emphasis on critical thinking make this an engaging and user-friendly text for students of all levels. Through this conversational narrative, students are able to grasp key sociological concepts and learn the essential lesson that there is much that goes on in the social world that escapes the sociologically untrained eye.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780073404400
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Publication date: 6/11/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 401,982
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa J. McIntyre is associate professor in sociology at Washington State University. She received the PhD in sociology from The University of Chicago. She is the author of three books including The Public Defender: The Practice of Law in the Shadows of Repute; Law in the Sociological Enterprise and The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology and the editor of The Practical Skeptic: Readings in Sociology. With Marvin Sussman, McIntyre edited Families and Law. An enthusiastic teacher and popular lecturer, McIntyre is a winner of Washington State University’s William F. Mullen Teaching Medal and numerous departmental teaching awards. Her central research focus is on how law and social behavior interact.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction


So, What is Sociology?


The Value of Sociology to Students


Tips for Studying Sociology-And An Invitation



Chapter 1: Responding to Chaos: A Brief History of Sociology


Inquiries into the Physical World


Technology, Urbanization, and Social Upheaval


The Origins of Modern Sociology in France: Emile Durkheim


Excerpt: Emile Durkheim, from Suicide (1897) and The Rules of the Sociological Method (1904)


The Origins of Modern Sociology in Germany: Ferdinand Tonnies and Max Weber


Excerpt: Ferdinand Tonnies, from Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (1887)


Karl Marx


The Origins of Modern Sociology in England: Herbert Spencer


Sociology in the United States


Box: One small step for sociology

The Place of Sociology in Modern Society



Chapter 2: The Sociological Eye


The Focus on the Social


Skepticism


Box: Nail down that distinction between manifest and latent functions



Chapter 3: Science and Fuzzy Objects: Specialization in Sociology


Dividing Up the Task


Topic Area or Subject Matter


Theoretical Perspectives (Paradigms): Functionalist, Conflict, and Symbolic Interactionist


Which Paradigm Is Correct?


Levels of Analysis: Microsociology and Macrosociology



Chapter 4: Who's Afraid of Sociology?


The Empirical World and Inconvenient Facts


Ethnocentrism


Avoiding Ethnocentrism Can Be Difficult


Cultural Relativism



Chapter 5: The Vocabulary of Science


Variables


Hypotheses


Kinds of Variables: Independent Versus Dependent


Kinds of Relationships: Directionality


Operational Definitions


Tables and Figures



Chapter 6: Doing Social Research


Two Traditions: Quantitative and Qualitative Research


First Things First: The Lit Review


The Survey


Box: Six guidelines for crafting survey-questions

The Experiment


Box: Five rules of doing true experiments

Observation


Unobtrusive (Nonreactive) Research


The Importance of Triangulation


Sampling


Box: Ethics and social research



Chapter 7: Culture


Material and Nonmaterial Culture


Box: The power of informal sanctions

Box: What do Americans value?

Box: Ideology

Box: Ponder

Box: Statements of Belief

How It Adds Up


Culture as a Product of Action


Culture as a Conditioning Element of Further Action


Box: Varieties of cultural wisdom

Social Institutions


Social Change: Cultural Diffusion and Leveling


Subcultures and Countercultures


Idiocultures

Excerpt: Margaret Visser, from Much Depends upon Dinner (1986)



Chapter 8: Social Structure


Statuses


Roles


Box: Tricky tricky situations

Master Status


Groups



Chapter 9: Society and Social Institutions


Societal Needs


The Nature of Social Institutions


Box: Polygamy and monogamy

Social Change: The Trend Toward Increasing Specialization



Chapter 10: Socialization


Nature and Nurture: Biological and Social Processes


How Socialization Works


Excerpt: George Herbert Mead, From Play and Games in the Genesis of Self (1934)


Box: Rites of passage

Resocialization and Total Institutions


Ponder



Chapter 11: Deviance and Social Control


The Relativity of Deviance (What We Already Know)


Nonsociological Theories of Deviance


Sociological Theories of Deviance: Emile Durkheim and Suicide


More Structural Strain: Robert Merton and Anomie


Learning to Be Deviant: Howard Becker's Study of Marijuana Use


The Societal Reaction Perspective: Labeling Theory


The Functions of Deviance: Maintenance of the Status Quo and Social Change


Box: Ponder



Chapter 12: Stratification and Inequality


Caste Systems


Estate Systems


Box: A year in the life of the peasant

Class Systems


Theoretical Conceptions of Class


Box: Ponder

Some Words About Slavery


Social Mobility and Open Versus Closed Systems



Chapter 13: Inequality and Achievement: Social Class


Box: The Mathew effect

Explaining Social Stratification


Box: Beyond academics

The Pygmalion Effect: The Power of Expectations


The Fallacy of Hard Work


Social Mobility, Social Structure, and Social Change



Chapter 14: Inequality and Ascription: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender


Why a Dollar Is Not Always a Dollar


Prejudice


Discrimination


Discrimination and "Isms"


The Social Construction of Minority Groups


Gender


Box: Sex or gender?



References


Glossary/Index


Credits



Each chapter ends with End of Chapter Review and Stop and Review: Answers and Discussion
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