Second Thoughts: Seeing Conventional Wisdom Through the Sociological Eye / Edition 2

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A perfect supplement to a traditional text or reader, this paperback creatively demonstrates the centrality of sociological thinking and social research for doubting students. Twenty mini-chapters, along with an introduction and conclusion, examine popular conceptions on important social subjects, accepted by many in society as "conventional wisdom." Each chapter provides a sociological take on these popularly held views.
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Editorial Reviews

Roger McVannan

"The essays in this book motivate students to exercise their critical thinking skills—and that’s much of what education effort is about, isn’t it?"

Roger Mc Vannan
"The essays in this book motivate students to exercise their critical thinking skills—and that’s much of what education effort is about, isn’t it?"
Paul Semm
“A major strength is that the students like the text and they read it. The essays are a really good way of raising questions and simultaneously introducing students to sociological concepts and terms.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761986652
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Series: Sociology for a New Century Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet M. Ruane (Ph D, Rutgers University) is a professor of sociology at Montclair State University. She has served as her department’s undergraduate and graduate program director. Professor Ruane’s research interests include formal and informal social control mechanisms, media and technology, research methods, and applied sociology. She is the author of Essentials of Research Methods (Blackwell) and has contributed articles and chapters to several journals and collections including Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Law and Policy, Communication Research, Sociological Focus, Journal of Applied Sociology, and Science as Culture. Since stepping into her first classroom, Professor Ruane has accumulated decades of valuable teaching experience in both introductory and advanced-level sociology courses. These years have afforded her a wealth of opportunities for generating and fine-tuning many second thoughts.

Karen A. Cerulo (Ph D, Princeton University) is a professor of sociology at Rutgers University. Her research interests include culture and cognition, symbolic communication, media and technology, and comparative historical studies. Professor Cerulo’s articles appear in a wide variety of journals, including the American Sociological Review, Contemporary Sociology, Poetics, Social Forces, Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Communication Research, and annuals such as the Annual Review of Sociology and Research in Political Sociology. She is the author of three books: Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation, winner of the ASA Culture Section’s award for the Best Book of 1996 (Rose Book Series of the ASA, Rutgers University Press); Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Structure of Right and Wrong (Routledge); and Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst (University of Chicago Press). She has also edited a collection entitled Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition (Routledge). Professor Cerulo’s teaching and research earned her both the Rutgers University Awards for “Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education” and the “Scholar-Teacher Award.” In 2014, she was named the Robin Williams Lecturer for the Eastern Sociological Society.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
The Sociological Perspective 3
Methods 11
1 Numbers Don't Lie 13
Culture 21
2 Winning Is Everything 23
3 Children Are Our Most Precious Commodity 29
Social Structure 41
4 Love Knows No Reason 43
5 Stress Is Bad for Your Well-Being 49
6 The "Golden Years" Are Tarnished Years 55
7 Americans Are Becoming More and More Individualistic 69
Socialization and Identity 77
8 What's in a Name? That Which We Call a Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet 79
9 Beauty Is Only Skin Deep 89
Stratification 99
10 The More We Pay, the More It's Worth 101
11 Money Is the Root of All Evil 107
12 You've Come a Long Way, Baby 113
13 America Is the Land of Equal Opportunity 125
Deviance, Crime, and Social Control 137
14 Violence Is on the Rise in the United States - No One Is Safe 139
15 There Ought to Be a Law 149
16 Honesty Is the Best Policy 157
Social Institutions: Marriage And Family 165
17 The Nuclear Family Is the Backbone of American Society 167
18 Marriage Is a Failing Institution 175
Social Institutions: The Economy 185
19 Welfare Is Ruining This Country 187
20 Immigrants Are Ruining This Nation 199
Social Institutions: Media and Technology 209
21 Technology Is Taking Over Our Lives 211
Social Institutions: Education 219
22 Education Is the Great Equalizer 221
Conclusion: Why Do Conventional Wisdoms Persist? 233
References 239
Glossary/Index 289
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