Second Thoughts: Seeing Conventional Wisdom Through the Sociological Eye / Edition 4

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Introducing students to sociology’s core concepts by debunking popular misconceptions

Do birds of a feather flock together or do opposites attract? Does haste make waste or should you strike while the iron is hot? Adages like these-or conventional wisdoms-shape our social life. This Fourth Edition of Second Thoughts reviews several popular beliefs and notes how such adages cannot be taken at face value.

This unique text encourages students to step back and sharpen their analytic focus with 24 essays that use social research to expose the gray areas of commonly held beliefs, revealing the complexity of social reality and sharpening students’ sociological vision.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412956536
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 6/11/2008
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen A. Cerulo (Ph.D. Princeton University) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. Her research interests include symbol systems, identity construction, and media and technology. Professor Cerulo's articles appear in a wide variety of journals, including the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Focus, Communication Research, Science as Culture, and annuals such as the Annual Review of Sociology and Research in Political Sociology. She is also the author of Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation, a work that won the ASA Culture Section's award for the best book of 1996 (The Rose Book Series of the ASA, Rutgers University Press), and Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Order of Right and Wrong (Routledge). Professor Cerulo's teaching experience includes the Rutgers University Award for Distinguished Contribution to Undergrad Education.

Janet M. Ruane (Ph.D. Rutgers University) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Montclair State University. In past years, she served as coordinator of Undergraduate Advising at Montclair. Currently, she is the advisor of the Graduate Program in Applied Sociology. Professor Ruane's research interests include formal and informal social control mechanisms, domestic violence, media and technology, and applied sociology. She has contributed articles to several journals, including Sociological Inquiry, Law and Policy, Communication Research, Sociological Focus, The Journal of Applied Sociology, Science As Culture, Simulation and Games, and The Virginia Review of Sociology. She is currently at work on a book addressing family businesses. Over the years Professor Ruane has gained considerable classroom experience, teaching both introductory and advanced level sociology courses as well as graduate courses in applied sociology.

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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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