Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach Plus NEW MySocLab with eText / Edition 11

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A Down-to-Earth Approach

James Henslin shares the excitement of sociology, with his acclaimed "down-to-earth" approach and personal writing style that highlight the sociology of everyday life and its relevance to students' lives. With wit, personal reflection, and illuminating examples, he shares with readers his passion for sociology.

In addition to this trademark down-to-earth approach, other distinctive features include: comparative perspectives, the globalization of capitalism, and visual presentations of sociology.

Teaching & Learning Experience

  • Personalize Learning — The new MySocLab delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals.
  • Improve Critical Thinking - Learning Objectives & Questions on each page reinforce key concepts and build critical thinking skills.
  • Engage Students - Personal narrative from the perspective of an international field researcher invites students on a sociological journey.
  • Explore Theory - Offers a balanced approach; relevant theories are discussed in each chapter.
  • Understand Diversity - Global, national, and personal material combine to present a complete view of the world.
  • Support Instructors - Written activities and assessment in MySocLab engage students and help them succeed.

Note: MySocLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySocLab, please visit: or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MySocLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205252281 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205252282

Package includes:

0205096549 / 9780205096541 Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach
0205206530 / 9780205206537 NEW MySocLab with Pearson eText -- Valuepack Access Card
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The text is timely and Dr. Henslin presents theory and relates it to the real world. His social consciousness is a plus for my young students, as it helps them answer the question ‘why does this matter to me?’”

-Bill Galic, Kenai Peninsula College (University. of Alaska-Anchorage)

“The Henslin text is perfect for an introductory course!”

-Bernard Fitzpatrick, Western Connecticut State University

“I like how the book is organized and how it utilizes a straightforward approach.”

-Dana Mayhew, Bristol Community College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205252282
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 10/19/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 11
  • Pages: 768
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. Henslin, who was born in Minnesota, graduated from high school and junior college in California and from college in Indiana. Awarded scholarships, he earned his Master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After this, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health, and spent a year studying how people adjust to the suicide of a family member. His primary interests in sociology are the sociology of everyday life, deviance, and international relations. Among his numerous books is Down-to-Earth Sociology : Introductory Readings (Free Press), now in its twelfth edition. This book of readings reflects some of these sociological interests. He has also published widely in sociology journals, including Social Problems and American Journal of Sociology,

While a graduate student, Jim Henslin taught at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. After completing his doctorate, he joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. He says, “I’ve always found the introductory course enjoyable to teach. I love to see students’ faces light up when they first glimpse the sociological perspective and begin to see how society has become an essential part of how they view the world.”

Henslin enjoys reading and fishing. His two favorite activities are writing and traveling. He especially enjoys visiting and living in other cultures, for this brings him face to face with behaviors and ways of thinking that he cannot take for granted, experiences that “make sociological principles come alive.”

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Table of Contents





Part 1 The Sociological Perspective

Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective

Chapter 2 Culture

Chapter 3 Socialization

Chapter 4 Social Structure and Social Interaction

Chapter 5 How Sociologists Do Research

Part II Social Groups and Social Control

Chapter 6 Societies to Social Networks

Chapter 7 Bureaucracy and Formal Organizations

Chapter 8 Deviance and Social Control

Part III Social Inequality

Chapter 9 Global Stratification

Chapter 10 Social Class in the United States

Chapter 11 Sex and Gender

Chapter 12 Race and Ethnicity

Chapter 13 The Elderly

Part IV Social Institutions

Chapter 14 The Economy

Chapter 15 Politics

Chapter 16 Marriage and Family

Chapter 17 Education

Chapter 18 Religion

Chapter 19 Medicine and Health

Part V Social Change

Chapter 20 Population and Urbanization

Chapter 21 Collective Behavior and Social Movements

Chapter 22 Social Change and the Environment


Part 1 The Sociological Perspective

Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective

The Sociological Perspective

Sociology and the Other Sciences

Origins of Sociology

Values in Sociological Research

Verstehen and Social Facts

Sociology in North America

Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology

Trends Shaping the Future of Sociology

Summary and Review

Chapter 2: Culture

What Is Culture?

Components of Symbolic Culture

Many Cultural Worlds

Values in U.S. Society

Cultural Universals

Technology in the Global Village

Summary and Review

Through the Author’s Lens: Looking at Subcultures

Chapter 3: Socialization

Society Makes Us Human

Socialization into the Self and Mind

Learning Personality, Morality, and Emotions

Socialization into Gender

Agents of Socialization


Socialization Through the Life Course

Are We Prisoners of Socialization?

Summary and Review

Chapter 4: Social Structure and Social Interaction

Levels of Sociological Analysis

The Macrosociological Perspective: Social Structure

Social Institutions

The Microsociological Perspective: Social Interaction in Everyday Life

The Need for Both Macrosociology and Microsociology

Summary and Review

Through the Author's Lens: Vienna

Through the Author's Lens: When a Tornado Strikes

Chapter 5: How Sociologists Do Research

What Is a Valid Sociological Topic?

Common Sense and the Need for Sociological Research

A Research Model

Research Methods

Gender in Sociological Research

Ethics in Sociological Research

How Research and Theory Work Together

Summary and Review

Part II Social Groups and Social Control

Chapter 6: Societies to Social Networks

Societies and Their Transformation

Groups Within Society

Group Dynamics

Summary and Review

Chapter 7: Bureaucracy and Formal Organizations

The Rationalization of Society

Formal Organizations and Bureaucracies

Voluntary Associations

Working for the Corporation

Humanizing the Corporate Culture

Global Competition in an Age of Uncertainty

Summary and Review

Chapter 8: Deviance and Social Control

What Is Deviance?

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

The Functionalist Perspective

The Conflict Perspective

Reactions to Deviance

Summary and Review

Part III Social Inequality

Chapter 9: Global Stratification

Systems of Social Stratification

What Determines Social Class?

Why Is Social Stratification Universal?

How Do Elites Maintain Stratification?

Comparative Social Stratification

Global Stratification: Three Worlds

How Did the World's Nations Become Stratified?

Maintaining Global Stratification

Strains in the Global System

Summary and Review

Through the Authors Lens: The Dump People:

Chapter 10: Social Class in the United States

What Is Social Class?

Sociological Models of Social Class

Consequences of Social Class

Social Mobility


Summary and Review

Chapter 11: Sex and Gender

Issues of Sex and Gender

Gender Inequality in Global Perspective

Gender Inequality in the United States

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Gender and Violence

The Changing Face of Politics

Glimpsing the Future—With Hope

Summary and Review

Through the Author's Lens: Work and Gender: Women at Work in India

Chapter12: Race and Ethnicity

Laying the Sociological Foundation

Prejudice and Discrimination

Theories of Prejudice

Global Patterns of Intergroup Relations

Racial-Ethnic Relations in the United States

Looking Toward the Future

Summary and Review

Chapter 13: The Elderly

Aging in Global Perspective

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

The Functionalist Perspective

The Conflict Perspective

Recurring Problems

The Sociology of Death and Dying

Looking Toward the Future

Summary and Review

Part IV Social Institutions

Chapter 14: The Economy

The Transformation of Economic Systems

The Transformation of the Medium of Exchange

World Economic Systems

The Functionalist Perspective on the Globalization of Capitalism

The Conflict Perspective on the Globalization of Capitalism

Work in U.S. Society

Global Capitalism and Our Future

Summary and Review

Through the Author's Lens: Small Town USA

Chapter 15: Politics

Micropolitics and Macropolitics

Power, Authority, and Violence

Types of Government

The U.S. Political System

Who Rules the United States?

War and Terrorism: Implementing Political Objectives

A New World Order?

Summary and Review

Chapter 16: Marriage and Family

Marriage and Family in Global Perspective

Marriage and Family in Theoretical Perspective

The Family Life Cycle

Diversity in U.S. Families

Trends in U.S. Families

Divorce and Remarriage

Two Sides of Family Life

The Future of Marriage and Family

Summary and Review

Chapter 17: Education

The Development of Modern Education

Education in Global Perspective

The Functionalist Perspective: Providing Social Benefits

The Conflict Perspective: Perpetuating Social Inequality

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective: Teacher Expectations

Problems in U.S. Education—and Their Solutions

Technology and Education

Summary and Review

Chapter 18: Religion

What Is Religion?

The Functionalist Perspective

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

The Conflict Perspective

Religion and the Spirit of Capitalism

The World's Major Religions

Types of Religious Groups

Religion in the United States

The Future of Religion

Summary and Review

Through the Author's Lens: Holy Week in Spain

Chapter 19: Medicine and Health

Sociology and the Study of Medicine and Health

The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

The Functionalist Perspective

The Conflict Perspective

Historical Patterns of Health

Issues in Health Care

Threats to Health

Treatment or Prevention?

The Future of Medicine

Summary and Review

Part V Social Change

Chapter 20: Population and Urbanization

Population in Global Perspective

A Planet with No Space for Enjoying Life?

Population Growth


The Development of Cities

Models of Urban Growth

City Life

Urban Problems and Social Policy

Summary and Review

Through the Author's Lens: A Walk Through El Tiro in Medellin, Columbia

Chapter 21: Collective Behavior and Social Movements

Collective Behavior

Early Explanations: The Transformation of the Individual

The Contemporary View: The Rationality of the Crowd

Forms of Collective Behavior

Social Movements

Types and Tactics of Social Movements

Why People Join Social Movements

On the Success and Failure of Social Movements

Summary and Review

Chapter 22: Social Change and the Environment

How Social Change Transforms Social Life

Theories and Processes of Social Change

How Technology Changes Society

The Growth Machine Versus the Earth

Summary and Review

Epilogue: Why Major in Sociology?



Name Index

Subject Index

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