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Social Problems: Sociology in Action

Social Problems: Sociology in Action

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The authors are proud sponsors of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Wake up your social problems classes! Social Problems: Sociology in Action helps your students learn sociology by doing sociology. 

Social Problems: Sociology in Action will inspire your students to do sociology through real-world activities designed to increase learning, retention, and engagement with course material. Inspired by the best-selling introductory sociology text, Sociology in Action, this innovative new book immerses students in an active learning experience that emphasizes hands-on work, application, and learning by example as they grapple with the causes and consequences of social problems as well as possible solutions. Each chapter explains key concepts and theories in social problems and pairs that foundational coverage with a series of carefully developed learning activities and thought-provoking questions. The comprehensive Activity Guide that accompanies the text provides everything you need to assign, carry out, and assess the activities that will best engage your students, fit the format of your course, and meet your course goals.

This title is accompanied by a complete teaching and learning package. Contact your SAGE representative to request a demo.
  • Digital Option / Courseware
    SAGE Vantage is an intuitive digital platform that delivers this text’s content and course materials in a learning experience that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools, all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Built with you and your students in mind, it offers simple course set-up and enables students to better prepare for class. Learn more.
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      Assignable video (available with SAGE Vantage) is tied to learning objectives and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life. Watch a sample video now.
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781544358611
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 12/04/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
File size: 120 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Maxine P. Atkinson is Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University, a research  extensive university in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Her area of specialty is the scholarship of teaching and learning and her published work has appeared in such journals as Teaching Sociology, The International Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, and TRAILS: TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology.  She is also one of the  authors of the recent American Sociological Association’s work defining best practices in the undergraduate sociology major,   “The Sociology Major in the Changing Landscape of Higher Education: Curriculum, Careers, and Online Learning” in addition to In the Trenches: Teaching and Learning Sociology, co-authored with Kathleen Lowney. She focuses on teaching introductory sociology courses and “Teaching Sociology,” a PhD course required for graduate students at NC State.

Maxine has won an impressive array of teaching awards including the American Sociological Society’s Distinguished Contribution to Teaching Award, ASA’s Section on Teaching and Learning Hans O. Mauksch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Sociology and the Carla B. Howery Award for Developing Teacher-Scholars, the Southern Sociological Society’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. Maxine was the first woman from NC State University to win the University of North Carolina’s Governor’s award for Excellence in Teaching.

Maxine has served in several administrative positions including being Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at NC State, director of NC States’ first year seminar program, and the Founding Director of the Service Learning Program at NC State. She has also served as Chair of ASA’s Section on Teaching and Learning, and President of the Southern Sociological Society along with a plethora of task forces dedicated to undergraduate sociology. Maxine works as a consultant for other sociology departments as a member of the American Sociological Association’s Departmental Resources Group. 

Kathleen Odell Korgen is Professor of Sociology at William Paterson University, a comprehensive university in Wayne, New Jersey. Kathleen enjoys teaching her students that sociology is a remarkably useful discipline and highlights how “Sociologists in Action” make a positive impact on society. Her published works on race relations and racial identity include From Black to Biracial, Crossing the Racial Divide, Multiracial Americans and Social Class, Race Policy and Multiracial Americans. Her teaching texts, in addition to Sociology in Action, include Our Social World,  The Engaged SociologistSociologists in Action, , and Social Problems in Action. Kathleen is also the editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Sociology.


Kathleen works as a consultant for other sociology departments as a member of the American Sociological Association Departmental Resources Group and received William Paterson University’s award for Excellence in Scholarship/Creative Expression in 2006 and the university’s award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014.

Mary Nell Trautner is Associate Professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She earned her PhD and MA from the University of Arizona and her BA from Southwestern University. She is an award-winning teacher of courses in sociology of gender, criminology, sociology of law, and social problems. Mary Nell is an author of a forthcoming active learning textbook on social problems, and has published a variety of articles on topics ranging from physical appearance bias and images of women in popular media to day labor workers’ legal knowledge and environmental pollution. She is active in the American Sociological Association and Law & Society Association. In her free time, she enjoys travel and scuba diving.

Table of Contents

Learning Activities
About the Authors
About the Contributors
Unit I: Inequalities as Social Problems
Chapter 1: Understanding and Solving Social Problems - Kathleen Odell Korgen
What is a Social Problem?
Sociology and the Study of Social Problems
Why are some, But Not Other, Social Conditions Considered Social Problems?
How Can Professional Sociologists—and You—Help Solve Social Problems?
How to Conduct Social Scientific Research
Chapter 2: Analyzing Economic Inequalities - Dawn R. Norris
Economic Inequality and Social Problems
Explaining Economic Inequality
Wealth and Income Gaps: How Much Inequality Exists?
The Question of Mobility
Social Problems That Cause Economic Inequality
Social Problems Caused by Economic Inequality
Solving the Social Problem of Economic Inequality: Policies, Movements, and Action
Chapter 3: Recognizing Racism and Racial Inequalities - Meghan Burke
What is Race?
What is Racism?
Why Does Racial Inequality Exist?
Why Do Racial Inequality and Racism Persist?
What Social Problems Relate to Racism and Racial Inequalities?
How Can We Challenge and Address Racism and Racial Inequality?
Chapter 4: Examining Gender Inequalities - Kris Macomber
How Does a Social Constructionist Approach Examine Gender Inequality?
The Roots of Contemporary Gender Inequality: Identifying Patriarchal Culture
Contemporary Gender Inequality in the Workplace
Men’s Violence Against Women
How does Gender Inequality Affect Boys and Men?
Other Gendered Social Problems
Gender-Based Movements and Social Change
Chapter 5: Focusing on Sex and Sexualities - Jason Crockett
Sex and Sexualities
Social Responses to Sex and Sexualities
Enforcing Sexual Norms at the Micro Level
Why Attitudes Toward Sex and Sexualities Change
Unit II: Global Population Problems
Chapter 6: Preparing for Aging Societies - Deborah Lowry
What is Population Aging?
What Social Problems Accompany Aging Societies?
What are Governments Doing to Prepare for Aging Populations?
What Can Local Communities Do to Improve Conditions of Aging?
Chapter 7: Making Sense of Migration and Immigration - Daniel Herda
What Is Migration?
The Social Construction of Immigrants as a Problem
Social Problems Causing Migration
Social Problems Affecting Immigrants
Social Problems Caused by Immigration
Chapter 8: Researching Environmental Problems - Lillian MacNell
The Link between Environmental and Social Problems
The Environmental Costs of Powering Our Lives
Recognizing and Curbing Climate Change
Food and Agriculture
Confronting Environmental Injustice
Chapter 9: Contesting Crime - Bridget Diamond-Welch
The Social Construction of Crime
Mistakes in Claim Construction
Class, Race, Gender, and Critical Criminology
Social Problems that Cause Crime
Chapter 10: Understanding War and Terrorism - Amy Sodaro
Understanding War as a Social Problem
Seeing War as a Social Problem
War’s Impact on Society
Understanding Terrorism as a Social Problem
Consequences of Terrorism
Confronting War and Terrorism
Unit III: Institutional Problems
Chapter 11: Identifying Problems in the Criminal Justice System - Rena C. Zito
The U.S. Criminal Justice System
Courts and Corrections
Criminal Records
Chapter 12: Discovering Problems in the Family - Rena C. Zito
What is a Family?
Social Construction of Families as Problems
Family problems as Social Problems
Social Problems Affecting Families
Chapter 13: Pursuing Equity in Education - Erinn Brooks
Education and Schooling
The Purpose of Education
Social Problems in Education and Schools
Reforms that Can Improve Education Systems
Chapter 14: Prioritizing Health and Health Care Inequalities - Gregory T. Kordsmeier
Understanding Health and Health-Related Social Problems
How Social Problems Affect Health
Social Problems and Inequalities in the Health Care System
Facing Health Challenges Collectively
Chapter 15: Realizing the Power—and Vulnerability—of Institutions - Kathleen Odell Korgen and Maxine P. Atkinson
Why Does a Society Need Social Institutions?
Why Do Institutions Fail?
Declining Faith in Institutions in the United States
How Can Social Problems Weaken Institutions?
How Can We Save Our Social Institutions?
Appendix: Addressing Social Problems through Service-learning - Glenn A. Bowen
Fundamentals of Service-learning
Assessment of Service-learning
Tips for Faculty Considering Service-learning
Service-learning in a Social Problems Course

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