The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology / Edition 1

The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology / Edition 1

by Lisa J. McIntyre
Pub. Date:
McGraw-Hill Companies, The
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The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology / Edition 1

Lisa McIntyre's straightforward, lively, even humorous style and her emphasis on concepts and critical thinking make the fourth edition of The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology an introductory sociology text at once engaging, readable, and downright fun. The fourth edition remains a concise introductory text that focuses on core concepts as the central building blocks for understanding sociology, and features numerous pedagogical aids to help students grasp key sociological concepts.

An available companion reader, McIntyre's The Practical Skeptic: Readings in Sociology, corresponds to the organization of the text and contains empirical examples of sociological research and contemporary writings on topics of interest to students. Changes and Continuities in the Fourth Edition: Discussion of difficult topics, for example, the nature of the different sociological paradigms, has been augmented to make the subject matter more understandable. The leading Chapter Review question at the end of each chapter has been expanded to include a list of major concepts from the text for students to define; students are also encouraged to create their own examples of the concepts to solidify their understanding of them. An Afterword at the end of the book has been added to reinforce important lessons in the study of sociology: tendency toward skepticism and having a sociological imagination. All material and statistics have been updated for this edition. The text's interactive pedagogy helps students master key concepts and includes Stop and Review sections, Answers and Discussion sections, boxed information, helpful notes in the margins, and a combined Glossary and Index.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767406857
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 09/28/1998
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 313
Product dimensions: 7.31(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.95(d)

Table of Contents



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: Émile Durkheim

EXCERPT: ÉMILE DURKHEIM, from Suicide (1897) and The Rules of the Sociological Method (1904)

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

EXCERPT: FERDINAND TÖNNIES, 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


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


Avoiding Ethnocentrism Can Be Difficult

Cultural Relativism

Chapter 5: The Vocabulary of Science



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


Unobtrusive (Nonreactive) Research

The Importance of Triangulation


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


EXCERPT: MARGARET VISSER, from Much Depends upon Dinner (1986)

Chapter 8: Social Structure



Box: Tricky tricky situations

Master Status


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


Chapter 11: Deviance and Social Control

The Relativity of Deviance (What We Already Know)

Nonsociological Theories of Deviance

Sociological Theories of Deviance: Émile 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



Discrimination and "Isms"

The Social Construction of Minority Groups


Box: Sex or gender?




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

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