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Life in Society : Readings for Sociology: A down-to-Earth Approach



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This brief and economical reader, edited by Jim Henslin, is specifically designed to be used as a companion to his Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approachtexts.

Author Biography

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.”

Table of Contents

*new to this edition

Part I  The Sociological Perspective

1 The Sociological Perspective

Invitation to Sociology, by Peter L. Berger


2 Culture

The Fierce People, by Napoleon Chagnon


3 Socialization

Anybody's Son Will Do, by Gwynne Dyer


4 Social Structure and Social Interaction

Hooking Up on the Internet, by Helene M. Lawson and Kira Leck*


5 How Sociologists do Research

Inside Organized Racism, by Kathleen M. Blee

Part II  Social Groups and Social Control

6 Societies to Social Networks

Working in a Chicken Factory, by Steve Striffler*


7 Bureaucracies and Formal Organizations

Handling the Stigma of Handling the Dead, by William Thompson


8 Deviance and Social Control

Becoming a Hit Man, by Ken Levi*

Part III  Social Inequality

9 Global Stratification

Job on the Line, by William M. Adler


10 Social Class in the United States

The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All, by Herbert J. Gans


11 Inequalities of Gender

Because She Looks Like a Child, by Kevin Bales*


12 Inequalities of Race-Ethnicity

My Secret Life as a Black Man, by Anthony Walton*


13 Inequalities of Age

But This Is My Mother!" Elders in Nursing Homes, by Cynthia Loucks

Part IV Social Institutions

14 The Economy

McDonald's in Hong Kong, by James L. Watson*


15 Politics

The Power Elite, by C Wright Mills


16 Marriage and Family

Family in Transition, by Arlene S. Skolnick and Jerome H. Skolnick*


17 Education

College Athletes and Role Conflict, by Peter Adler and Patricia A. Adler


18 Religion

India's Sacred Cow, by Marvin Harris


19 Medicine

Just Another Routine Emergency, by Daniel F. Chambliss

Part V Social Change

20 Population and Urbanization

Border Blues: The Dilemma ofIllegal Immigration, by Farai Chideya


21 Collective Behavior and Social Movements

The Animal Rights Crusade, by James M. Jasper and Dorothy Nelkin


22 Social Change and the Environment

Caught Between the Ages, by William van Dusen Wishard

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