The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-06-11
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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The Practical Skeptic, a concise introduction to sociology, focuses on core concepts as the central building blocks for understanding sociology.

Lisa McIntyre's straightforward, lively, even humorous style and her emphasis on critical thinking make this an engaging and user friendly text for students of all levels. Through this conversational narrative, students are able to grasp key sociological concepts and learn the essential lesson that there is much that goes on in the social world that escapes the sociologically untrained eye.

Table of Contents

So, What is Sociology?
The Value of Sociology to Students
Tips for Studying Sociology-And An Invitation
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: Emile Durkheim
Excerpt: Emile Durkheim, from Suicide (1897) and The Rules of the Sociological Method (1904)
The Origins of Modern Sociology in Germany: Ferdinand Tonnies and Max Weber
Excerpt: Ferdinand Tonnies, 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
The Sociological Eye
The Focus on the Social
Box: Nail down that distinction between manifest and latent functions
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
Who's Afraid of Sociology?
The Empirical World and Inconvenient Facts
Avoiding Ethnocentrism Can Be Difficult
Cultural Relativism
The Vocabulary of Science
Kinds of Variables: Independent Versus Dependent
Kinds of Relationships: Directionality
Operational Definitions
Tables and Figures
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
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)
Social Structure
Box: Tricky tricky situations
Master Status
Society and Social Institutions
Societal Needs
The Nature of Social Institutions
Box: Polygamy and monogamy
Social Change: The Trend Toward Increasing Specialization
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
Deviance and Social Control
The Relativity of Deviance (What We Already Know)
Nonsociological Theories of Deviance
Sociological Theories of Deviance: Emile 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
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
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
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?
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Excellent textbook July 5, 2011
The Practical Skeptic, a concise introduction to sociology, focuses on core concepts as the central building blocks for understanding sociology. This textbook is easy to read and explains terminology well. The concepts are illustrated clearly and with humor, and interesting case examples and excerpts are provided with each section. The combined glossary and index came as a surprise to me but has proven useful. Great textbook for students to learn about and understand sociology.
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The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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