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The Sociologically Examined Life Pieces of the Conversation

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-02-16
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Now published by Oxford University Press, the fifth edition of The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of the Conversation teaches students how to think sociologically. Michael Schwalbe's conversational writing encourages discussion and pushes students to critically examine how social life leads them to think, feel, and behave in the ways they do. The Sociologically Examined Life encourages students to apply sociological thinking to both social structures and their everyday lives. It also guides students in reflecting on their potential power to change the social world.

Author Biography

Michael Schwalbe is Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University. He is the author of several books, including Rigging the Game: How Inequality Is Reproduced in Everyday Life, Second Edition (OUP, 2015) and Manhood Acts: Gender and the Practices of Domination (2014).

Table of Contents


1. Making Sense of the World Differently
Sociological Mindfulness
A Justification for Sociological Mindfulness
The Rarity of Sociological Mindfulness
A Continuing Conversation
Dialogue: Labels and Roots
A Note on Bias
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

2. Inventing the Social World
What the Social World Is Made Of
Habits and Invisible Ideas
Confronting the Social World as Ready-Made
Making People Disappear
Inventing Categories and Inventing People
Inventing the Truth
How to See the Social World Being Made
Remaking the Social World
Dialogue: Overcoming the One-Dimensional View
A Note on Common Sense
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

3. Seeing Connections
Awareness of Unintended Consequences
Analyzing Moral Problems
Reading Indexes
Nonobvious Indexes
Social Organization as an Index
Connections to the Past
Deepening the Present
Dialogue: Little Things and Big Things
A Note on the Future
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

4. Relationships, Groups, and Interdependence
Beyond Individualism
Mindfulness of Interdependence
Perspectives and Groups
Understanding Ourselves by Understanding Others
"Personal Choices"
Violent Sports
Having Babies
A Scientist's Dilemma
Reexamining Our Choices
Dialogue: Emotional Investments and Opinions
A Note on Blind Spots
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

5. Becoming Human
Gathering Meanings
Taking on Identities
Regulating Ourselves
Silent Knowledge
Keeping Things on Track
Feeling for and with Others
The Risk of Cutting Ourselves Off from Others
Mindful Resistance
Dialogue: Brains and Minds in the Social World
A Note on Emotion
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

6. Behavior as a Product of Interaction
Cultural Context
Interactional Surprises
Minding and Un-minding the Self
Defining the Situation
Seeing the Bigger Picture
Historical Context
Ordinary Insanity
An Antidote to Ordinary Insanity
Dialogue: Preconditions for Ordinary Insanity?
A Note on Deviance
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

7. Seeing Patterns
Patterns Within Patterns
Patterns of Difference
Interpreting Group Differences
Trends and Tendencies
Things That Go Together
Relationships Among Variables
Patterns and Individual Lives
Dialogue: The Language of Social Structure
A Note on Theory
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

8. Contingency and Cause
Stability and Change
Reasons, Conditions, and the Possibility of Choice
Enabling Conditions
Reason and Choice
Rules as Constructed Causes
A Life-and-Death Game
Avoiding Reductionism
Chance, Pattern, and Paths
Dialogue: Freedom, Constraint, and Unforeseen Contingencies
A Note on Luck
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

9. Images, Representations, and Accounts
Resources for Creating Images
The Necessity and Danger of Representations
Misrepresentation by Stereotype and Habit
Giving and Receiving Accounts
Behind and Underneath Accounts
Tools for Making Reality
Significant Absences
Organized Exclusion and Invention
Challenging Representations
Dialogue: Seeking Alternative Representations
A Note on Passive Voice
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

10. Understanding Power in Social Life
Ideas and Illusions
Instilling Needs
Impeding Critical Thought
Controlling Information
People-Filtering and Self-Censorship
Information as a Resource for Power and Resistance
Making Rules and Agendas
Autonomy and Freedom
Dialogue: Power and Legitimacy
A Note on Nonviolence
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

11. Differences and Inequalities
Forms of Inequality
Invisible Resources
Visible Origins of Invisible Resources
Reconditioning Ourselves
False Parallels
Taking History and Context into Account
False Gender Parallels
Patterns in True Parallels
Self-Justification and a Test for Justice
Dialogue: Inconvenience and Oppression
A Note on Common Wealth
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

12. Seeing the Social in the Natural
Unnatural Disasters
Unintended Environmental Consequences
The Body as a Social Product
Social Realities and Natural Illusions
Seeing the Natural in the Social
Dialogue: The Limits of Technology
A Note on Ignorance
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

13. Unpacking Process
Opening a Bigger Box
Seeing Processes as Generic
Processes and Conditions
Multiple Processes at Once
Dialogue: Achieving Analytic Distance
A Note on Life Stage and Generational Differences
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings

14. Studying and Changing the Social World
Advantages of Systematic Research
The Kinds of Questions We Can Ask
Interpreting the Answers to Empirical Questions
Resolving Disagreement
Mindful Skepticism
Partial Truth and Inevitable Uncertainty
Perpetual Inquiry and Conversation
Changing One's Self and the World
Dialogue: Knowledge and Action
A Note on Teaching Others
Paths for Reflection
Related Readings


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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