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Living Sociologically

Concepts and Connections

Ronald N. Jacobs and Eleanor Townsley

Publication Date - 06 December 2019

ISBN: 9780199325948

592 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Provides students an innovative and class-tested framework to observe, explore, and think critically about their social world


Students are drawn to topics of urgent sociological concern--race, class, gender, family, popular culture, health, and crime--by a need to both understand the forces that shape their world, and their desire to make the world better. It can be challenging, however, for students to link sociological concepts with real-world applications. Living Sociologically: Concepts and Connections helps students make those connections.

Encouraging students to observe, explore, and think critically about the social world, Living Sociologically offers a new, class-tested framework for teaching introduction to sociology. The "paired concepts" approach demonstrates the interdependent ways in which social forces work, and encourages students to engage with complexity and contradiction. It also connects students to a broader set of questions and provides them with critical, analytical tools for their post-college lives.

In addition, each chapter includes an opening vignette, examples of contemporary research, box features that exemplify the five paired concepts, career boxes, methods and interpretation boxes, case studies, review sections, and practical activities.

About the Author(s)

Ronald N. Jacobs (Ph.D, UCLA) is Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany, State University
of New York.

Eleanor Townsley
(Ph.D., UCLA) is the Andrew A. Mellon Professor of Sociology and the Director
of the curriculum to career program, Nexus, at Mount Holyoke College.


"I LOVE Living Sociologically: Concepts and Connections. It is reader-friendly and the engaging writing style draws students in. The paired concepts approach is innovative, and the active learning questions are thoughtful and provocative. I love the pop culture references that relate to students' lives. The examples are not only useful but they prompt thoughtful discussion about controversial subjects, which can foster students' ability to think about issues from more than one perspective." --Andrea Deal, Madisonville Community College

"Living Sociologically is easy to read while still focusing on theory and other aspects that need to be included in an introductory class. The focus on intersectionality is the greatest strength of this book, hands down. I love the paired concepts! Putting them into context is very helpful and I really like how the authors have structured them. The examples are completely up to date and relevant to today's culture."--Jess Klein, Robert Morris University/University of Pittsburgh

"The authors' use of the five paired concepts is what makes Living Sociologically stand out. I like these themes very much and no doubt my students would agree. The categories are not only relevant and informative, but are systematically followed in each chapter. This allows students to develop a sense of understanding and connection between the issues addressed in each chapter. Excellent approach!"--Joachim Kibirige, Missouri Western State University

Table of Contents


    Part I: The Basics

    1. What Is Sociology?
    What Is Sociology?
    The Sociological Imagination
    The Discipline of Sociology
    Sociology and Everyday Knowledge

    Levels of Analysis
    Institutional Perspectives

    Thinking Relationally: The Paired Concepts
    Solidarity and Conflict
    Power and Resistance
    Inequality and Privilege
    Global and Local
    Structure and Contingency
    Why Sociology?
    CAREERS Different Careers of Sociology Majors

    2. American Sociology: Theory and Contexts
    Thinking Like a Sociologist
    Critical Questions and the Sociological Imagination
    Sociology, Theory, and the Social Sciences
    Classical Sociology
    The Industrial Revolution
    Democratic Revolution
    The Creation of Nation-States
    The European Canon
    The Forgotten Canon?
    Sociology in America
    The Chicago School and American Sociology
    Conflict, Consensus, and Symbolic Interaction
    Sociology Theory Today
    Moving Away from Grand Theories
    Theories About Difference
    The Cultural Turn
    Global Context
    Sociology Today
    Thinking Sociologically
    Why Sociology?

    Case Study: W. E. B. Du Bois and the History of American Sociology
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring the Effect of Education on Earnings
    CAREERS The Importance of Theory
    Paired Concepts
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Sociological Theorists in the Real World
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Forgotten Founders in Sociology
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL The Importance of Immigration in American Sociology
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY Inverting and Subverting the Social Script

    3. Doing Sociology: Research Methods and Critical Literacy
    Social Research
    Social Research and Ethics
    Social Research and Sociology in Media, Politics and Everyday Life
    Science and Complex Societies
    The Research Process
    Data and Measurement
    Variables, Data Collection, and Causal Relationships

    Three Common Strategies for Sociological Research
    Talking to People: Survey Analysis, Interviews, and Focus Groups
    Observation: Ethnography and Experiments
    Analysis of Publicly Available Data Sources: Media Reports, Government Documents, Official Statistics, and Big Data
    The Social Nature of Social Research
    The Challenge of Studying People
    Basic, Applied, and Public Sociology

    Case Study: Doing Sociology in Society (Including Society Online)
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Data Sources: Major Surveys Conducted by Sociologists
    CAREERS Careers in Applied Sociology
    Paired Concepts
    POWER AND RESISTANCE: Human Subjects Protection in Social Research
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT Race, Difference, and the Politics of Medical Research
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Studying Doormen in New York
    LOCAL AND GLOBAL Citizen Science: Using Local Data to Understand Global Patterns
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY The Baby Einstein Phenomenon

    Part II: Structure and Control

    4. Culture
    How Do Sociologists Study Culture?
    What Is Culture?
    Culture and Ideal Culture
    Culture and Power
    Cultural Power
    Resisting Cultural Power
    Types of Culture in Today's World
    Global Culture
    Dominant Cultures and Subcultures
    Popular Culture and Commercial Culture in Industrializing Europe and Around the World
    High Culture

    CASE STUDY Protesting the National Anthem
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring Culture Using Big Data
    CAREERS Working in the Creative Industries
    Paired Concepts
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL The History of Manga
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT Music and Social Protest
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Who Goes to the Museum and Opera?

    5. Socialization, Social Interaction, and Group Life
    Socialization and Selfhood
    Nature and Nurture
    The Social Self
    Agents of Socialization
    Adult Socialization
    Interaction and the Social Construction of Reality
    Status and Role
    Performance and the Social Self
    Social Interaction in a Digital Age
    Group Life
    Group Size
    Primary Groups and Secondary Groups
    Reference Groups
    Bureaucracy in Group Life
    Social Networks in Group Life

    Case Study: Caitlyn Jenner and Gender Socialization
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Life-Course Research on Socialization
    CAREERS Getting a Job: The Strength of Weak Ties
    Paired Concepts
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Different Styles of Parenting
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY What is the Meaning of Fair Play? The 2012 Olympic Badminton Controversy
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Challenging Gender Stereotypes with the SlutWalk Campaign
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT The Stanford Prison Experiment
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL Bureaucracy in Singapore

    6. Deviance, Crime, and Punishment
    Why Does Deviance Exist?
    The Social Construction of Deviance
    Categories of Crime
    Policing Crime
    Punishment as a Public Display of Morality
    Punishment and Treatment
    CASE STUDY Why Are Crime Stories So Popular?
    CAREERS Careers in the Criminal Justice Field
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring the Crime Rate
    Paired Concepts
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT The Moral Panic Over School Bullying
    POWER AND RESISTANCE What's Wrong with Graffiti?
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL The Global Drug Trade
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Punishment and Plea Bargaining

    Part III: Difference and Inequality

    7. Inequality, Mobility and Social Change

    What Is Inequality?
    Is Inequality Natural or Social?
    Is Inequality Good or Bad?
    Inequality and Stratification
    Types of Stratification
    Caste Systems
    Class Systems
    Status Systems
    Party Systems: Inequality through Meritocracy
    The Role of Consumption in Reproducing Inequality
    A Portrait of Stratification Today
    Stratification in the US
    Global Stratification

    Social Mobility
    Social Factors Associated with Mobility
    Structural Mobility
    Social Change and the Attempt to Create More Equality
    Social Policy
    Social Conflict
    CASE STUDY The Bachelor: Crystallizing Stratification on TV
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring Status Attainment and Social Mobility
    CAREERS Social Mobility and Career Planning
    Paired Concepts
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Ending Apartheid in South Africa
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Marketing to the Super-Rich
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL Wealthy Chinese Students at Elite US Schools
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY Creating Social Security
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT A Short History of the Worker's Strike in the United States

    8. Race, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism
    The Social Construction of Race
    Race and Biology
    The Changing Understanding of Race Over Time
    Race And Ethnicity

    Racial and Ethnic Groups in the US
    Native Americans
    White Ethnic Groups
    African Americans
    Latinas and Latinos
    Asian Americans
    Race, Privilege, and Inequality
    The Privileges of Being in the Majority Group
    Racial Discrimination and Segregation
    Consequences of Discrimination
    Colorblind Racism
    Racial Conflict
    Multiculturalism and Diversity
    Assimilation and Racial Privilege
    Challenging Assimilation
    Multiculturalism (Movement and Policy)
    Multiracial and Multiethnic Identities
    CASE STUDY Intersecting Identities
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Defining and Measuring Race in Official Government Data
    CAREERS Multiculturalism in the Workplace
    Paired Concepts
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY The Growth and Success of Native American Casinos
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and the Struggle to Define African American Politics
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL Latino Computer Engineers from Columbia and Puerto Rico
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE How Irish Americans Became White
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Black Lives Matter

    9. Gender, Sexuality and the Body
    Sex, Gender, and the Body
    Gender and Performance
    Gender Stereotypes
    Gender and Power
    Masculinity and Femininity
    The Gender Order
    Divisions of Labor
    Workplace Harassment and Sexual Exclusions in Work and Public Spaces
    Challenging Patriarchy and the History of the Women's Movement
    Sexuality and the Body
    Marketing Desire
    Queer Identities Beyond the Closet
    CASE STUDY Gender Intersections at McDonalds
    CAREERS Women, Men and Social Networks in Careers
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Gender Bias in Social Research
    Paired Concepts
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY Classifying Intersexed Babies
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Men in Pink-Collar Work

    Part IV: Institutions and Issues

    10. Marriage, Family and the Law
    Family and Society
    Family, Kinship, and Society
    Marriage and Family as Social Institutions
    Changes in Marriage and Family
    Traditional Families and Nuclear Families
    Single-Parent Families
    Delay and Decline of Marriage
    Boomerang Kids and Sandwich Parents
    Transnational Families
    Challenging Family Forms
    Feminist Challenges to the Family
    Blended Families
    Multiracial Families
    Lesbian and Gay Families

    CASE STUDY Family Names
    CAREERS Marriage and Family Therapists
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION The Debate About Birth-Order Effects
    Paired Concepts
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Legal Biases in Favor of Marriage
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT Disagreements Over Parenting Styles
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY "Bird-Nesting" As A Co-Parenting Strategy After Divorce
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL Korean "Wild Geese" Families
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Loving vs. Virginia

    11. Science, Religion and Knowing
    Religion and Science as Ways of Knowing the World
    Religious Cosmologies
    Scientific Cosmologies
    Religion as a Social Institution
    Elements of Religious Institutions
    The Major Religions And Their Global Impact
    Modern Society and Secularism
    The Secularization Thesis
    The Persistence of Religion
    Religion and Politics
    Science as a Social Institution
    The Sociology of Science
    Science and Technology Studies

    The Crisis of Knowing, and the Importance of Belief
    Epistemological Doubts
    Can Science and Religion Coexist?
    CASE STUDY Debating Evolution In Public Schools
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring Religious Commitment
    CAREERS Women's Careers in STEM
    Paired Concepts
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Galileo, Darwin and the Church
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL Catholicism in Africa
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT Religious Proselytizing
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Science and the Matthew Effect
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY The Invention of Velcro

    12. Health, Illness and Medicine
    Geography, Class, Race, Gender, Age and Other Differences
    An Intersectional Understanding of Health Disparities
    Experiencing Illness Differently
    Being a Patient
    Medical Institutions
    Public Health
    Social Responses to Sickness and Illness
    Access to Health Care
    CASE STUDY: Genetic Testing
    CAREERS Sociology and Medicine
    Paired Concepts
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Stigma and Size
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT Disruptive Behavior in Medical Settings
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL Does Modern Society Make You Sick?
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY Waiting For An Organ Transplant

    13. Politics, Media and Social Movements
    Politics as the Struggle for Influence
    Coercive Power and Persuasive Power
    Hegemony, Critique, and Resistance
    Politics and Democracy
    The Democratic Revolution
    Comparing Systems of Representation
    Public Opinion and Popular Sovereignty
    Representing the People
    Mediated Politics
    Who Speaks For The Public?
    Media and Agenda Setting
    Economic Distortions of the Media Agenda
    Social Movements
    Challenging the Powerful
    Organizing for Change
    Getting Noticed
    Movement Success

    CASE STUDY The Strange History of the US Electoral College
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Does Concentration of Media Ownership Matter?
    CAREERS Sociology and Careers in Politics
    Paired Concepts
    POWER AND RESISTANCE Public Protests in Tahrir Square
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Who Gets Elected To The US Senate?
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT Push Polls and the Politics of Division
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY: Barack Obama and "Joe the Plumber"
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL The Creation of Greenpeace

    14. Economy, Education, Work and Recreation
    What Is Education For?
    Literacy, Socialization, Citizenship, and Job Training
    Social Sorting, Social Reproduction, and Social Mobility
    Childcare and Employment
    Going To School
    Types of Schools
    Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
    Making Friends and Building Networks
    Work and Recreation
    Power, Privilege, and Inequality in the Workplace
    The Sociology of Job Satisfaction
    Historical Changes in the Economy
    The Transition to Capitalism
    Post-Industrialism and the Changing Nature of the Economy
    Economic Crisis and Insecurity in an Age of Globalization
    CASE STUDY. What Kind of Education Do People Need in Today's Economy?
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring Learning Outcomes and Teaching Effectiveness
    CAREERS The Uber-ization of the Economy
    Paired Concepts
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT The Fight Over Campus Speech Codes
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL The Spread of Singapore Math
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs
    POWER AND RESISTANCE The #MeToo Movement
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY How Indoor Cycling Became a Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry

    Part V: Change, Issues, and the Future

    15. Population, Immigration and Urbanization

    Demography and Population Growth
    Trends in Population Growth
    Basic Concepts and Theories of Urbanization
    Historical Patterns and Current Trends in Urbanization
    Living in Cities
    Trends in Immigration
    What Causes Immigration?
    Immigrant Communities
    The Politics of Immigration
    CASE STUDY: Retirement Immigration to Central America
    CAREERS Career Trends in Gerontology
    METHODS AND INTERPRETATION Measuring Immigration Flows
    Paired Concepts
    STRUCTURE AND CONTINGENCY The Growth of Brambleton, Virginia
    INEQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE Why London Real Estate Is So Expensive
    GLOBAL AND LOCAL How the H1-B Visa Program Transformed Tech and Education in the US and India
    SOLIDARITY AND CONFLICT the Jewish-American Diaspora and US Foreign Policy
    POWER AND RESISTANCE A Day Without Immigrants

    16. EPILOGUE Living on the Planet: Environment, Disaster and Risk
    Living in Risk Society
    Learning About The Environment: Culture and Socialization, Science and Religion
    The Unequal Distribution of Environmental Risk
    The Politics and Business of Environmental Destruction and Conservation
    Making Wastefulness Deviant: Moments of Environmental Consciousness
    Sociological Realism: Limits on Environmental Progress


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