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Making a Difference

Using Sociology to Create a Better World

Michael Schwalbe

Publication Date - 22 February 2019

ISBN: 9780190927202

144 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

A practical, engaging guide that shows students how they can use sociology to make a difference


Making a Difference begins with the question that many sociology students often ask: Sociology tells us what's wrong with society, but what does sociology say we should do about it? Michael Schwalbe answers this question by drawing on sociology's methods, findings, and distinct ways of looking at social life. Schwalbe shows readers how social change can be accomplished by taking a sociologically mindful approach to a range of ordinary actions, such as listening, researching, writing, organizing, empathizing, advocating, conserving, teaching, dissenting, and imagining. Readers who have ever wondered how to use sociology to make the world a better place will find concrete answers and advice in Making a Difference.

About the Author(s)

Michael Schwalbe is Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University. He is the author of several books, including The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of the Conversation, Fifth Edition (OUP, 2017), and Rigging the Game: How Inequality Is Reproduced in Everyday Life, Second Edition (OUP, 2008).


"Implicit in the practice of sociology is a future world with less violence, greater equality, more justice, and reduced suffering. But this vision is rarely articulated by professional sociologists, and unfortunately for the student, it is a promise that is often concealed behind abstract theories, formal research methodologies, and discouraging descriptions of social problems. In Making a Difference, Michael Schwalbe cuts through the disciplinary jargon, exposes the potential of an everyday sociology, and charts an enlightened and well-defined path toward a better world. This is the book that the sociology classroom has needed for a long time."--Peter Callero, Western Oregon University

"Making a Difference is empowering and supportive. Too often, students in sociology classes are taught everything that is wrong with our society without being given tools to engage in positive change. This book puts hope back into the equation."--Justin A. Martin, University of Tennessee at Martin

"Making a Difference stands out in that it is focused on putting sociology to use. It takes a straightforward, action-oriented approach that students will find accessible and relatable."--Austin H. Johnson, Kenyon College

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Introduction: Sociology and Social Change
    Chapter 2. Listening
    Chapter 3. Researching
    Chapter 4. Writing
    Chapter 5. Organizing
    Chapter 6. Empathizing
    Chapter 7. Advocating
    Chapter 8. Conserving
    Chapter 9. Teaching
    Chapter 10. Dissenting
    Chapter 11. Imagining
    Chapter 12. A Sociologically Mindful Path to Social Change

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