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The Practical Skeptic


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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction / So, What is Sociology? / The Value of Sociology to Students / Tips for Studying Sociology-And An InvitationPART I. GETTING STARTED IN SOCIOLOGY1. 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:Aemile Durkheim / EXCERPT: AeMILE 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 TA-NNIES, from Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (1887) / Karl Marx (1818-1883) / The Origins of Modern Sociology in England: Herbert Spencer / Sociology in the United States / The Place of Sociology in Modern Society2. The Sociological Eye / The Focus on the Social / Skepticism3. Science and Fuzzy Objects: Specialization in Sociology / Dividing Up the Task / Topic Area or Subject Matter / Theoretical Perspectives (Paradigms): Functionalism, Conflict, and Symbolic Interactionism / Which Paradigm Is Correct? / Levels of Analysis: Microsociology and Macrosociology4. Who's Afraid of Sociology? / The Empirical World and Inconvenient Facts / Ethnocentrism / Avoiding Ethnocentrism Can Be Difficult / Cultural RelativismPART II. TOOLS OF SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH5. The Vocabulary of Science / Variables / Hypotheses / Kinds of Variables: Independent Versus Dependent / Kinds of Relationships: Directionality / Operational Definitions / Tables and Figures6. Doing Social Research / Two Traditions: Quantitative and Qualitative Research / First Things First: The "Lit Review" / The Survey / The Experiment / Observation / Unobtrusive (Nonreactive) Research / The Importance of Triangulation / SamplingPART III. THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT7. Culture / Material and Nonmaterial Culture / Values / How It Adds Up / Culture as a Product of Action / Culture as a Conditioning Element of Further Action / Social Institutions / Social Change: Cultural Diffusion and Leveling / EXCERPT: MARGARET VISSER, from Much Depends upon Dinner (1986) / Subcultures and Countercultures8. Social Structure / Statuses / Roles / Master Status / Groups9. Society and Social Institutions / Societal Needs / The Nature of Social Institutions / Institutions are Generally Unplanned, They Develop Gradually / How Institutions Begin: A Hypothetical Example / Institutions are Inherently Conservative. They Change, But Slowly A Particular Society's Institutions are Interdependent. Because of This, Change in One Institution Tends to Bring About Change in Others / The Statuses, Roles, Norms, and Values Associated with an Institution in One Society Frequently Bear Little Resemblance to Those in Another Society's Institution / Social Change: The Trend Toward Increasing SpecializationPART IV. PEOPLE IN SOCIETY10. Socialization / Nature and Nurture: Biological and Social Processes / How Socialization Works / EXCERPT: GEORGE HERBERT MEAD, from Play and Games in the Genesis of Self (1934) / Resocialization and Total Institutions11. Deviance and Social Control / The Relativity of Deviance (What We Already Know) / Nonsociological Theories of Deviance / Sociological Theories of Deviance: Aemile 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 ChangePART V. INEQUALITY12. Stratification and Inequality / Caste Systems / Estate Systems / EXCERPT: A Year in the Life of a Peasant / Class Systems / Theoretical Conceptions of Class / Some Words About Slavery / Social Mobility and Open Versus Closed Systems13. Inequality and Achievement: Social Class / Explaining Social Stratification / The Pygmalion Effect: The Power of Expectations / The Fallacy of Hard Work / Social Mobility, Social Structure, and Social Change14. Inequality and Ascription: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender / Why a Dollar Is Not Always a Dollar / Prejudice / Discrimination / Discrimination and "Isms" / The Social Construction of Minority Groups / GenderReferencesGlossary/Index* Each chapter ends with End of Chapter Review and Stop and Review: Answers and Discussion

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