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Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to Sociology

Third Edition
Additional resources:

September 2015 | 632 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Join the conversation with one of sociology’s best-known thinkers.  

The Third Edition of Introduction to Sociology, thoroughly revised and updated, continues to show students the relevance of the introductory sociology course to their lives. While providing a rock-solid foundation, Ritzer illuminates traditional sociological concepts and theories, as well as some of the most compelling contemporary social phenomena: globalization, consumer culture, the Internet, and the “McDonaldization” of society. As technology flattens the globe, students are challenged to apply a sociological perspective to their world, and to see how “public” sociologists are engaging with the critical issues of today.  

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award  

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Letter from the Author
About the Author
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Sociology in the Global Age
The Changing Nature of the Social World—and Sociology  
Central Concerns for a Twenty-First-Century Sociology  
Sociology: Continuity and Change  
The Social Construction of Reality  
Sociology’s Purpose: Science or Social Reform?  
Sociology, the Other Social Sciences, and Common Sense  
Chapter 2: Thinking Sociologically
The Giants of Classical Sociological Theory  
Other Important Early Theorists  
Contemporary Sociological Theory  
Chapter 3: Researching the Social World
The Scientific Method  
The Development of Scientific Knowledge  
Sociological Research  
Secondary Data Analysis  
Issues in Social Research  
Chapter 4: Culture
A Definition of Culture  
The Basic Elements of Culture  
Cultural Differences  
Emerging Issues in Culture  
Chapter 5: Socialization and Interaction
The Individual and the Self  
The Individual as Performer  
Micro-Level Social Structures  
Chapter 6: Organizations, Societies, and the Global Domain
Contemporary Organizational Realities  
The Global Domain  
Chapter 7: Deviance and Crime
Theories of Deviance  
Chapter 8: Social Stratification in the United States
Dimensions of Social Stratification  
Economic Inequality  
Social Mobility  
Theories of Social Stratification  
Consumption and Social Stratification  
Chapter 9: Global Stratification
Positions in Global Stratification  
Global Economic Inequalities  
Changing Positions in Global Stratification  
Theories of Global Stratification  
Consumption and Global Stratification  
Chapter 10: Race and Ethnicity
The Concepts of Race and Ethnicity  
Majority–Minority Relations  
Race and Ethnicity in a Global Context  
Chapter 11: Gender and Sexuality
Gender and Sex  
The Sociology of Sexuality  
Sexuality, Gender, and Globalization  
Global Flows Related to Gender  
Chapter 12: Families
Family, Marriage, and Intimate Relationships  
Broad Changes in Marriage and the Family  
Theorizing the Family  
Problems in the Family  
Global Families  
Chapter 13: Education
Thinking about Education  
Education and Consumption  
Inequality in Education  
Chapter 14: Religion
Early Sociologists and Religion  
What Is Religion?  
Components of Religion  
Types of Religious Institutions  
Theorizing Religion  
Religion and Globalization  
Chapter 15: Politics and the Economy
Politics: Democracy or Dictatorship  
Who Rules the United States?  
Global Politics  
The U.S. Economy: From Industrialization to Deindustrialization  
Work, Consumption, and Leisure  
Globalization and the Economy  
Chapter 16: The Body, Medicine, Health, and Health Care
The Body  
The Sociology of Health and Medicine  
Globalization and Health  
Chapter 17: Population, Urbanization, and the Environment
The Environment  
Chapter 18: Social Change, Social Movements, and Collective Action
Social Movements  
Collective Action  
Social Change: Globalization, Consumption, and the Internet  
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George Ritzer's Introduction fo Sociology, 3rd Edition is an outstanding survey textbook covering the essential aspects of the principles of sociology. The book does a magnificent job of covering the theoretical, institutional, and behavioral dimensions of social life, as well as how global and domestic forces are transforming society. Students will find this textbook to be engaging and useful in understanding key aspects of sociology. A highly recommended text for instructors looking for an engaging book for their introduction to sociology course.

Armando Mejia
Sociology Dept, California St Univ-Long Beach
October 6, 2016

Am not teaching this course this semester. However, I would strongly recommend this intro text for undergraduate course work. I will adopt the next time I teach this unit.

Mr Billy Brocato
Sociology Dept, Texas A & M Univ-Clg Station
September 28, 2016

It is a very well structured book with engaging text and interactive material.

Ms Alma Begicevic
Sociology Dept, Loyola University-Lakeshore
September 27, 2016

Easy to understand and has online available resources that can further engage students.

Ms Alma Begicevic
Sociology Dept, Loyola University-Lakeshore
December 9, 2015

Very engaging text; with application of content to current issues of interest to students. My students appreciated the rich and educational content; and a number of them are keeping the text as a resource.

Culture Society Dept, Drake University
July 12, 2015
Key features


  • Newly divided chapters on Social Stratification in the U.S. (Ch. 8) and Global Stratification (Ch. 9) provide a deeper exploration of inequalities both at home and abroad and allow for more focused treatment of disparities impacting society at every level.
  • The Gender and Sexuality chapter has undergone a major revision with the help of gender and sexuality expert Rebecca Plante. This edition also gives more attention to the inclusion of gender and sexuality throughout. 
  • New and revised chapter openers and opening vignettes are drawn from events of contemporary interest such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks and medical marijuana.   
  • New coverage of timely issues such as the Ebola crisis in Africa, ISIL, conflicts between citizens and police in Ferguson and throughout the country, the new sharing economy, medical tourism, and the ever-growing divide between rich and poor.
  • Updated statistics in every chapter reflect the most current data available from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Center for Disease Control, and Pew Research, among others.
  • Maps, graphs, and tables have been almost entirely revised to reflect the most current data and trends.


  • The text focuses on four themes that help define social life today, and reflect the author’s longtime interests and theoretical insights:
    • Globalization—the flow of people, goods, institutions, and ideas across national borders.
    • Consumer Culture—the meaning attached to getting and using material goods.
    • The McDonaldization of Society—how the principles of the fast food industry have spread to other sectors of society throughout the world.
    • The Internet—which has become one of the primary agents of globalization, consumerism, and McDonaldization.
  • “Public Sociology” boxes highlight the efforts of sociologists, activists, and journalists who have committed themselves to social reforms and representing sociology to a wider audience.
  • In Chapter 1, “An Introduction to Sociology in A Global Age,” students get a conceptual foundation for understanding sociology (Globalization, The Sociological Imagination, The Social Construction of Reality, Social Structure and Processes) before they encounter sociological theory in Chapter 2.
  • Sociological theory is presented in an enhanced three-category system that is similar to the approach of most introductory sociology texts, but richer—encompassing classical theories as well as the most important offshoots of those theories developed in recent years.
  • “McDonaldization Today” shows how diverse arenas of contemporary life—schools, politics, the family, the workplace, social movements, even birth and death—are taking on the “McDonaldized” character of the fast food industry.
  • Short biographies in every chapter (“Biographical Bits”) introduce students to classical and contemporary sociologists who have had a major influence on how we think about sociology.
  • Global Maps throughout the text provide geographical context to the discussion of globalization.
  • Active Sociology exercises, which can serve as chapter assignments or class discussion starters, use popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, WebMd, and YouTube to demonstrate concepts like prosumption and the social construction of reality.

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