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Sociology in Action

Sociology in Action

Second Edition
Edited by:
Available with:

December 2019 | 424 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The authors are proud sponsors of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Wake up your introductory sociology classes! Sociology in Action helps your students learn sociology by doing sociology.

Sociology in Action will inspire your students to do sociology through real-world activities designed to increase learning, retention, and engagement with course material. Packed with new activities and thought-provoking questions to help explain key concepts, the Second Edition of this innovative bestselling text immerses students in an active learning experience that emphasizes hands-on work, application, and learning by example. 

Every chapter has been thoroughly revised to reflect current events, social changes, and the latest research. Two new chapters expand coverage of health care, politics, and the economy. The comprehensive Activity Guide that accompanies the text provides everything you need to assign, carry out, and assess the activities that will best engage your students, fit the format of your course, and meet your course goals.

This title is accompanied by a complete teaching and learning package. Contact your SAGE representative to request a demo.
  • Digital Option / Courseware
    SAGE Vantage is an intuitive digital platform that delivers this text’s content and course materials in a learning experience that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools, all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Built with you and your students in mind, it offers simple course set-up and enables students to better prepare for class. Learn more.
    • Assignable Video with Assessment
      Assignable video (available with SAGE Vantage) is tied to learning objectives and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life. Watch a sample video now.
  • LMS Cartridge (formerly known as SAGE Coursepacks): Import this title’s instructor resources into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Don’t use an LMS? You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site. Learn more.
  • SAGE Lecture Spark
    Designed to save you time and ignite student engagement, these free weekly lecture launchers focus on current event topics tied to key concepts in Sociology. Access this week’s topic.


About the Authors
About the Contributors
Chapter 1. Training Your Sociological Eye
What Is Sociology?

Changing How You View the World

Sociology as a Social Science

Differentiating between Good Generalizations and Stereotypes

The Obligations of Sociology

The Benefits of Sociology



Key Terms

Chapter 2. Understanding Theory
What Is Theory?

Understanding the Structural Functionalist Perspective

Understanding the Conflict Theoretical Perspective

Understanding the Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

Full Theoretical Circle



Key Terms

Chapter 3. Using Research Methods
What Is Research?

What Are Data and Where Do We Get Them?

What Do We Do with Data?

Getting Started Doing Research

Sampling and Measurement

How Can You Recognize Good (and Bad) Research?



Key Terms

Chapter 4. Recognizing Culture
Defining Culture

Identifying Elements of Culture

Typology of Societies

Considering Cultural Variations

The Power of Culture



Key Terms

Chapter 5. Understanding Socialization and Interaction
What Is Socialization?

Understanding Theories of Socialization

Agents of Socialization

Gender Socialization

Status, Social Roles, and Identity

Groups, Organizations, and Bureaucracies

Social Interaction



Key Terms

Chapter 6. Identifying Deviant Behavior
Defining Deviance

Origins of the Sociology of Deviance

Creating Deviance

Managing Deviant Identities



Key Terms

Chapter 7. Confronting Economic Inequality
What Is Economic Inequality?

Meritocracy and the Functions of Inequality

Understanding Social Stratification

Examining the Class System

Mobility within and across Generations

Consequences of Inequality

Addressing Inequality



Key Terms

Chapter 8. Constructing Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
Defining Sex, Gender, Intersex, and Transgender

Using Theory to Understand Gender

Creating Gender and Sexual Identities, Recognizing Sexualities

Gender, Sexuality, and Work

Gender and Intimate Relationships



Key Terms

Chapter 9. Recognizing the Importance of Race
Defining Race and Ethnicity

The Repercussions of Race

Discrimination by the U.S. Government

Racial and Ethnic Inequality Today

Racism and Ethnocentrism Globally

Responding (or Not) to Racism and Ethnocentrism Today



Key Terms

Chapter 10. Understanding Institutions: Politics and the Economy
The State, Power, and Legitimacy

Origins of the State

Forms of Legitimate Domination

Types of Government

Theoretical Approaches to Politics

Politics and the Economy

Modern Economic Systems

Beyond Politics and Economy: Communism and Fascism



Key Terms

Chapter 11. Understanding Institutions: Family
What Shapes Families?

Changing Families across History

Understanding Families through Theory

Families Caring for Each Other

Family Problems

How Work and Policy Shape Families



Key Terms

Chapter 12. Understanding Institutions: Education
What Is Education as an Institution?

Education and Modes of Production

Theorizing Education

Education and Social Inequality in the United States

Global Education and Global Inequality

Leveling the Playing Field: Public Policy and Education in the United States



Key Terms

Chapter 13. Experiencing Health, Illness, and Medical Care
What Does Sociology Have to Do with Health, Illness, and Medical Care?

The Illness Experience


Explaining Health Disparities and Social Determinants of Health

Social Distribution of Illness

The U.S. Health Care System



Key Terms

Chapter 14. Understanding Institutions: Religion
Defining Religion Sociologically

Religious Pluralism and Secularization

Religious Fundamentalism

Changing Religious Life in the United States

Global Diffusion of Religion

Applying Sociological Theory to Religion

Religion and Social Issues, Social Change, and Everyday Life



Key Terms

Chapter 15. Saving the Environment
Facing Our Environmental Challenges

How Do Sociologists Study Environmental Issues?

How Did We Mess Up? Theories of Environmental Change

Consumption and the Environment

Who Suffers Most from Environmental Problems?

Social Solutions to Environmental Problems



Key Terms

Chapter 16. Changing Society through Social Movements
What Is a Social Movement?

Participating in Social Movements

Types of Social Movements

Social Movement Theory

The Six Steps of Social Movement Success

Success Can Bring Backlash: The Marriage Equality Movement

How Can We Create Social Change?



Key Terms

Learning Activities


Instructor Resource Site

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

LMS cartridge (formerly known as SAGE Coursepacks) included with this title for use in Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

The LMS cartridge makes it easy to import this title’s instructor resources into your learning management system (LMS). These resources include:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample course syllabi
  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
Don’t use an LMS platform?

You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.
Student Study Site


The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

"Sociology in Action is perfect for all modes of education (hybrid, face-to-face, online, and flipped classes)."

Jeffrey Lentz
University of North Georgia

“The authors are very clear about what they want to cover. [It] also has great activities to go along with each chapter."

Tabitha Ingle
Georgia State University

"I appreciate that the text identifies one of the core commitments of sociology is to 'do something 'about social injustice."

Jamie Gusrang
Community College of Philadelphia
Key features
  • The new edition is available as a digital option through SAGE Vantage, an intuitive digital platform that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools-including video-all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Learn more.

  • New data analysis activities (available on the SAGE Vantage platform, linked through SAGE Coursepacks) in each chapter, using interactive data visualization tools from SAGE Stats, help students build essential data literacy skills. 

  • Two new chapters, "Experiencing Health, Illness, and Medical Care" and "Understanding Institutions: Politics and the Economy", encourage students to think critically about current issues impacting their world. 

  • All chapters have been updated to reflect recent societal changes, including:
    • the causes for and ramifications of the 2016 election
    • the latest issues facing the LGBT community, people of color, immigrants and refugees, and the shrinking middle class
    • student loan debt
    • class inequality
    • climate change
    • sexuality
    • sexual harassment
    • power and who writes history
    • a more thorough explanation of racism and its systemic components
    • the connections among social position, place and health, and life expectancy
    • the relationship between public education and democracy


  • Each chapter is contributed by an expert in that subject who also uses active learning techniques in his or her classroom.

  • Several "Doing Sociology" learning activities in each chapter provide instructors with an abundance of ready-to-use activities for a wide range of instructional settings. 

  • Choose from a variety of activity types including personal reflection, content and data analysis, collaboration and group activities, observations, and short guided-research projects.
  • "Consider This" discussion questions encourage students to think more deeply about concepts for in-class discussions or assignments.

  • “Sociologists in Action” boxes spotlight the work of a student or a professional sociologist to illustrate how students can use sociological tools to make a positive impact on society.

  • Chapter Summaries emphasize key chapter content as a quick study reference, helping reinforce material.

  • Check Your Understanding questions help students stop and self-assess whether they comprehend the key points of every section.

  • Key terms and a glossary reinforce and define concepts to encourage on-the-spot comprehension.

  • The Activity Guide for instructors includes the complete text of every activity, along with extensive teaching notes.

  • SAGE Coursepacks enables instructors to import high-quality content, into their school’s learning management system (LMS) with no access codes.

  • SAGE Edge provides students helpful tools, including an MCAT Guide for students that maps chapter content to sociology standards on the MCAT test and connects students with free online MCAT study-and-review websites.
Vantage Reference: 
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