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Our Social World: Condensed

Our Social World: Condensed
An Introduction to Sociology

Sixth Edition

July 2019 | 592 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Proud sponsor of the 2019 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Our Social World: Condensed
inspires students to develop their sociological imaginations, to see the world and personal events from a new perspective, and to confront sociological issues on a day-to-day basis. The award-winning author team organizes the text around the "Social World" model, a conceptual framework that demonstrates the relationships among individuals (the micro level); organizations, institutions, and subcultures (the meso level); and societies and global structures (the macro level). The use of the Social World Model across chapters (represented in a visual diagram in the chapter openers) helps students develop the practice of using three levels of analysis, and to view sociology as an integrated whole, rather than a set of discrete subjects.

The Condensed version is adapted from Our Social World: Introduction to Sociology. The Sixth Edition of the Condensed version is made approximately 30% shorter than the full edition by removing selected boxes, editing the main narrative, and combining four chapters into two (Family/Education, and Politics/Economics).

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Preface: To Our Students
Instructors: How to Make This Book Work for You
A Personal Note to the Instructor
Chapter 1: Sociology: A Unique Way to View the World
What Is Sociology?  
Why Does Sociology Matter?  
The Social World Model  
Engaging Sociology: Micro-Meso-Macro  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 2: Examining the Social World: How Do We Know What We Know?
Development of Sociology  
Sociology’s Major Theoretical Perspectives  
Ideas Underlying Science  
How Sociologists Study the Social World  
Engaging Sociology: Being Clear About Causality  
Engaging Sociology: How to Read a Research Table  
Sociologists in Action: Kristin Kenneavy: Using Sociology to Improve Campus Life and Gain Marketable Skills  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 3: Society and Culture: Hardware and Software of Our Social World
Society: The Hardware  
Engaging Sociology: Demographics of Internet Users  
Culture: The Software  
Engaging Sociology: Pop Culture Technology Timeline  
The Components of Culture: Things and Thoughts  
Society, Culture, and Our Social World  
Engaging Sociology: Deaf Subculture in the United States by Thomas P. Horejes  
Theories of Culture  
Fit Between Hardware and Software  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 4: Socialization: Becoming Human and Humane
Nature Versus Nurture—Or Both Working Together?  
Importance of Socialization  
Socialization and the Social World  
Development of the Self: Micro-Level Analysis  
Engaging Sociology: Black Men and Public Space by Brent Staples  
Socialization Throughout the Life Cycle  
Agents of Socialization: The Micro–Meso Connection  
Socialization and Macro-Level Issues  
Engaging Sociology: Uses and Consequences of Social Networking  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 5: Interaction, Groups, and Organizations: Connections That Work
Networks and Connections in Our Social World  
Engaging Sociology: Networking via Facebook  
The Process of Interaction: Connections at the Micro Level  
Groups in Our Social World: The Micro–Meso Connection  
Organizations and Bureaucracies: The Meso–Macro Connection  
Engaging Sociology: The McDonaldization of Society  
Sociologists in Action: Elise Roberts: Using Sociology in International Travel and Intercultural Education  
National and Global Networks: The Macro Level  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 6: Deviance and Social Control: Sickos, Weirdos, Freaks, and Folks Like Us
Engaging Sociology: Who Is Deviant?  
What Is Deviance?  
What Causes Deviant Behavior? Theoretical Perspectives  
Engaging Sociology: Marijuana Use Versus Marijuana Arrests  
Crime and Individuals: Micro-Level Analysis  
Sociologists in Action: Jack Levin: Three Times the Violence  
Crime and Organizations: Meso-Level Analysis  
National and Global Crime: Macro-Level Analysis  
Controlling Crime: Social Policy Considerations  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 7: Stratification: Rich and Famous—Or Rags and Famine?
Sociologists in Action: Kevin Bales: Stopping Slavery Today  
The Importance of Social Stratification  
Theoretical Explanations of Stratification  
Individuals’ Social Status: The Micro Level  
Engaging Sociology: Life Expectancy, Infant Mortality, and Per Capita Income  
Social Mobility: The Micro–Meso Connection  
Engaging Sociology: First-Generation College Students: Issues of Cultural and Social Capital  
Major Stratification Systems: Macro-Level Analysis  
Poverty and Social Policy  
National and Global Digital Divide: Macro-Level Stratification  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 8: Race and Ethnic Group Stratification: Beyond “Us” and “Them”
What Characterizes Racial and Ethnic Groups?  
Prejudice: Micro-Level Analysis  
Discrimination: Meso-Level Analysis  
Engaging Sociology: Relating and Using Key Concepts  
Dominant and Minority Group Contact: Macro-Level Analysis  
Policies Governing Minority and Dominant Group Relations  
Sociologists in Action: Anna Misleh: Challenging Bigotry Toward the Roma  
Engaging Sociology: Preference Policies at the University of Michigan  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 9: Gender Stratification: She/He— Who Goes First?
Sex, Gender, and the Stratification System  
Gender Socialization: Micro- to Meso-Level Analyses  
Gender Stratification: Meso- and Macro-Level Processes  
Engaging Sociology: Masculinity and Femininity in Our Social World  
Gender Stratification: Micro- to Macro-Level Theories  
Costs and Consequences of Gender Stratification  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Importance of Institutions  
Development of Modern Institutions  
Connections Among Institutions  
Chapter 10: Family and Education: Institutionalizing Socialization
Family: How Do We Make People?  
What Is a Family?  
Family Dynamics: Micro-Level Processes  
Engaging Sociology: Household Tasks by Gender  
Family as an Institution: Meso-Level Analysis  
Family Issues: Divorce and Same-Sex Marriage  
Education: What Are We Learning?  
The Ins and Outs of Local Schools: Micro-Level Interactions  
Structure and Function of Education: Meso-Level Analysis  
Education Issues: The Road to Opportunity?  
Engaging Sociology: Test Score Variations by Gender and Race or Ethnicity, 2016  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 11: Health Care: An Anatomy of Health and Illness
Why Is Health a Social Issue?  
Theoretical Perspectives on Health and Illness  
Engaging Sociology: Alcoholism, Medicalization, and Policy  
Engaging Sociology: Health Care During a Financial Crisis  
Status and Roles of the Sick Person: Micro-Level Analysis  
Modern Health Care Systems: Meso-Level Analysis  
Health Care Issues at the National and Global Level: Macro-Level Analysis  
Engaging Sociology: Access to Health Care for Rich and Poor  
Sociologists in Action: Richard M. Carpiano: Connecting Personal Health to Community Life  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 12: Politics and Economics: Probing Power, Dissecting Distribution
What Is Power?  
Power and Privilege in Our Social World  
Theoretical Perspectives on Power and Privilege  
Engaging Sociology: The Flag, Symbolism, and Patriotism  
Individuals, Power, and Participation: Micro-Level Analysis  
Power and Resource Distribution: Meso-Level Analysis  
Sociologists in Action: Lindsay Owens: Using Sociological Training in Government Policy Work  
National and Global Systems: Macro-Level Analysis  
Engaging Sociology: Political Decisions: Social Processes at the Micro, Meso, and Macro Levels  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 13: Environmental Sociology: Population, Urbanization, and Climate Change
Macro-Level Patterns in World Population Growth  
Engaging Sociology: If the World Were 100 People  
Meso-Level Institutional Influences on Population Change  
Micro-Level Population Patterns  
Urbanization: Movement From Rural to Urban Areas  
Engaging Sociology: Population Pyramids and Predicting Community Needs and Services  
Engaging Sociology: World Urbanization Trends  
The Urban Environment and Social Policy: Macro-Level Perspectives  
Sociologists in Action: Michael Haedicke: Addressing the Grand Challenge of Climate Change in Louisiana  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
Chapter 14: Process of Change: We Can Make a Difference!
Complexity of Change in Our Social World  
Social Change: Process and Theories  
Engaging Sociology: Technology and Change: The Automobile  
Collective Behavior: Micro- to Meso-Level Change  
Engaging Sociology: Exam Stories: Testing the Truth  
Planned Change in Organizations: Meso-Level Change  
Social Movements: Macro-Level Change  
Sociologists in Action: Ellis Jones: Empowering Everyday People: Democratizing Access to Social Change  
Engaging Sociology: Making a Difference  
What Have We Learned?  
Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?  
About the Authors


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  • SAGE course outcomes help you track and measure student success. Crafted with specific course outcomes in mind and vetted by advisors in the field, SAGE course outcomes clearly define and benchmark the knowledge and skills students are expected to achieve upon completion of your course. See how outcomes tie in with this book’s chapter-level objectives.
  • Included new Sociologists in Action features, such as Richard M. Carpiano’s “Connecting Personal Health to Community Life” (Chapter 11).
  • Revised Engaging Sociology features, with new opportunities for data analysis by students.
  • A correlation between Our Social World and the key concept/skills outlined in the SSRC’s “Sociological Literacy Framework” has been added to the instructor’s note in the beginning of the book.
  • Thorough revision of Chapter 15, bringing Urban Sociology and Population under the umbrella of Environmental Sociology, and adding new coverage of climate change.
  • Inclusion of new topics in many chapters, such as the influence of robots and artificial intelligence on workers, race relations in the Trump era, issues related to transgender identity and gender fluidity, sexual harassment in the workplace, gun violence and the student movement to control access to guns, and Facebook’s handling of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • New maps, photos, and figures in every chapter illustrate critical sociological topics.
  • Hundreds of new/updated references reflect the latest research findings and data.
  • Updated "Contributing to Our Social World: What Can We Do?" features encourage social awareness and involvement.


  • Authors Jeanne Ballantine and Keith Roberts are both former recipients of the ASA “Distinguished Contributions to Teaching” award.
  • Every chapter opens with the “Social World Model,” a full-page diagram that shows how the key concepts and issues in that chapter fit into the book’s micro-to-macro framework.
  • Sociologists in Action features provide students with hands-on opportunities to engage with material covered and to hear from public sociologists who are working in the field.
  • Integrated global perspectives throughout inspires students to see how events on the other side of the globe may impact their own lives.
  • Engaging Sociology features encourage students to delve more deeply into topics and do primary analysis of data in a map, table, or figure.
  • Thinking Sociologically questions ask students to think critically and apply material to some aspect of their lives or the social world and can be the basis for in-class discussions or assigned as questions.
  • Contributing to your Social World features provide ideas related to discussions in each chapter for volunteer activities and jobs/internships at the micro, meso, and macro levels.    
  • Deep learning techniques are used throughout, so that students learn, rather than simply memorize, the material.
  • Links to exceptional teaching resources from A.S.A.’s TRAILS (Teaching Resources and Innovation Library for Sociology) available in SAGE coursepacks.
  • MCAT Guide maps chapter content to Foundational Concepts and Content Categories in Section 3 of the MCAT test available in SAGE coursepacks. 
  • SAGE coursepacks allows 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 eFlashcards, practice quizzes, and more, in one easy-to-use online environment.

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