You are here

Discover Sociology

Discover Sociology

Fourth Edition
Available with:
Additional resources:

January 2019 | 632 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.

What key social forces construct and transform our lives as individuals and as members of society? How does our social world shape us? How do we shape our world?

Discover Sociology presents sociology as a discipline of curious minds. The authors inspire curiosity about the social world and empower students by providing the theoretical, conceptual, and empirical tools they need to understand, analyze, and even change the world in which they live. 

Organized around four main themes—The Sociological Imagination, Power and Inequality, Technological Transformations of Society, and Globalization—the book illuminates the social roots of diverse phenomena and institutions, ranging from poverty and deviance to capitalism and the nuclear family. "Behind the Numbers" features illustrate the practical side of sociology and shows students how to be critical consumers of social science data reported in the media. And every chapter addresses the question, “What can I do with a sociology degree?” by linking the knowledge and skills acquired through studying sociology with specific jobs and career paths.  

A Complete Teaching & Learning Package

SAGE vantage Digital Option
Engage, Learn, Soar with SAGE vantage, an intuitive digital platform that delivers Discover Sociology, Fourth Edition textbook content in a learning experience carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Built with you and your students in mind, it offers easy course set-up and enables students to better prepare for class. Contact your rep to learn more.

SAGE Premium Video
Included in SAGE vantage! SAGE Premium Video tools and resources boost comprehension and bolster analysis. Learn more.  
SAGE coursepacks
FREE! Easily import our quality instructor and student resource content into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Learn more.

SAGE edge
FREE online resources for students that make learning easier. See how your students benefit

SAGE course outcomes: Measure Results, Track Success
Outlined in your text and mapped to chapter learning objectives, SAGE course outcomes are crafted with specific course outcomes in mind and vetted by advisors in the field. See how SAGE course outcomes tie in with this book’s chapter-level objectives at

FREE POSTER: Tips from Sociology for Argument and Debate in a Civil Society

Chapter 1: Discover Sociology
A Curious Mind

The Sociological Imagination

Critical Thinking

The Development of Sociological Thinking

What Is Sociological Theory?

Principal Themes in This Book

Why Study Sociology?

Chapter 2: Discover Sociological Research
No Roof Overhead: Researching Eviction in America

Sociology and Common Sense

Research and the Scientific Method

Doing Sociological Research

Doing Sociology: A Student’s Guide to Research

Why Learn to Do Sociological Research?

Chapter 3: Culture and Mass Media
Popular Culture and the Undead

Culture: Concepts and Applications

Culture and Language

Culture and Mass Media

Culture, Class, and Inequality

Culture and Globalization

Why Study Culture and Media through a Sociological Lens?

Chapter 4: Socialization and Social Interaction
My Robot, My Friend

The Birth of the Social Self

Agents of Socialization

Socialization and Aging

Total Institutions and Resocialization

Social Interaction

Why Study Socialization and Social Interaction?

Chapter 5: Groups, Organizations, and Bureaucracies
Groupthink: A Case of Deadly Consequences

The Nature of Groups

The Power of Groups

Economic, Cultural, and Social Capital



Why Study Groups and Organizations?

Chapter 6: Deviance and Social Control
To Solve a Murder

What Is Deviant Behavior?

How Do Sociologists Explain Deviance?

Types of Deviance

Social Control of Deviance

Why Study Deviance?

Chapter 7: Social Class and Inequality in the United States
Poverty and Profit

Stratification in Traditional and Modern Societies

Sociological Building Blocks of Social Class

Class and Inequality in the U.S.: Dimensions and Trends

Why Has Inequality Grown?

The Problem of Neighborhood Poverty

Why Do Stratification and Poverty Exist and Persist in Class Societies?

Why Study Inequality in the U.S.?

Chapter 8: Global Wealth, Poverty, and Inequality
Migrants in Limbo

Dimensions of Global Inequality and Poverty

Armed Conflict and Poverty

Technology: The Great Equalizer?

Theoretical Perspectives on Global Inequality

Who Are the Global Elite?

Why Study Global Inequality from a Sociological Perspective?

Chapter 9: Race and Ethnicity
Violence and U.S. History

The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity

Minority and Dominant Group Relations

Theoretical Approaches to Ethnicity, Racism, and Minority Status

Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination

Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States

Race and Ethnicity from a Global Perspective

Why Study Race and Ethnicity from a Sociological Perspective?

Chapter 10: Gender and Society
I Am a Woman and I Am Fast

Concepts of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Constructing Gendered Selves

Gender and Society

Gender and Economics: Men, Women, and the Gender Wage Gap

Classical Theories, Feminist Thought, and the Sociology of Masculinities

Women’s Lives in a Global Perspective

Why Study Gender from a Sociological Perspective?

Chapter 11: Families and Society
Millennials and Marriage

How Do Sociologists Study the Family?

Theoretical Perspectives on Families

U.S. Families Yesterday and Today

Socioeconomic Class and Family in the United States

Globalization and Families

Why Study Family through a Sociological Lens?

Chapter 12: Education and Society
Food Insecurity in U.S. Colleges and Universities

Education, Industrialization, and the “Credential Society”

Theoretical Perspectives on Education

Education, Opportunity, and Inequality

Issues in U.S. Higher Education

Education in a Global Perspective

Why Study Education from a Sociological Perspective?

Chapter 13: Religion and Society
A New Religion Rises: The Jedi Faithful

How Do Sociologists Study Religion?

Theoretical Perspectives on Religion and Society

Types of Religious Organizations

The Great World Religions

Women and Religion

Religion in the United States

Religion and Global Societies

Why Study the Sociology of Religion?

Chapter 14: The State, War, and Terror
The Birth and Death of Countries

The Modern State

Theories of State Power

Power and Authority

Forms of Governance in the Modern World

The U.S. Political System

War, State, and Society

Terrorists and Terrorism

Why Study the State and Warfare through a Sociological Lens?

Chapter 15: Work, Consumption, and the Economy
Robots and Jobs

The Economy in Historical Perspective

The Technological Revolution and the Future of Work

Types of Economic Systems

Working on and off the Books

Consumers, Consumption, and the U.S. Economy

Globalization and the New Economic Order

Why Study Economic Systems and Trends?

Chapter 16: Health and Medicine
The Scourge of Addiction

Cultural Definitions of Health and Illness

Health Care and Public Health in the United States

Sociology and Issues of Public Health in the United States

The Sociology of HIV/AIDS

Global Issues in Health and Medicine

Why Should Sociologists Study Health?

Chapter 17: Population, Urbanization, and the Environment
Where the Boys Are . . . and the Girls Are Not

Global Population Growth

Malthus and Marx: How Many People Are Too Many?


The Local and Global Environment

Why Study Population, Urbanization, and the Environment from a Sociological Perspective?

Chapter 18: Social Movements and Social Change
Activist America?

Sociological Perspectives on Social Change

Sources of Social Change

Social Movements

Why Study Social Change?



Student Study Site

SAGE edge for students enhances learning, it’s easy to use, and offers:

  • an open-access site that makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime;
  • video resources that bring concepts to life, are tied to learning objectives, and are curated and produced exclusively for this text; 
  • eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts;
  • eQuizzes that allow students to practice and assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus their attention;
  • chapter summaries with learning objectives that reinforce the most important material;
  • chapter-specific study questions that allow students to engage with the material;
  • exclusive access to influential SAGE journal and reference content that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning; and exercises and meaningful Web links that facilitate student use of Internet resources, further exploration of topics, and responses to critical thinking questions. 
Instructor Resource Site

Instructors: SAGE coursepacks and SAGE edge online resources are included FREE with this text. For a brief demo, contact your sales representative today. 

SAGE coursepacks for instructors makes it easy to import our quality content into your school’s learning management system (LMS)*. Intuitive and simple to use, it allows you to

Say NO to…

  • required access codes
  • learning a new system

Say YES to…

  • using only the content you want and need
  • high-quality assessment and multimedia exercises


*For use in: Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

Don’t use an LMS platform? No problem, you can still access many of the online resources for your text via SAGE edge.

With SAGE coursepacks, you get: 

  • quality textbook content delivered directly into your LMS
  • an intuitive, simple format that makes it easy to integrate the material into your course with minimal effort;
  • assessment tools that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, including:
    • diagnostic chapter pre tests and post tests that identify opportunities for improvement, track student progress, and ensure mastery of key learning objectives
    • test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items with ExamView test generation
    • activity and quiz options that allow you to choose only the assignments and tests you want 
    • instructions on how to use and integrate the comprehensive assessments and resources provided;
  • assignable SAGE Premium Video (available on the SAGE vantage platform, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives, and are curated and produced exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life, featuring: 
    • Corresponding multimedia assessment options that automatically feed to your gradebook
    • Comprehensive, downloadable, easy-to-use Media Guide in the Coursepack for every video resource, listing the chapter to which the video content is tied, matching learning objective(s), a helpful description of the video content, and assessment questions 
    • Videos include animated concept videos, as well as licensed AP news clips
  • links to exceptional teaching resources from ASA’s TRAILS (Teaching Resources and Innovation Library for Sociology);
  • MCAT Guide maps chapter content to Foundational Concepts and Content Categories in Section 3 of the MCAT test;
  • assignable data exercises help students build essential data literacy skills using interactive data visualization tools from SAGE Stats;
  • chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content;
  • exclusive SAGE journal and reference content, built into course materials and assessment tools, that ties influential research and scholarship to chapter concepts;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch;
  • sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring your course that give you options to customize your course to your exact needs;
  • lecture notes that summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help you with preparation for lectures and class discussions;
  • all tables and figures from the textbook; and
  • 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.  

Excellent online resources that I have no trouble accessing.

Christine Wagner
Social Science Dept., Erie Cmty College-South Campus
January 2, 2019
Key features


  • Available as a digital option through SAGE vantage, an intuitive digital platform that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools, all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Contact your rep to learn more. 
  • 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
  • A new “Discover and Debate” feature focuses on public controversies, and models evidence-based arguments and a respectful exchange of ideas.
  • Discover Intersections features illustrate a key sociological insight: how race, class, gender, and other statuses often combine to shape our life chances and the organization of power in society.
  • Updated social indicators bring in the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pew Research Center.
  • New openers and essay boxes show the sociological significance of interesting contemporary issues and controversies.
  • The “What can I do with a sociology degree?” feature has been revised to reflect greater gender, geographic, age, and career diversity.



  • Eye-catching and compelling chapter openers and What Do You Think? questions draw students into the sociological mindset with timely and engaging material designed to ignite lively classroom discussion.
  • Private Lives, Public Issues boxes illustrate the relationship between individual lives and the social forces that shape them.
  • Inequality Matters boxes examine a crucial theme in sociology—power—and offer students a critical perspective on how power is distributed, reproduced, and exercised in society. 
  • Behind the Numbers boxes help students become critical consumers of information by giving them the opportunity to look critically at statistical information on social problems such as unemployment and poverty.
  • Global Society boxes help students to develop a fuller understanding of their lives, communities, and country in an interconnected, interdependent, and multicultural international environment—and to see how other countries around the world are experiencing societal changes and challenges.
  • The What Can I Do With a Sociology Degree? feature links the skills learned in sociology to specific occupational fields and job titles.

Sample Materials & Chapters

1: Discover Sociology

2: Discover Sociological Research

Preview this book

Vantage Reference: 
Discover Sociology - Vantage Digital Option

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental

ISBN: 9781544358468

ISBN: 9781544333434