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Sociology for Optimists

Sociology for Optimists

First Edition

December 2016 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Breaking away from the idea that sociology only ever elaborates the negative, Sociology for Optimists shows that sociology can provide hope in dealing with social issues through critical approaches that acknowledge the positive.

From politics and inequality to nature and faith, Mary Holmes shows how a critical and optimistic sociology can help us think about and understand human experience not just in terms of social problems, but in terms of a human capacity to respond to those problems and strive for social change. 

With contemporary case studies throughout grounding the theory in the real world, this is the perfect companion/antidote to studying sociology.  

Chapter 1: Change
Chapter 2: Enjoyment
Chapter 3: Freedom
Chapter 4: Goodness
Chapter 5: Equality
Chapter 6: Relationships
Chapter 7: Nature
Chapter 8: Enchantment
Chapter 9: Optimism

Sociology can be an inherently pessimistic discipline. After all, much still needs to be done for a fairer more equal society. Whilst she does not deny the distance we still have to go, Holmes argues for a more optimistic view of the social world, one which foregrounds how far we have come and imagines how things could be better. Questioning the overt focus on social problems opposed to social questions, she highlights how sociologists have pathologised social life and argues how we might see things differently. Taking a journey through a whole range of topics such as equality, relationships, freedom and even sociology, Holmes charts the history of core sociological ideas and begins to highlight the ways in which critical optimism can imagine new possibilities in the field. Arguing that pessimism limits the sociological imagination, Holmes provokes the reader to explore more optimistic ways forward through combining historical insight and provocation of new ways of thinking. This book would make a useful complement to any reading list to spark debates and research that explores the possibilities of a more optimistic future for sociology.

Jon Rainford
Staffordshire University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sociology for Optimists: Enjoyment

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