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Discover Sociology

Discover Sociology

Third Edition
Additional resources:

December 2016 | 632 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

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 answers these questions as it explores sociology as a discipline of curious minds, with the theoretical, conceptual, and empirical tools needed to understand, analyze, and even change the world. Organized around the four main themes of The Sociological Imagination, Power and Inequality, Technological Transformations of Society, and Globalization, every chapter in the book illuminates the social roots of diverse phenomena and institutions, ranging from poverty and deviance to capitalism and the nuclear family.  Going beyond theory and concepts, the authors also help answer the question on students’ minds: “What can I do with a sociology degree?” 

Click here to see all the career paths available for graduates with a sociology degree!

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Use bundle ISBN: 978-1-5063-8150-3. 


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Chapter 1: Discover Sociology
A Curious Mind  
The Sociological Imagination  
The Development of Sociological Thinking  
Sociology: One Way of Looking at the World—or Many?  
Principal Themes in This Book  
Why Study Sociology?  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
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?  
Career Data: Market Research Analysts  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 3: Culture and Mass Media
Zombie Apocalypse  
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?  
Career Data: Market Research Analysts  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 4: Socialization and Social Interaction
Selfie and Society  
The Birth of the Social Self  
Agents of Socialization  
Socialization and Aging  
Total Institutions and Resocialization  
Social Interaction  
Why Study Socialization and Social Interaction?  
Career Data: Social and Human Service Assistants  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 5: Groups, Organizations, and Bureaucracies
Marooned: Group Dynamics on a Deserted Island  
The Nature of Groups  
The Power of Groups  
Economic, Cultural, and Social Capital  
Why Study Groups and Organizations?  
Career Data: Training and Development Specialists  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 6: Deviance and Social Control
The Death of Len Bias  
What Is Deviant Behavior?  
How Do Sociologists Explain Deviance?  
Types of Deviance  
Social Control of Deviance  
Why Study Deviance?  
Career Data: Police and Detectives  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 7: Social Class and Inequality in the United States
Poverty and Prosperity in the United States Today  
Stratification in Traditional and Modern Societies  
Sociological Building Blocks of Social Class  
Class and Inequality in the United States: Dimensions and Trends  
The Problem of Neighborhood Poverty  
Why Do Stratification and Poverty Exist and Persist in Class Societies?  
Why Study Inequality?  
Career Data: Social Science Research Assistants  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 8: Global Inequality and Poverty
Desperate Measures  
Dimensions of Global Inequality and Poverty  
Armed Conflict and Poverty  
Technology: The Great Equalizer?  
Theoretical Perspectives on Global Inequality  
Is There a Global Elite?  
Why Study Global Inequality From a Sociological Perspective?  
Career Data: Postsecondary Education Administrators  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 9: Race and Ethnicity
Athletes Stand for Racial Equality  
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 in a Global Perspective  
Why Study Race and Ethnicity From a Sociological Perspective?  
Career Data: Paralegals/Legal Assistants  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 10: Gender and Society
The College Gap: Women and Men on Campus  
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?  
Career Data: Urban and Regional Planners  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
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?  
Career Data: Social and Community Service Managers  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 12: Education and Society
The College Dropout Dilemma  
Education, Industrialization, and the “Credential Society”  
Theoretical Perspectives on Education  
Education, Opportunity, and Inequality  
Living in the Past? The U.S. School Calendar in Modern Society  
Issues in U.S. Higher Education  
Education in a Global Perspective  
Why Study Education From a Sociological Perspective?  
Career Data: Lawyers  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 13: Religion and Society
I Pledge Allegiance . . .  
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?  
Career Data: Social and Community Service Managers  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
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?  
Career Data: Investigators  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 15: Work, Consumption, and the Economy
Robots and the Future of Work  
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?  
Career Data: Survey Researchers  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 16: Health and Medicine
Heroin in the Heartland  
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?  
Career Data: Operations Research Analysts  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 17: Population, Urbanization, and the Environment
The Life of a Postindustrial City in America  
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  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 18: Social Movements and Social Change
Students and Social Movements  
Sociological Perspectives on Social Change  
Sources of Social Change  
Social Movements  
Why Study Social Change?  
Career Data: Public Relations Specialists  
Key Terms  
Discussion Questions  


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  • Links to exceptional teaching resources from A.S.A.’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. 
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·         Exclusive access to influential SAGE journal articles ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning  


"The single best thing about the textbook is how it balances being attractive and accessible for student readers, and being well-organized and strong content-wise to meet my expectations as an instructor."

Matthew Green
College of DuPage

"There is good linkage between theory and the discussions.  The vignettes on what one can do with a sociology degree tying specific topics to the skills desired in different areas, is unique."

Othello Harris
Miami University

"The combination of the content covered, the level of difficulty, design, and the quality of the supplemental materials was winning. "

Olena Leipnik
Sam Houston State University

(Chapter 6, Deviance and Social Control)--"This is my favorite chapter. You do everything that I need, especially the theories. The global perspective is excellent."

Elaine Leeder
Sonoma State University

"I prefer [Ch. 1] in Discover Sociology over my current text, in part for the clear delineation of schools of thought (or sociological paradigms) and the contributions of early social theorists. This is important because students regularly complain about having to memorize names.  Asking them instead to focus on how a paradigm (e.g. structural functionalism) would explain something [like gender inequality] is much more helpful."

Robert S. Mackin
Texas A&M University
Key features


  • Social Life, Social Media boxes explore the impact of modern social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook on interpersonal interactions, social activism, sociological and medical research, and even global terrorism.
  • A new focus on global migration from distressed countries—a phenomenon that has grown in significance and influenced Western politics, such as the Brexit decision in the U.K.
  • This edition has integrated a wider variety of popular culture examples to illuminate key sociological concepts and ideas, such as The Walking Dead, Lost, Lord of the Flies, the 2016 remake of the film Ghostbusters, and black athletes in the U.S. speaking out on issues of racial inequality.
  • New chapter openers and essay boxes draw from events of contemporary interest and concern such as the phenomenon of the “selfie”, opioid epidemic, and parenting in poverty.
  • The popular “What Can I Do with a Sociology Degree?” feature has been revised to highlight a wider variety of skills gained in sociology courses, career profiles of graduates putting these skills to work, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data about those occupations.  


  • 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

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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