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Our Social World: Condensed

Our Social World: Condensed
An Introduction to Sociology

Sixth Edition

June 2019 | 592 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.

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.
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