Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to Sociology

Fourth Edition
Experience with SAGE edge

September 2017 | 632 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Join the conversation with one of sociology’s best-known thinkers.


This Fourth Edition of George Ritzer’s Introduction to Sociology shows students the relevance of the introductory sociology course to their lives. While providing a rock-solid foundation, Ritzer illuminates traditional sociological concepts and theories, as well as some of the most compelling contemporary social phenomena: globalization, consumer culture, the Internet, and the “McDonaldization” of society. Updated with current events, examples, research findings, and sociological data, students are challenged to apply a sociological perspective to their world, and to see how “public” sociologists are engaging with the critical issues of today.


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Chapter 1. An Introduction to Sociology in the Global Age
The Changing Nature of the Social World — and Sociology  
Central Concerns for a Twenty-First-Century Sociology  
Sociology: Continuity and Change  
The Social Construction of Reality  
Sociology's Purpose: Science or Social Reform?  
Sociology, The Other Social Sciences, and Common Sense  
Chapter 2. Thinking Sociologically
The Giants of Classical Sociological Theory  
Other Important Early Theorists  
Contemporary Sociological Theory  
Chapter 3. Researching the Social World
The Scientific Method  
The Development of Scientific Knowledge  
Sociological Research  
Secondary Data Analysis  
Issues in Social Research  
Chapter 4. Culture
A Definition of Culture  
The Basic Elements of Culture  
Cultural Differences  
Global Culture  
Consumer Culture  
Chapter 5. Socialization and Interaction
The Individual and the Self  
The Individual as Performer  
Micro-Level Social Structures  
Chapter 6. Organizations, Societies, and Global Relationships
Contemporary Organizational Realities  
Global Relationships  
Chapter 7. Deviance and Crime
Theories of Deviance  
Globalization and Crime  
Chapter 8. Social Stratification in the United States
Dimensions of Social Stratification  
Economic Inequality  
Social Mobility  
Theories of Social Stratification  
Consumption and Social Stratification  
Chapter 9. Global Stratification
Positions in Global Stratification  
Global Economic Inequalities  
Changing Positions in Global Stratification  
Theories of Global Stratification  
Consumption and Global Stratification  
Chapter 10. Race and Ethnicity
The Concepts of Race and Ethnicity  
Majority-Minority Relations  
Race and Ethnicity in a Global Context  
Chapter 11. Gender and Sexuality
Gender and Sex  
The Sociology of Sexuality  
Sexuality, Gender, and Globalization  
Global Flows Related to Gender  
Chapter 12. Families
Family, Marriage, and Intimate Relationships  
Broad Changes in Marriage and the Family  
Theorizing the Family  
Problems in the Family  
Global Families  
Chapter 13. Education
Thinking about Education  
Education and Consumption  
Inequality in Education  
Globalization and Education  
Chapter 14. Religion
Early Sociologists and Religion  
What is Religion?  
Components of Religion  
Types of Religious Institutions  
Theorizing Religion  
Religion and Globalization  
Chapter 15. Politics and the Economy
Politics: Democracy or Dictatorship  
Who Rules the United States?  
Global Politics  
The U.S. Economy: From Industrialization to Deindustrialization  
Work, Consumption, and Leisure  
Globalization and the Economy  
Chapter 16. The Body, Medicine, Health, and Health Care
The Body  
The Sociology of Health and Medicine  
Globalization and Health  
Chapter 17. Population, Urbanization, and the Environment
Cities and Globalization  
The Environment  
Chapter 18. Social Change, Social Movements, and Collective Action
Social Movements  
Emergence, Mobilization, and Impact of Social Movements  
Collective Action  
Social Change: Globalization, Consumption, and the Internet  


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  • Links to exceptional teaching resources from A.S.A.’s TRAILS (Teaching Resources and Innovation Library for Sociology)
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·         Exclusive access to influential SAGE journal articles ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning  


Key features


  • New “Trending” boxes focus on influential books written that have become part of the public conversation about important issues.
    • Replacing “Public Sociology” boxes, these boxes demonstrate the diversity of sociology's practitioners, methods, and subject matter, and feature such authors as:
      • Matthew Desmond (Evicted)
      • Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow)
      • Allison Pugh (The Tumbleweed Society)
      • Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton (Paying for the Party)
      • Lori Peek and Alice Fothergill (Children of Katrina)
      • C.J. Pascoe (Dude, You're a Fag)
      • Randol Contreras (The Stick-Up Kids)
      • Eric Klinenberg (Going Solo)
      • Kimberly Hoang (Dealing in Desire)
      • Arlie Hochschild (Strangers in Their Own Land)
  • Updated examples in the text and "Digital Living" boxes keep pace with changes in digital technology and online practices, including Uber, Spotify, net neutrality, digital privacy, WikiLeaks, and cyberactivism.
  • New or updated subjects keep students up-to-date with the latest issues including:
    • the 2016 U.S. election
    • Brexit
    • the global growth of ISIS
    • climate change
    • President Trump's proposed Mexican border wall
    • further segmentation of wealthy Americans in the "super rich"
    • transgenders in the U.S. armed forces
    • charter schools
    • the legalization of marijuana
    • the Flint water crisis
    • fourth-wave feminism
  • Key information on the most important theorists and their contributions and selected examples of McDonaldization are now integrated into the main narrative with other discussions of theories and theoretical perspectives—rather than in boxes.
  • Completely revamped Checkpoint sections incorporate more core concepts and definitions for convenient study and review.


  • The text focuses on four themes that help define social life today, and reflect the author’s longtime interests and theoretical insights:

o   Globalization—the flow of people, goods, institutions, and ideas across national borders.

o   Consumer Culture—the meaning attached to getting and using material goods.

o   The McDonaldization of Society—how the principles of the fast food industry have spread to other sectors of society throughout the world.

o   The Internet—which has become one of the primary agents of globalization, consumerism, and McDonaldization.

  • An intuitive organization helps students develop a conceptual foundation for understanding sociology (Globalization, The Sociological Imagination, The Social Construction of Reality, Social Structure and Processes) in Chapter 1 before they encounter sociological theory in Chapter 2.
  • Strong coverage of sociological theory is presented in an enhanced three-category system similar to the approach of most introductory sociology texts but richer–encompassing classical theories as well as the most important offshoots of those theories.
  • Global Maps provide geographical context to the discussion of globalization.
  • Active Sociology exercises, which can serve as chapter assignments or class discussion starters, use popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, WebMd, and YouTube to demonstrate concepts like prosumption and the social construction of reality.
  • Assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives, and curated and produced exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life and appeal to different learning styles.
  • 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.
  • Interactive data maps help students take a closer look at the data presented in the print text and display additional data not found in the corresponding text maps.


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ISBN: 9781506362663
ISBN: 9781506362670