Skip to ContentGo to accessibility page
OpenStax Logo
  1. Preface
  2. 1 An Introduction to Sociology
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 What Is Sociology?
    3. 1.2 The History of Sociology
    4. 1.3 Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology
    5. 1.4 Why Study Sociology?
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  3. 2 Sociological Research
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Approaches to Sociological Research
    3. 2.2 Research Methods
    4. 2.3 Ethical Concerns
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  4. 3 Culture
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 What Is Culture?
    3. 3.2 Elements of Culture
    4. 3.3 High, Low, Pop, Sub, Counter-culture and Cultural Change
    5. 3.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Culture
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  5. 4 Society and Social Interaction
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Types of Societies
    3. 4.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Society
    4. 4.3 Social Constructions of Reality
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  6. 5 Socialization
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Theories of Self-Development
    3. 5.2 Why Socialization Matters
    4. 5.3 Agents of Socialization
    5. 5.4 Socialization Across the Life Course
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  7. 6 Groups and Organization
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 Types of Groups
    3. 6.2 Group Size and Structure
    4. 6.3 Formal Organizations
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  8. 7 Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Deviance and Control
    3. 7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance and Crime
    4. 7.3 Crime and the Law
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  9. 8 Media and Technology
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Technology Today
    3. 8.2 Media and Technology in Society
    4. 8.3 Global Implications of Media and Technology
    5. 8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  10. 9 Social Stratification in the United States
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 What Is Social Stratification?
    3. 9.2 Social Stratification and Mobility in the United States
    4. 9.3 Global Stratification and Inequality
    5. 9.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  11. 10 Global Inequality
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Global Stratification and Classification
    3. 10.2 Global Wealth and Poverty
    4. 10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  12. 11 Race and Ethnicity
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups
    3. 11.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity
    4. 11.3 Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism
    5. 11.4 Intergroup Relationships
    6. 11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United States
    7. Key Terms
    8. Section Summary
    9. Section Quiz
    10. Short Answer
    11. Further Research
    12. References
  13. 12 Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 Sex, Gender, Identity, and Expression
    3. 12.2 Gender and Gender Inequality
    4. 12.3 Sexuality
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  14. 13 Aging and the Elderly
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 Who Are the Elderly? Aging in Society
    3. 13.2 The Process of Aging
    4. 13.3 Challenges Facing the Elderly
    5. 13.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Aging
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  15. 14 Relationships, Marriage, and Family
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 What Is Marriage? What Is a Family?
    3. 14.2 Variations in Family Life
    4. 14.3 Challenges Families Face
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  16. 15 Religion
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 The Sociological Approach to Religion
    3. 15.2 World Religions
    4. 15.3 Religion in the United States
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  17. 16 Education
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 Education around the World
    3. 16.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Education
    4. 16.3 Issues in Education
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  18. 17 Government and Politics
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Power and Authority
    3. 17.2 Forms of Government
    4. 17.3 Politics in the United States
    5. 17.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Government and Power
    6. Key Terms
    7. Section Summary
    8. Section Quiz
    9. Short Answer
    10. Further Research
    11. References
  19. 18 Work and the Economy
    1. Introduction to Work and the Economy
    2. 18.1 Economic Systems
    3. 18.2 Globalization and the Economy
    4. 18.3 Work in the United States
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  20. 19 Health and Medicine
    1. Introduction
    2. 19.1 The Social Construction of Health
    3. 19.2 Global Health
    4. 19.3 Health in the United States
    5. 19.4 Comparative Health and Medicine
    6. 19.5 Theoretical Perspectives on Health and Medicine
    7. Key Terms
    8. Section Summary
    9. Section Quiz
    10. Short Answer
    11. Further Research
    12. References
  21. 20 Population, Urbanization, and the Environment
    1. Introduction
    2. 20.1 Demography and Population
    3. 20.2 Urbanization
    4. 20.3 The Environment and Society
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. Further Research
    10. References
  22. 21 Social Movements and Social Change
    1. Introduction to Social Movements and Social Change
    2. 21.1 Collective Behavior
    3. 21.2 Social Movements
    4. 21.3 Social Change
    5. Key Terms
    6. Section Summary
    7. Section Quiz
    8. Short Answer
    9. References
  23. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
    20. Chapter 20
    21. Chapter 21
  24. Index

About OpenStax

OpenStax is a non-profit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of modern college courses. Unlike traditional textbooks, OpenStax resources live online and are owned by the community of educators using them. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

About OpenStax Resources

Customization

Introduction to Sociology 3e is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) license, which means that you can distribute, remix, and build upon the content, as long as you provide attribution to OpenStax and its content contributors.

Because our books are openly licensed, you are free to use the entire book or select only the sections that are most relevant to the needs of your course. Feel free to remix the content by assigning your students certain chapters and sections in your syllabus, in the order that you prefer. You can even provide a direct link in your syllabus to the sections in the web view of your book.

Instructors also have the option of creating a customized version of their OpenStax book. The custom version can be made available to students in low-cost print or digital form through their campus bookstore. Visit the Instructor Resources section of your book page on OpenStax.org for more information.

Art attribution

In Introduction to Sociology 3e, most photos and third-party illustrations contain attribution to their creator, rights holder, host platform, and/or license within the caption. Because the art is openly licensed, anyone may reuse the art as long as they provide the same attribution to its original source. To maximize readability and content flow, some art does not include attribution in the text. This art is part of the public domain or under a CC0 or similar license, and can be reused without attribution. For illustrations (e.g. graphs, charts, etc.) that are not credited, you may assume they are developed by OpenStax and should be attributed as such.

Errata

All OpenStax textbooks undergo a rigorous review process. However, like any professional-grade textbook, errors sometimes occur. In addition, the wide range of topics, data, and legal circumstances in sociology change frequently, and portions of the textbook may become out of date. Since our books are web-based, we can make updates periodically when deemed pedagogically necessary. If you have a correction to suggest, submit it through the link on your book page on openstax.org. Subject matter experts review all errata suggestions. OpenStax is committed to remaining transparent about all updates, so you will also find a list of past errata changes on your book page on openstax.org.

Format

You can access this textbook for free in web view or PDF through OpenStax.org, and for a low cost in print.

About Introduction to Sociology 3e

Introduction to Sociology 3e aligns to the topics and objectives of many introductory sociology courses. It is arranged in a manner that provides foundational sociological theories and contexts, then progresses through various aspects of human and societal interactions. The new edition is focused on driving meaningful and memorable learning experiences related to critical thinking about society and culture. Students are challenged to look at events and situations in new ways, and, as often as possible, consider the reasons people behave and gather in the ways they do. The text includes comprehensive coverage of core concepts, discussions and data relevant to a diverse audience, and features that draw learners into the discipline in powerful and personal ways. Overall, Introduction to Sociology 3e aims to center the course and discipline as crucial elements for understanding relationships, society, and civic engagement; we seek to lay the foundation for students to apply what they learn throughout their lives and careers.

Changes to the Third Edition

The guiding principle of the revision was to build from the concept that students are not simply observers of the world, but are participants in it. Many discussions of new or ongoing changes have been improved in tone and content, based on reviewer feedback, to better reflect student experiences. Of course, much of the information in the text will be new to students, but the concepts, examples, and data are written in a way that will encourage students to apply their own experiences and to better consider those outside of their own.

The purpose of these changes, however, is not only to make the book more informative and effective, but more so to create additional opportunities for instructors to launch relevant and interesting discussions. In concert with the changes in the text, the accompanying lecture materials have been thoroughly revised and enhanced to include material beyond what is in the book, in order for instructors--at their discretion--to deepen these engagements.

A number of chapter introductions have been revised with substantial vignettes or narratives relating to the chapter content. Examples include the experience of a teenager in sub-Saharan Africa (chapter 4), a comparison of the emergence of the Tea Party and the MeToo movements (chapter 6), a more nuanced and historically accurate view of the issue of marijuana criminalization and legalization (chapter 7), and a discussion of voter referendums and subsequent governmental responses (chapter 17). Other references and coverage are meant to relate to students’ careers; these include issues around online privacy, the impacts of posting offensive content, and new material on adult socialization and workplace culture.

Extensive use of survey outcomes and governmental data is designed to add current perspectives on the concepts and provide more discussion starters for faculty and students. Some of these outcomes may challenge preconceived notions, while others may simply be interesting to discuss. For example, poll outcomes regarding perspectives on “When Does Someone Become Old?” in the chapter on Aging and the Elderly may be notable on their own, but could be also used to begin reflective discussions or further research. The COVID-19 pandemic is referenced frequently, but its inclusion is meant to offer opportunities for students to share their own stories, and for instructors to lead into more current outcomes.

Finally, the authors, reviewers, and the entire team worked to build understanding of the causes and impacts of discrimination and prejudice. Introduction to Sociology 3e contains dozens of examples of discrimination and its outcomes regarding social science, society, institutions, and individuals. The text seeks to strike a balance between confronting the damaging aspects of our culture and history and celebrating those who have driven change and overcome challenges. The core discussion of these topics are present in Chapter 11 on Race and Ethnicity, and Chapter 12 on Gender, Sex, and Sexuality, but their causes and effects are extensively discussed in the context of other topics, including education, law enforcement, government, healthcare, the economy, and so on. Together and when connected by an instructor, these elements have potential for deep and lasting effects.

Pedagogical Foundation

Learning Objectives

Every module begins with a set of clear and concise learning objectives, which have been thoroughly revised to be both measurable and more closely aligned with current teaching practice. These objectives are designed to help the instructor decide what content to include or assign, and to guide student expectations of learning. After completing the module and end-of-module exercises, students should be able to demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives.

Key Features

  • Sociological Research: Highlights specific current and relevant research studies.
  • Sociology in the Real World: Ties chapter content to student life and discusses sociology in terms of the everyday. New and updated examples include discussions of princess culture, social media employment consequences, and sports teams with Native American names/mascots.
  • Big Picture: Present sociological concepts at a national or international level, including the most recent mass migration crises, the rise of e-waste, and global differences in education pathways.
  • Social Policy and Debate: Discusses political issues that relate to chapter content, such as “The Legalese of Sex and Gender” and “Is the U.S. Bilingual?”

Section Summaries

Section summaries distill the information in each section for both students and instructors down to key, concise points addressed in the section.

Key Terms

Key terms are bold and are followed by a definition in context. Definitions of key terms are also listed in the Glossary, which appears at the end of the chapter.

Section Quizzes

Section quizzes provide opportunities to apply and test the information students learn throughout each section. Both multiple-choice and short-response questions feature a variety of question types and range of difficulty.

Further Research

This feature helps students further explore the section topic through links to other information sources or discussions.

Acknowledgements

Introduction to Sociology 3e is based on the work of numerous professors, writers, editors, and reviewers who are able to bring topics to students in the most engaging way.

We would like to thank all those listed below as well as many others who have contributed their time and energy to review and provide feedback on the manuscript. Their input has been critical in maintaining the pedagogical integrity and accuracy of the text.

About the Authors

Senior Contributing Authors

Tonja R. Conerly, San Jacinto College
Kathleen Holmes, Northern Essex Community College
Asha Lal Tamang, Minneapolis Community and Technical College and North Hennepin Community College

Contributing Authors

Heather Griffiths, Fayetteville State University
Jennifer Hensley, Vincennes University
Jennifer L. Trost, University of St. Thomas
Pamela Alcasey, Central Texas College
Kate McGonigal, Fort Hays State University
Nathan Keirns, Zane State College
Eric Strayer, Hartnell College
Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Georgia Perimeter College
Gail Scaramuzzo, Lackawanna College
Tommy Sadler, Union University
Sally Vyain, Ivy Tech Community College
Jeff Bry, Minnesota State Community and Technical College at Moorhead
Faye Jones, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Reviewers

Karen Sabbah, Los Angeles Pierce College
Nikitah Imani, University of Nebraska - Omaha
Vera Kennedy, West Hills College
Kathryn Kikendall, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Anna Penner, Pepperdine University
Patricia Johnson Coxx, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Mitchell Mackinem, Wingate University
Rick Biesanz, Corning Community College
Cynthia Heddlesten, Metropolitan Community College
Janet Hund, Long Beach City College
Thea Alvarado, College of the Canyons
Daysha Lawrence, Stark State College
Sally Vyain, Ivy Tech Community College
Natashia Willmott, Stark State College
Angela M. Adkins, Stark State College
Carol Jenkins, Glendale Community College
Lillian Marie Wallace, Pima Community College
J. Brandon Wallace, Middle Tennessee State University
Gerry R. Cox, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
David Hunt, Augusta State University
Jennifer L. Newman-Shoemake, Angelo State University, and Cisco College
Matthew Morrison, University of Virginia
Sue Greer-Pitt, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College
Faye Jones, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Athena Smith, Hillsborough Community College
Kim Winford, Blinn College
Kevin Keating, Broward College
Russell Davis, University of West Alabama
Kimberly Boyd, Piedmont Virginia Community College
Lynn Newhart, Rockford College
Russell C. Ward, Maysville Community and Technical College
Xuemei Hu, Union County College
Margaret A. Choka, Pellissippi State Community College
Cindy Minton, Clark State Community College
Nili Kirschner, Woodland Community College
Shonda Whetstone, Blinn College
Elizabeth Arreaga, instructor emerita at Long Beach City College
Florencio R. Riguera, Catholic University of America
John B. Gannon, College of Southern Nevada
Gerald Titchener, Des Moines Area Community College
Rahime-Malik Howard, El Centro College, and Collin College
Jeff Bry, Minnesota State Community and Technical College at Moorhead
Cynthia Tooley, Metropolitan Community College at Blue River
Carol Sebilia, Diablo Valley College
Marian Moore, Owens Community College
John Bartkowski, University of Texas at San Antonio
Shelly Dutchin, Western Technical College

Additional Resources

Student and Instructor Resources

We’ve compiled additional resources for both students and instructors, including Getting Started Guides, a test bank, and lecture slides. Instructor resources require a verified instructor account, which you can apply for when you log in or create your account on openstax.org. Take advantage of these resources to supplement your OpenStax book.

Community Hubs

OpenStax partners with the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) to offer Community Hubs on OER Commons—a platform for instructors to share community-created resources that support OpenStax books, free of charge. Through our Community Hubs, instructors can upload their own materials or download resources to use in their own courses, including additional ancillaries, teaching material, multimedia, and relevant course content. We encourage instructors to join the hubs for the subjects most relevant to your teaching and research as an opportunity both to enrich your courses and to engage with other faculty. To reach the Community Hubs, visit www.oercommons.org/hubs/openstax.

Technology partners

As allies in making high-quality learning materials accessible, our technology partners offer optional low-cost tools that are integrated with OpenStax books. To access the technology options for your text, visit your book page on openstax.org.

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-3e/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-3e/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Jun 3, 2021 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.