The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology (Fifth Edition)
The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. We hope you will appreciate what is new not only in the textbook’s fresh look and updated materials, but also what is new in the innovative ways it goes about teaching sociology. That’s exactly what we set out to do when we first embarked on the original project of writing this textbook, and it’s what we continue to do here in the fifth edition.
At the beginning, we’d had years of experience in college and university classrooms, teaching Introductory Sociology to thousands of students from all backgrounds and walks of life; we had discovered a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to making sociology exciting and effective. As seasoned instructors, we had developed an approach to teaching and learning that reflected our passion for the subject and our concern with best practices in pedagogy. But we were having trouble finding a textbook that encompassed all the elements we had identified and that made such a difference in our own experience. We were tired of seeing the same old formulas found in almost every textbook. And we figured we were not alone. Other students and instructors were probably equally frustrated with repetitive formats, stodgy styles, and seemingly irrelevant or overly predictable materials. That is a great misfortune, for sociology, at its best, is a discipline that holds great value and is both intellectually stimulating and personally resonant. While the impetus to write this textbook began as a way of answering our own needs, our goal became to create a textbook of even greater benefit to others who might also be looking for something new.
We are gratified by the response The Real World has received from instructors and students alike, so we are preserving many of the features that have made the textbook a success. At the same time, we have done more than just simply revise the textbook.
In this edition, you will find significant new content and added features that will further enhance the teaching and learning process, and keep us as close to the cutting edge as possible. Many of the original elements we developed for students and instructors appear again in these pages. As a foundation, we have maintained a writing style that we hope is accessible and interesting as well as scholarly. One of the core pedagogical strengths of this textbook is its focus on everyday life, the media, technology, and pop culture. We know that the combination of these themes is inherently appealing to students, and that it relates to their lives. And since both new generation and more experienced sociology instructors might also be looking for something different, another of this book’s strengths is an integrated emphasis on critical thinking and analytic skills. Rather than merely presenting or reviewing major concepts in sociology, which can often seem dry and remote, we seek to make the abstract more concrete through real- world examples and hands- on applications.
In this text we take a fresh and accessible theoretical approach appropriate to our contemporary world. While we emphasize the interactionist perspective, we cover a range of theoretical thought, including postmodernism. We also build innovative methodological exercises into each chapter, giving students the opportunity to put into practice what they are learning. We present material that is familiar and relevant to students in a way that allows them to make profound analytic connections between their individual lives and the structure of their society. We provide instructors with ways to reenergize their teaching, and we give even general education students a reason to be fascinated by and engrossed in their sociology courses. We do this by staying in touch with our students and the rapidly changing real world, and by bringing our insight, experience, and intellectual rigor to bear on a new way of teaching introductory sociology.
Whether you are a student or an instructor, you have probably seen a lot of textbooks. As authors, we have thought very carefully about how to write this textbook so as to make it more meaningful and effective for you. We think it is important to point out some newly added and unique features of this textbook and to tell you why they are included and what we hope you will get out of them.
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