I gave my first lecture to college students on September 4, 1973, and my last on April 20, 2017, a teaching career that spanned 15,934 days, or if you prefer, 43 years, 7 months and 16 days. During those years, I taught at least half the courses in the typical undergraduate sociology curriculum and a pretty fair chunk of the graduate curriculum as well.
Each of the book’s chapters is modeled on a course I have taught (usually more than once). These chapters are not course or lecture notes although I have consulted my course notes for specifics and details. The chapters, rather, summarize what I think students ought to have learned and what ordinary people would profit from knowing about the discipline of sociology.
Each chapter distills from its corresponding subject matter what I consider to be the most important lessons, the eight or ten or fifteen most important things about the course topic that people in general would profit from knowing. None of the book is written in the dumbed-down, vapid, anemic prose so characteristic of undergraduate sociology textbooks, but rather in a prose style that I hope appeals to well-educated adults who never got around to studying sociology and are curious about what the discipline has learned and how. Thus, I fancy this book as “an introduction to sociology for grown-ups.”
Although it is not commonly appreciated, much of the substance of modern-day sociological thinking and analysis has entered into and enriched the national political discourse. Middle class, lower class, working class, race, poverty, ethnicity, homelessness, gender, immigration, discrimination, inequality, values, and much, much more – these are fundamentally sociological concepts about which we have learned a great deal over the course of the last half century. It is largely the substance of this learning that I attempt to convey in the book.
Current Status: Forthcoming in 2019 from Rowman and Littlefield. To converse with me about the book, get in touch.