Introduction to Sociology - 3e (OpenStax)

January 28, 2022 | Updated: July 11, 2022
Author: Tonja R. Conerly, San Jacinto College, Kathleen Holmes, Northern Essex Community College, Asha Lal Tamang, Minneapolis Community and Technical College & North Hennepin Community College, et al.

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. 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; the authors seek to lay the foundation for students to apply what they learn throughout their lives and careers. 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.

Subject Areas
Social Sciences, Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology - 3e (OpenStax) by Tonja R. Conerly, San Jacinto College, Kathleen Holmes, Northern Essex Community College, Asha Lal Tamang, Minneapolis Community and Technical College & North Hennepin Community College, et al. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (1) Avg: 4.2 / 5

Graham Cook

Institution:Capilano UniversityTitle/Position: Instructor, Dept of Sociology and CriminologyCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The content is generally comprehensive in range and covers key terms and concepts. The basic sociological theory divisions are too simplistic and narrow. For example, rather than a broader term like "functionalism," which would properly encompass Durkheim and Comte, the term "structural functionalism" is used, which is more narrowly appropriate for the work of Talcott Parsons. (This reflects a broader US-centric approach). Feminist theory is collapsed into "conflict theory," when it best stands by itself, as it includes both conflict and symbolic interactionist approaches.

Some topics are too brief and under-developed; for example, Chapter 10 on Global Inequality has a far too brief theoretical discussion.

The index is minimal; there are no nested terms, no cross-referencing, and it could capture more elements.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

Photos are well-selected and generally appropriate, although strongly weighted towards US examples. For example, one photo (figure 3.7) has a sign that says "Keep Out/ No Entre" and a caption that reads "Many signs - on streets and in stores - include both English and Spanish." This is obviously inaccurate in Canada and potentially confusing for students.

The section on Karl Marx is inaccurate. I t states that Marx "saw conflict existing between the owners of the means of production - the bourgeoisie - and the laborers, called the proletariat. Marx maintained that these conflicts appeared consistently throughout history..." (p. 105). The bourgeoisie/proletariat class division is specific to capitalism only; previous class conflicts were between slaveowners and slaves, the nobility and peasants, etc.

The section on Max Weber is also problematic. It states, for example, that Weber saw society as "split between owners and labourers," (p. 107) similar to Marx. In fact Weber disagreed with Marx on this point and said that class position was based on market position - not just what you owned, but the amount for which you could sell your labour. Neither a corporate lawyer nor a factory worker may have owned the means of production, but they were clearly in different class positions because of their salary/wage levels.

Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

It seems to be generally up-to-date with many contemporary examples. Relevance for a Canadian readership is poor, as most examples are drawn from the United States. That doesn't prevent them from being useful, but the lack of Candianization is potentially alienating for a Canadian reader or non-American international student studying in Canada.

Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The style is clear and accessible. Descriptions are generally concise and straightforward.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Generally good. Some chapters like chapter 9, Social Stratification, and chapter 10, Global Wealth and Poverty, could more thoroughly incorporate the key theories introduced in the first chapter.

Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

Very easy to separate out into modular sections.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

Within each chapter, the structure is clear and consistent. Across the whole textbook, it follows the traditional divisions that are now established across North American textbooks.

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The printed text layout is generally good, although the photos are often smaller than they could be.

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

Not that I could find.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

Generally very good. For example, Chapter 12, Gender, Sex, and Sexuality, has a good discussion of trans identity and LGBTQ issues. This is one section that would benefit from even more recent updating, in particular regarding the "moral panic" being induced around trans issues in the US, UK, and elsewhere. Chapter 11, Race and Ethnicity, has a fine discussion of intersectionality but is missing a proper discussion of the key element of racialized inequality in Canada: colonial domination of Indigenous peoples. The US process of colonialism is similar but has very important differences. (E.g. the discussion of "three sovereigns" for Native Americans as opposed to the very different constitutional position of Indigenous peoples in Canada - p. 308).

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I do not recommend this book. It is much too heavy with US content. US-based examples can of course be great illustrations and are often easy for Canadian readers to relate to, especially when involving popular culture. However, they often obscure key differences between the two countries, in terms of political structure, economic structure, dynamics of racialized and gender inequality, etc. etc.

There is much that is very good in the book, such as the concision, clarity, and focus on real-world examples. Unfortunately I think Canadianization of the text would be necessary to make the book useful for a BC audience, and that would be a huge job.