Sociology: Exploring Human Society, is a college level introductory audio textbook for Sociology. This comprehensive audio textbook has 17 chapters covering the beginnings of sociology as an academic research discipline, culture and media, sociological research, socialization across the life course, social structure and social interaction, groups and organizations, deviance and crime, and social class and social stratification, global stratification, race and ethnicity, gender and sex, sexuality, family, religion, education and healthcare, politics, the economy, and population and society. Each chapter begins with an introduction that serves to guide the student and ends with a summary of the most important points.
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I generally spend my time in psychology and neuroscience books. I've been wanting to start going after people-system topics for some time, so I thought sociology was a logical field to investigate. This book, an entry level text book, seemed like a good place to start.
It was. Sort of. The field and theories are interesting and thought provoking. But ...
What struck me was the great lengths the author went through to point out how sociology relies on the scientific method. Good. Then, everything seemed to be implicitly or explicitly couched in unsupported value judgements. Distracting to infuriating.
The author is at his worst as a scholar in the last chapters where he gives an irrational, overly simplistic summary (commentary) of the terrible state of the world, from our near complete destruction of the environment (I submit that in fact the planet isn't practically destroyed) to how the poor Katrina response was clearly racist (it may have been a contributing factor, but it certainly isn't the case closed explanation). The author even describes George Zimmerman's part in the Trsyvon Martin incident as having been panic because he (George) confused Trsyvon's skin color with a weapon. Really? This is your scholarly assessment of the situation? Shameful. This might be appropriate for a New York Times op-ed, but in my opinion, it has no place in a text book of a scientific field.
This author's approach is exactly why sociologists get little respect as scientists, which is too bad because we desperately need a better understanding of the workings of relationships among and within societies.
Bottom line: I recommend this book only if you are ok with a bunch of personal opinion and (very liberal) values mixed in with presentation of an introduction to a field of study.Rick
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