Sociology, Understanding and Changing the Social World

Sociology, Understanding and Changing the Social World



Many sociology instructors and students are first drawn to sociology because they want to learn a body of knowledge that could help them make a difference in the world at large. Steve Barkan’s Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World is designed for this audience. It presents a sociological understanding of society but also a sociological perspective on how to change society, while maintaining the structure and contents of the best mainstream texts.

Several pedagogical features of the book convey the sociological perspective and change theme:

Almost every chapter begins with a Social Issues in the News story from recent media coverage that recounts an event related to the chapter’s topic and proceeds with thought-provoking discussion about the social issue related to the event. Additional discussion elsewhere in the chapter helps students understand the basis for this issue and related issues. This dual treatment of the news story will help students appreciate the relevance of sociology for newsworthy events and issues.



Publication Date



Open Textbooks


Minneapolis, MN


texbook, social change, theory snapshots, social structure, collective behavior




Saylor URL: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

Sociology, Understanding and Changing the Social World

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