g Easier!Making Everythin ygoloSociLearn to: Recognize the basics of how communitieswork Analyze the cultural impact that race,gender, religion, and sexual orientationhave on society Use and interpret sociological researchmethods Identify the social construction andimpact of crime and devianceJay Gabler, PhDProfessor of Sociology, Rasmussen College

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SociologyFORDUMmIES‰by Jay Gabler, PhD

Sociology For Dummies Published byWiley Publishing, Inc.111 River St.Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774www.wiley.comCopyright 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, IndianaPublished by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, IndianaPublished simultaneously in CanadaNo part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form orby any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior writtenpermission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to theCopyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600.Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley& Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for theRest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way,, Making EverythingEasier, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission.All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associatedwith any product or vendor mentioned in this book.LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NOREPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OFTHE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BECREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIESCONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THEUNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OROTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OFA COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THEAUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCEOF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSESTHE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS ITMAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THISWORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN ANDWHEN IT IS READ.For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer CareDepartment within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.For technical support, please visit also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print maynot be available in electronic books.Library of Congress Control Number: 2010921250ISBN: 978-0-470-57236-8Manufactured in the United States of America10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

About the AuthorJay Gabler is a writer, editor, and college teacher living in Minneapolis. Heholds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and graduate degrees,including a Ph.D. in sociology, from Harvard University. With colleagues,he has published multiple sociological research studies including the bookReconstructing the University (with David John Frank, Stanford UniversityPress, 2006). He currently teaches sociology, psychology, and education atRasmussen College. He is also associate editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet,where he writes regularly on the arts, and author of the most recent editionof the Insiders’ Guide to the Twin Cities (Globe Pequot Press, 2010).

DedicationTo David John Frank and Jason Kaufman, my mentors in sociology.Author’s AcknowledgmentsI owe gratitude to Susan Hobbs and Erin Calligan Mooney, my editors atWiley, for everything they’ve done to make this book a reality. JenniferConnolly also contributed significantly to the first chapters of this book, withhelpful editing and suggestions.My professional training in sociology took place over the course of a decadeat Harvard University; every page in this book benefits indirectly from theinsights and expertise of my then-colleagues in the Department of Sociology.My Harvard classmate Felix Elwert was instrumental in suggesting that I writethis book and connecting me with the publisher. My current colleagues atRasmussen College have also been supportive, as have my coworkers at theTwin Cities Daily Planet. Much of this book was written at the MacalesterCollege library, and I am grateful to that institution for sharing its resources.This book is informed by a range of sources, three of which were particularlyuseful. Randall Collins’s Sociological Insight, as I mention frequently in thetext of this book, was my personal introduction to sociology, and it continues to underlie my perspective on the discipline. I recommend that bookin Chapter 17. A book that I would not recommend to beginners but wouldstrongly recommend to readers interested in really sinking their teeth intosociological theory is Peter Knapp’s One World – Many Worlds: ContemporarySociological Theory, which particularly informed Chapter 3 of this book.Essentials of Sociology, by David B. Brinkerhoff, Lynn K. White, Suzanne T.Ortega, and Rose Weitz, is the text I teach from at Rasmussen and was alsohelpful as I wrote this book.Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed the enthusiastic support of a loving family,both immediate and extended. In particular, my parents, Jim and Jean Gabler,have in every way supported my academic achievements and adventures. AsI wrote this book, many friends — in particular, Anna Meyer — helped sustain me with caring encouragement every day. It meant a lot to me.

Publisher’s AcknowledgmentsWe’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974,outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:Acquisitions, Editorial, andMedia DevelopmentProject Editor: Susan HobbsComposition ServicesProject Coordinator: Sheree MontgomeryCopy Editor: Susan HobbsLayout and Graphics: Ashley Chamberlain,Samantha K. Cherolis, Nikki Gately,Christine WilliamsAssistant Editor: Erin Calligan MooneyProofreader: Evelyn C. GibsonEditorial Program Coordinator: Joe NiesenIndexer: Potomac Indexing, LLCAcquisitions Editor: Stacy KennedyTechnical Editor: Richard JenksEditorial Manager: Jennifer EhrlichEditorial Supervisor and Reprint Editor:Carmen KrikorianEditorial Assistants: David Lutton,Jennette ElNaggarArt Coordinator: Alicia B. SouthCartoons: Rich Tennant( and Editorial for Consumer DummiesDiane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer DummiesKristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director, Consumer DummiesEnsley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, TravelKelly Regan, Editorial Director, TravelPublishing for Technology DummiesAndy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General UserComposition ServicesDebbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services

Contents at a GlanceIntroduction . 1Part I: The Basic Basics . 9Chapter 1: Sociology: Getting Your Head Around It. 11Chapter 2: What Is Sociology, and Why Should I Care? . 23Chapter 3: Making It Up as They Went Along: The History of Sociology . 39Chapter 4: Research Methods: Because You Can’t Put Society in a Test Tube . 59Part II: Seeing Society Like a Sociologist . 79Chapter 5: Socialization: What is “Culture,” and Where Can I Get Some? . 81Chapter 6: Microsociology: If Life Is a Game, What Are the Rules? . 101Chapter 7: Caught in the Web: The Power of Networks . 119Part III: Equality and Inequality in Our Diverse World. 137Chapter 8: Social Stratification: We’re All Equal, But Some of Us AreMore Equal Than Others . 139Chapter 9: Gender and Ethnicity: I Know My Race, But Where’s the Finish Line? . 157Chapter 10: Getting Religion: Faith in the Modern World . 175Chapter 11: Crime and Deviance: I Fought the Law . . . and I Won! . 191Part IV: All Together Now: The Ins and Outsof Social Organization . 211Chapter 12: Corporate Culture: The Study of Organizations (and Disorganizations) . 213Chapter 13: The Rules of the Game: Social Movements and Political Sociology . 233Chapter 14: Urban Sociology and Demographics: (Ain’t No) Lovein the Heart of the City . 253Part V: Sociology and Your Life . 271Chapter 15: Get Born, Get a Job, Get a Kid, Get Out of Here:The Family and the Life Course . 273Chapter 16: Future Passed: Understanding Social Change. 295Part VI: The Part of Tens . 315Chapter 17: Ten Sociology Books That Don’t Feel Like Homework . 317Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Use Sociological Insight in Everyday Life . 323Chapter 19: Ten Myths About Society Busted by Sociology . 333Index . 341

Table of ContentsIntroduction . 1About This Book . 1Conventions Used in This Book . 2Sociology is Controversial: Brace Yourself! . 3How This Book Is Organized . 4Part I: The Basic Basics . 4Part II: Seeing Society Like a Sociologist . 4Part III: Divided — er, United — We Stand:Equality and Inequality in Our Diverse World. 5Part IV: All Together Now: The Ins and Outs of SocialOrganization . 5Part V: Sociology and Your Life . 5Part VI: The Part of Tens . 6Icons Used In This Book . 6Where To Go From Here . 7Part I: The Basic Basics . 9Chapter 1: Sociology: Getting Your Head Around It. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Understanding Sociology. 12Defining sociology. 12The history of sociology . 12Doing sociology . 13Seeing the World as a Sociologist. 14Understanding culture . 14Microsociology . 15Network sociology . 15Understanding Differences Among People and Groups . 16Social stratification . 16Race and sex . 16Religion. 17Crime and deviance . 17Social Organization . 18Corporate culture . 18Social movements and political sociology . 18Urban sociology . 19Sociology and Your Life . 19The life course . 19Social change . 20Sociology for Dummies, for Dummies . 20

xiiSociology For DummiesChapter 2: What Is Sociology, and Why Should I Care? . . . . . . . . . . . .23Figuring Out What Sociology Is. 24Defining sociology. 24Studying society scientifically . 25Asking and answering sociological questions. 26Discovering Where Sociology Is “Done” . 28Colleges and universities . 29Think tanks and research institutes . 29Nonprofit organizations . 30Government . 30Journalism and reporting . 31Business and consulting . 32Everyday life . 32Recognizing How Sociology Affects Your Life and Your World . 33Thinking about the social world in an objective,value-free way . 33Visualizing connections across times and places . 35Uncovering what really matters . . . and what doesn’t . 35Informing social policy . 37Keeping a unique perspective for everyday problems . 38Chapter 3: Making It Up as They Went Along:The History of Sociology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39So . . . Who Cares about History? . 39Thinking about Society before There Was Sociology . 40People are the same everywhere you go . . . exceptwhen they aren’t. 41Pre-sociologists: People with ideas about society . 42Political and industrial revolution: Ready or not,here it comes . 42The Development of “Sociology” . 44Figuring out life with positivism . 44Common themes of early sociologists . 45Sociology: The most ambitious science. 46Sociology’s Power Trio . 47Karl Marx. 48Emile Durkheim . 50Max Weber . 52Sociology in the 20th Century . 53Taking it to the streets: The Chicago School . 54Mass society: Are we, or are we not, sheep?. 55The Power Elite: Marx’s revenge . 56Sociology Today . 58

Table of ContentsChapter 4: Research Methods: Because You Can’t PutSociety in a Test Tube . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59The Steps of Sociological Research . 60Ask your question . 60Check the literature . 61Operationalize your question and find your data . 62Analyze your data . 64Interpret your results . 64Choosing a Method . 66Quantitative vs. qualitative . 66Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal . 68Hybrid methods . 69Analyzing Analytical Tools . 70Statistics . 70Qualitative data . 72Preparing For Potential Pitfalls . 73Data/theory mismatch . 73Getting overzealous . 73The missing links . 75Statistical snafus . 77Mistakes . . . just plain oops!. 77Part II: Seeing Society Like a Sociologist . 79Chapter 5: Socialization: What is “Culture,” andWhere Can I Get Some? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81Understanding What Culture Is — and Isn’t . 82Defining “culture”. 82Breaking down structure . 83Examining the culture-structure continuum . 85Studying Culture: Makin’ It and Takin’ It . 87Other angles on culture . 88The production of culture . 89The reception of culture . 90Paddling the “Mainstream” . 91Subculture. 92Microcultures . 93Socialization: Where You Connect in Culture . 94Nature vs. nurture: Social psychology . 95You are who other people think you are . 96Culture Paradox: Pulling Us Together and Pushing Us Apart. 98Uniting through culture . 98Dividing because of culture . 99xiii

xivSociology For DummiesChapter 6: Microsociology: If Life Is a Game,What Are the Rules? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101Within You and Without You: The Paradox of Society . 102Social facts: The sum of our parts . 102Use a tool (from your social repertoire) — don’t be one. 104Rational — and Irrational — Choices . 106Making rational choices — or, at least, trying to. 107D’oh! Making poor choices . 109Symbolic Interactionism: Life is a Stage . 114Play ball! The rules of the game . 115Stop frontin’: Switching roles, changing frames . 116Chapter 7: Caught in the Web: The Power of Networks . . . . . . . . . . .119The Global Village: Seeing Society as a Network . 119It’s all about you: Egocentric networks. 120A web of relationships. 122The Strength of Weak Ties . 124Why your acquaintances are more valuable than yourbest friends . 124Find a structural hole and jump in! . 127Insights from Network Analysis . 129The difference between “your society” and your society . 129Opening the channels of communication . 132Social networking online: Making the invisible visible . 133Part III: Equality and Inequality in Our Diverse World . 137Chapter 8: Social Stratification: We’re All Equal,But Some of Us Are More Equal Than Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139Excavating the Social Strata . 140Understanding social inequality . 140The perennial debate: Is inequality necessary? . 142The Many Means of Inequality . 145Income and wealth. 145Occupation . 146Innate ability . 147Motivation . 148Connections . 149Credentials . 150Education . 151Specialized knowledge . 151Race/sex/caste discrimination . 153Age discrimination . 153Comparing inequality internationally . 154

Table of ContentsChapter 9: Gender and Ethnicity: I Know My Race,But Where’s the Finish Line? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157Bias and Discrimination: A Two-Sided Coin . 158Race and Ethnicity. 160You can choose your ethnicity, but you can’t chooseyour race . 160Racial discrimination: Conscious and unconscious . 162The myth of the “model minority”. 165Immigration and “assimilation” (or not) . 167Sex and Gender . 169“You’ve come a long way, baby”?: The women’smovement and its discontents . 169GBLTQ rights and the deconstruction of gender . 172Race, Ethnicity, Sex, and Gender: Why They Still Matter . 173Chapter 10: Getting Religion: Faith in the Modern World. . . . . . . . . .175Understanding Religion in History . 176Marx: Opiate of the people . 176Emile Durkheim: A metaphor for society. 177Weber: A switchman on the tracks. 180Religion in Theory . . . and in Practice . 181Religious ideas, ideology, and values . 181Open the church: Religious organizations . 183Faith and Freedom in the World Today . 185Shopping for God . 185Belief, action, and everything in between. 187Chapter 11: Crime and Deviance: I Fought the Law . . .and I Won! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .191All Crime is Deviance, but Not All Deviance is a Crime . 192Criminals in Society. 193Some criminals are just bad people (but . . . ) . 193Some criminals are “driven to it” (but . . . ) . 194Some crime is simply normal . 195The Social Construction of Crime . 197In the courts . 197On the streets . 199Becoming Deviant . 201Fighting Crime . 203What works, and what doesn’t . 203America’s high incarceration rate .

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