Introduction to Sociology

Welcome to Introduction to Sociology, an OpenStax College resource created with several goals in
mind: accessibility, affordability, customization, and student engagement—all while encouraging
learners toward high levels of learning. Instructors and students alike will find that this textbook offers
a strong foundation in sociology. It is available for free online and in low-cost print and e-book editions.
To broaden access and encourage community curation, Introduction to Sociology is “open source”
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Everyone is invited to submit
examples, emerging research, and other feedback to enhance and strengthen the material and keep it
current and relevant for today’s students. You can make suggestions by contacting us at You can find the status of the project, as well as alternate versions,
corrections, etc., on the StaxDash at ( .
To the Student
This book is written for you and is based on the teaching and research experience of numerous
sociologists. In today’s global socially networked world, the topic of Sociology is more relevant than
ever before. We hope that through this book, you will learn how simple, everyday human actions and
interactions can change the world. In this book, you will find applications of Sociology concepts that
are relevant, current, and balanced.
To the Instructor
This text is intended for a one-semester introductory course. Since current events influence our social
perspectives and the field of Sociology in general, OpenStax College encourages instructors to keep this
book fresh by sending in your up-to-date examples to so that students and
instructors around the country can relate and engage in fruitful discussions.
General Approach
the book adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course.
In addition to comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories,
we have incorporated section reviews with engaging questions, and discussions that help students apply the
sociological imagination, and features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways.
Although this text can be modified and reorganized to suit your needs, the standard version is organized
so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences.
Features of OpenStax Introduction to Sociology
The following briefly describes the special features of this text.
Introduction to Sociology OpenStax is organized on Connexions ( ( ) as a collection of modules
that can be rearranged and modified to suit the needs of a particular professor or class. That being said,
modules often contain references to content in other modules, as most topics in sociology cannot be
discussed in isolation.

Learning Objectives
Every module begins with a set of clear and concise learning objectives. These objectives are designed
to help the instructor decide what content to include or assign, and to guide the student with respect to
what he or she can expect to learn. After completing the module and end-of-module exercises, students
should be able to demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives.
Key Features
The following features show students the dynamic nature of Sociology:
Sociological Research: Highlights specific current and relevant research studies. Examples
include “Is Music a Cultural Universal?” and “Deceptive Divorce Rates.”
• Sociology in the Real World: Ties chapter content to student life and discusses sociology in
terms of the everyday. Topics include “Secrets of the McJob” and “Grade Inflation: When Is an A
Really a C?”
• Big Picture: Features present sociological concepts at a national or international level, including
“Education in Afghanistan” and “American Indian Tribes and Environmental Racism.”
• Case Study: Describes real-life people whose experiences relate to chapter content, such as
“Catherine Middleton: The Commoner Who Would Be Queen.”
• Social Policy and Debate: Discusses political issues that relate to chapter content, such as “The
Legalese of Sex and Gender” and “Is the U.S. Bilingual?”
Section Summaries
Section summaries distill the information in each section for both students and instructors down to key,
concise points addressed in the section.
Key Terms
Key terms are bold and are followed by a definition in context. Definitions of key terms are also listed
in the Glossary, which appears at the end of the module online and at the end of the chapter in print.
Section Quizzes
Section quizzes provide opportunities to apply and test the information students learn throughout each
section. Both multiple-choice and short-response questions feature a variety of question types and range
of difficulty.
Further Research

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