Sociology: A Biographical Approach

Sociology: A Biographical Approach

Sociology: A Biographical Approach

Sociology: A Biographical Approach


The purpose of this second edition is to make the book more "teachable," both from the instructor's and the student's point of view. To this end a new section entitled "Recent Work" has been added to each chapter, focusing on a current issue under debate by sociologists in the area covered by the particular chapter. Together, these sections provide a detailed picture of the major problems that concern American sociologists today.

Toward this purpose of enhancing the text as a teaching tool, one of us has edited a reader that specifically follows the organization of chapters in the present text: Brigitte Berger, ed., Readings in Sociology—A Biographical Approach (New York: Basic Books, 1974). We have taken the liberty of making reference in each "Recent Work" section to the appropriate texts in the reader. We have also avoided overlap between texts recommended in the present book and those in the reader. Consequently, the suggested readings in each section of "Recent Work" can be used with the reader, or separately.

We would like to thank Jane Canning, Susan Gray, and Dorothy Jessop for research assistance in the preparation of this edition.


This book is designed to serve as a textbook for introductory sociology courses in undergraduate colleges. We hope that it is readable enough to be of interest also to some who are not enrolled in such courses.

Sociology textbooks have multiplied like the sands of the sea. It makes sense, therefore, to indicate here the major characteristics of our book.

We have given the book the subtitle "A Biographical Approach." What we mean by this is that we have organized the material, as far as possible, in a sequence that corresponds to the stages of social . . .

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