It's defined as a scientific study of human society and social relations. It includes but is not limited to the following; sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, and history.
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
How much do parents really matter?
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more.
Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.
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No judgement of taste is innocent. In a word, we are all snobs. Pierre Bourdieu brilliantly illuminates this situation of the middle class in the modern world. France's leading sociologist focusses here on the French bourgeoisie, its tastes and preferences. Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind.In the course of everyday life people constantly choose between what they find aesthetically pleasing and what they consider tacky, merely trendy, or ugly. Bourdieu bases his study on surveys that took into account the multitude of social factors that play a part in a Frenchperson's choice of clothing, furniture, leisure activities, dinner menus for guests, and many other matters of taste. What emerges from his analysis is that social snobbery is everywhere in the bourgeois world. The different aesthetic choices people make are all distinctions-that is, choices made in opposition to those made by other classes. Taste is not pure. Bourdieu finds a world of social meaning in the decision to order bouillabaisse, in our contemporary cult of thinness, in the "California sports" such as jogging and cross-country skiing. The social world, he argues, functions simultaneously as a system of power relations and as a symbolic system in which minute distinctions of taste become the basis for social judgement.The topic of Bourdieu's book is a fascinating one: the strategies of social pretension are always curiously engaging. But the book is more than fascinating. It is a major contribution to current debates on the theory of culture and a challenge to the major theoretical schools in contemporary sociology.
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Economy and Society
Published posthumously in the early 1920's, Max Weber's Economy and Society has since become recognized as one of the greatest sociological treatises of the 20th century, as well as a foundational text of the modern sociological imagination. The first strictly empirical comparison of social structures and normative orders conducted in world-historical depth, this two volume set of Economy and Society--now with new introductory material contextualizing Weber's work for 21st century audiences--looks at social action, religion, law, bureaucracy, charisma, the city, and the political community. Meant as a broad introduction for an educated general public, in its own way Economy and Society is the most demanding textbook yet written by a sociologist. The precision of its definitions, the complexity of its typologies, and the wealth of its historical content make the work an important challenge to our sociological thought: for the advanced undergraduate who gropes for her sense of society, for the graduate student who must develop his own analytical skills, and for the scholar who must match wits with Weber.
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A classic book about the phenomenon of suicide and its social causes written by one of the world's most influential sociologists. Emile Durkheim's Suicide addresses the phenomenon of suicide and its social causes. Written by one of the world's most influential sociologists, this classic argues that suicide primarily results from a lack of integration of the individual into society. Suicide provides readers with an understanding of the impetus for suicide and its psychological impact on the victim, family, and society.
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The Sociological Imagination
C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues. Leading sociologist Amitai Etzioni brings this fortieth anniversary edition up to date with a lucid introduction in which he considers the ways social analysis has progressed since Mills first published his study in 1959. A classic in the field, this book still provides rich food for our imagination.
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The True Believer
"[Eric Hoffer] is a student of extraordinary perception and insight. The range of his reading and research is vast, amazing. [The True Believer is] one of the most provocative books of our immediate day."--Christian Science Monitor The famous bestseller with "concise insight into what drives the mind of the fanatic and the dynamics of a mass movement" (Wall St. Journal) by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Eric Hoffer, The True Believer is a landmark in the field of social psychology, and even more relevant today than ever before in history. Called a "brilliant and original inquiry" and "a genuine contribution to our social thought" by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The True Believer is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the machinations by which an individual becomes a fanatic.
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