For Students of Society
The Living Text of Sociology was conceived after I read Ryan T. Craigus the Future of Textbooks from the Electronic Journal of Sociology. I've also heard a number of complaints about the quality of sociology textbooks at the introductory level. The social fact is that sociology texts are...well...boring. I've been involved in the textbook ordering process and, after reviewing countless Intro to Soc textbooks, I concluded that they are all, pretty much the same. With few exceptions they are laid out almost identically, include the same elements, are organized the same way and are equally mundane. C. Wright Mills criticized sociologists for their lack of writing style and imagination and, unfortunately, nothing has changed much since the 1950's with regard to teaching sociology.
So I've taken on the endeavor to create a sociological text that breaks away from the standard formula of introducing sociology to students. If scholars cannot instill interest in their introductory survey courses there's little hope for expanding the field of sociology. The Living Text aims to change the construct that sociology is a boring, ivory tower corner of meaningless academe. As such, there are certain goals that I have in working on this text.
1. It must defy the traditional textbook format which prevails in sociology, that of Introduction...Methods...Culture..Stratification...Inequality...etc.
2. It must eschew the moribund style of sociology text prose and structure (Chapter: Culture -- Subchapter 1: Functionalism and Culture -- Subchapter 2: Conflict and Culture)
3. It must be presented in a way so as to enhance its readability and accessibility.
4. It must be experientially motivated, addressing how sociology is relevant to every day life.
5. It must link to contemporary issues. Studying the founding fathers of sociology is important, but the link between history and current events must be made.
6. It must be interactive, thriving on the input of students, professionals and lay people.
7. It must be fearless. Sociology is going through a transition in the face of postmodern paradigms. The text should not be afraid to take an eclectic approach, combining knowledge from other fields and speculating on the direction of sociology and society in general.
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