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Introduction

In putting together lectures for this course I attempt to build on the material in the textbook by introducing you to some examples of sociology's most interesting research and by connecting the course material to contemporary issues. This page is intended to help you examine these topics further by (1) sharing with you my sources for lecture material and (2) suggesting some additional readings.

I am on a constant look-out for materials to add to the class so if you run across some interesting information connected to anything in the textbook, feel free to give me a heads-up. Likewise, if you think something should be added to this page, let me know. Also, please contact me if you want some additional reading suggestions on these or other topics.

Chapter 1: Taking a New Look at a Familiar World

The theme of the class is drawn largely from the perspective of Peter Berger, whose book Invitation to Sociology (1963, 191 pp.) was a text in the intro class I took as an undergraduate. The idea of the social construction of reality was developed in The Social Construction of Reality (1966, 219 pp.) by Berger and Thomas Luckmann.

The concept of the sociological imagination is explained in C. Wright Mills' book The Sociological Imagination (1959).

I illustrated different concepts related to the course theme with interesting sociological studies:

  • Patti & Peter Adler's research on elementary school students can be found in their book Peer Power. The part of their research I discussed in class was from their 1992 article with Steven Kless, "Socialization to Gender Roles: Popularity among Elementary School Boys and Girls." Sociology of Education 65(3):169-187.
  • Beth Montemurro's research on engagement proposals can be found in her book Something Old, Something Bold. The information I presented in lecture was from her 2002 article "'You Go 'Cause You Have to': The Bridal Shower as a Ritual of Obligation." Symbolic Interaction 25(1):67-92.
  • The information on sexual partners I presented is from the National Health and Social Life Survey. A readable summary of the study is the book Sex in America by Robert Michael, John Gagnon, Edward Laumann and Gina Kolata.
  • Michelle Wolkomir's research on Christian gay men is presented in her book Be Not Deceived. The information I presented was from her 2001 article "Wrestling with the Angels of Meaning: The Revisionist Ideological Work of Gay and Ex-Gay Christian Men." Symbolic Interaction 24(4):407-424.
  • David Grazian's research on "girl hunting" is from his 2007 article "The Girl Hunt: Urban Nightlife and the Performance of Masculinity as Collective Activity." Symbolic Interaction 30(2):221-243.
  • The information on a social construction of stalking is from Joel Best's book Random Violence.