Thinking Sociologically 3rd Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
When the publisher first suggested a third edition, I contacted Zygmunt andasked what he thought about the idea. He thought it was a good one, but it was not something he wished to undertake himself. So we agreed I would produce the third edition and he suggested we move the authorship to place me as the first author. I have not done that. The book has sold extensively and been translated into a dozen languages. It is, if not unique, certainly unusual in its format and I believe this is something to be preserved. Zygmunt devoted his life to greater understanding of the human condition and its improvement and the book is dedicated to him.
A great deal of change has happened since the last edition was published. Some of you reading this book will have grown up with and been born into an age of information technology in which assumptions of connectedness across space and time and the use of social media are commonplace. Like all epochs, those who seek to characterize them reach for new descriptions often encapsulated in acronyms. Of course there are contemporary issues requiring novel ways of understanding and these are reflected in the new edition. However, we should not forget history in our fast-paced world, for it acts as a corrective to our characterizations and enables us to learn from the past in order to inform the present and future. As we shall see, communication is enabled in new ways, but it also has the power to reinforce, reinterpret, and reconfigure our relations to each other in older ways.
Issues concerned with climate change, sustainability, advances in technology, inequality, social justice, and inclusion, to name a few, have all gained more prominence. With those and the above changes in mind, the book has been revised with new materials and discussions to reflect these and other transformations in our lives. In the face of these changes, the ability to think sociologically remains a vital component for understanding not only their contours and dynamics, but also their consequences for how we organize our societies, understand ourselves and lead our lives. This book is a route into that way of thinking.
Preface to the Second Edition ix
Preface to the Third Edition xi
Introduction: Crafting Sociological Lenses 1
Part I Action and Understanding in Everyday Life 13
1 Understanding Ourselves with and through Others 15
2 Sustaining Our Lives 27
3 Social Bonds: Speaking of”You” and “We” 41
Part II Choices, Contexts, and Challenges 55
4 Values, Power, and Choice 57
5 Gifts, Exchange, and Intimacy 77
6 Body, Sexuality, and Health 91
7 Space, Time, and Social Dynamics 105
s. Culture, Nature, and Territory 123
9 Consumption, Technology, and Lifestyle 143
Part Ill Retrospect and Prospect 159
10 Sociological Lenses: Retrospect and Prospect 161
Questions for Reflection and Further Reading 177
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