This comparatively highly visual, concise, and affordable PDF ebook ‘Introducing Sociology Using the Stuff of Everyday Life‘ offers a refreshingly new way forward to reach college students, using one of the most powerful tools in a sociologist’s teaching arsenal―the familiar stuff in socio students’ everyday lives throughout the world: the coffee they drink each morning, the jeans they wear to class,or the phones their professors tell them to put away during lectures.
The challenges of teaching a successful introductory sociology course today demand materials from a publisher very different from the norm. Books that are organized the way the discipline structures itself intellectually no longer connect with the majority of college student learners. This is not an issue of pandering to socio students or otherwise seeking the lowest common denominator. On the contrary, it is a question of again making the practice of sociological thinking rigorous, meaningful, and relevant to today’s world of undergraduates.
A focus on consumer culture, seeing the strange in the familiar, is not only interesting for undergrad students; it is also (the authors suggest) pedagogically superior to more traditional approaches. This pedagogy also posits a relationship between teacher and learner that is bi-directional. By engaging college students through their stuff, this PDF ebook moves beyond teaching about sociology to helping instructors teach the practice of sociological thinking. It moves beyond describing what sociology is, so that all students can practice what sociological thinking can do. Many students feel a sense of authority in various areas of consumer culture, and they often enjoy sharing their knowledge with fellow students and with their instructor. Opening up all the sociology classroom to discussion of these topics validates college students’ expertise on their own life-worlds. Teachers, in turn, gain insight from the services, goods, and cultural expectations that shape students’ lives.
While innovative, the etextbook has been carefully crafted to make it as useful and flexible as possible for instructors aiming to build core sociological foundations in a single semester. A map on pages ii–iii identifies core sociological concepts covered so that a traditional syllabus as well as individual lectures can easily be maintained. Theory, method, and active learning exercises in every chapter constantly encourage the sociological imagination as well as the “doing” of sociology.