Sociology: The Basics (Paperback) book cover

Sociology: The Basics

By Ken Plummer

© 2010 – Routledge

256 pages

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Paperback: 9780415472067
pub: 2010-06-25
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A lively, accessible and comprehensive introduction to the diverse ways of thinking about social life, Sociology: The Basics examines:

  • the scope, history and purpose of sociology
  • ways of understanding 'the social'
  • the state of the world we live in today
  • suffering and social inequalities
  • key tools for researching and thinking about 'the social'
  • the impact of new technologies.

The reader is encouraged to think critically about the structures, meanings, histories and cultures found in the rapidly changing world we live in. With tasks to stimulate the sociological mind and suggestions for further reading both within the text and on an accompanying webpage, this book is essential reading for all those studying sociology, and those with an interest in how the modern world works.


'Written for those who know little to nothing about sociology, the book presents sociological theory, theorists, and key terms and concepts while enticing readers with humor, illustrative stories, and sociological antidotes, producing a foundational level of understanding in sociology. Valuable to the most novice student as well as to the well-versed sociologist. Highly recommended' - Choice May 2011

'Sociology: The Basics is not only an excellent summary of the fundamental questions of sociology, but in fact is more, because it deeply expresses the author’s personal way of doing sociology and of being a sociologist.' - Giuseppe Toscano, Journal of Symbolic Interaction, 2012

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations. Social Hauntings. Preface: Welcome to the Social Maze 1. In a World I Never Made 2. Thinking About the Social 3. Teeming Social Life 4. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants 5. Cultivating Sociological Imaginations 6. Engaging the Empirical 7. Suffering Inequalities 8. Why Sociology? Conclusion: The Sociological Imagination - Twenty Theses. Appendix: Epigrammatic Sociology – Little Wisdoms to Ponder. Websites a Short Guide. References. Index

About the Author

Ken Plummer is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, UK and is internationally known for his research on sexualities and narrative. He is author of the best selling Sociology: A Global Introduction (with John Macionis, 5th edition, 2011).

About the Series

The Basics

The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format.

Intended for students approaching a subject for the first time, the books both introduce the essentials of a subject and provide an ideal springboard for further study. With over 50 titles spanning subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Women’s Studies, The Basics are an ideal starting point for students seeking to understand a subject area.

Each text comes with recommendations for further study and gradually introduces the complexities and nuances within a subject.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General