Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.




The contrast between popular and scientific usage of the word race is vividly encapsulated in the much-quoted comment on the life and achievements of the legendary, black, world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. When some called him ‘a credit to his race’, the New York sportswriter Jimmy Cannon responded: ‘Yes, Joe Louis is a credit to his race -the human race’. This comment depended for its effect on those who would read it accepting there was no scientific basis for the idea that humanity did consist of separate races, while also recognizing that a belief in racial differences could have profound social, political, and economic consequences.

In the mid-nineteenth century it had been common for scientists to divide humanity into discrete races, for instance ‘negroid’, ‘caucasoid’ ...

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