Breaking away from the idea that sociology only ever elaborates the negative, Sociology for Optimists shows that sociology can provide hope in dealing with social issues through critical approaches that acknowledge the positive. From politics and inequality to nature and faith, Mary Holmes shows how a critical and optimistic sociology can help us think about and understand human experience not just in terms of social problems, but in terms of a human capacity to respond to those problems and strive for social change. With contemporary case studies throughout grounding the theory in the real world, this is the perfect companion/antidote to studying sociology.
In the third season of an American television show called The Wire, which originally aired in 2004, a senior policeman who is about to retire stops his team from arresting people for selling illegal drugs within a limited area of Baltimore nicknamed Hamsterdam. Crime of all kinds reduces within the city and the better safety of the area means that health and social services can get to vulnerable people and that both those taking and not taking drugs can get care. This is an example of how legalising drugs can improve poor neighbourhoods and actually lessen rather than worsen many of the wider social problems related to the illegal drugs trade. The experiment with legalisation may be a fiction in this television show, ...