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.



Young African Americans probably do not worry too much about where they sit down when they go to a diner, deli or fast food outlet to eat their lunch. However, only 65 years ago in the Southern states they could have been arrested if they tried to sit at the lunch counters reserved for white people only. In fact thousands were arrested in 1960 when they sat in the seats reserved for whites and tried to order coffee. They did this as part of quickly spreading protests against racial segregation (Gladwell 2010). In a country that now has an African American president, it may seem almost unbelievable that black people, some still alive today, could once not choose just any seat when eating ...

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