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 June 2015 same-sex marriage became legal in all of the United States (Roberts and Siddiqui 2015). It took a Supreme Court ruling to effect this and America was well-behind other countries, but it was a massive step in recognising the rights of gay people. It was also emblematic of rapid and substantial change in the social position of and public attitudes towards same-sex relationships, at least in the Western world. Up until the 1970s, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder by the American Psychological Association. Sexual activity between consenting same-sex adults only became fully legal across the USA in 2003. Homosexuality stopped being illegal in England in 1967, but remained an offence in Scotland, Ireland and other countries such as New ...

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