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.



Every August there is an international festival in Edinburgh featuring classical music, dance and theatre and accompanied by a fringe festival stuffed with the latest comedy shows, experimental theatricals, circuses, and all kinds of singing, dancing and other creative performances. On my way to work it is not unusual to see people who seem to be dressed as abstract vegetables, or someone carrying a ‘guitar’ made out of balloons. From my office I can hear a troupe of drummers followed by a slightly off key singer performing U2 covers. At lunchtime I can pop out to see anything from a talented bunch of youngsters improvising a new Jane Austen novel, to a performance of Antigone, to the amazing bubbleman. Every night, assuming I ...

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