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.
Chapter 1: Change
When I started high school in 1979, my fairly average state-run New Zealand school had one computer. It was nothing now recognisable as a computer, it was an old, heavy TV set which one of the maths teachers would rig up to something called a card-reader. We learned to write simple computer programmes, marked them on special cards with a black felt-tip pen and fed them into the card reader and watched the fuzzy numbers and letters on the screen to see if the programme worked. By the time I left high school five years later, the school had a whole room full of ‘personal computers’ much more like the ones around now. Primitive forms of email allowing communication between some machines emerged ...