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Sociology is the scientific or systematic study of human society. Sociology aims to probe the world of people in an effort to understand and explain human behavior. Of all the social sciences, it is the broadest due to its extensive scope. The focus of sociology spans from individuals to expanding groups of people. The discipline of sociology continues to evolve in response to social transformations. The role of sociologists is contested as sociologists themselves debate their role as scientists versus advocates.

There are three major perspectives within sociology. The functionalist perspective approaches society as a complex system of parts working together to promote both solidarity and stability for society as a whole. The conflict paradigm examines how society is stratified along with class, race, ethnicity, gender, and age categories, and how these categories are linked to the unequal distribution of resources. The interactionist (or microsociology) perspective emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between the individual and society—how individuals define themselves based on how others see and interact with them.

Sociology is divided into many specialized fields. Some examples are applied sociology, comparative sociology, cultural sociology, human ecology, medical sociology, political sociology, sociology of religion, rural sociology, and urban sociology. Regardless of field, sociologists aim to collect repeated observations in controlled environments to find patterns across groups, communities, and societies. Research in sociology spans both quantitative methods, intending to predict and explain, and qualitative methods that seek to understand and interpret rather than predict.  

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Sociology Resources

Gale provides sociology resources that support research with collections from databases, primary source archives, and eBooks.


Gale databases iinclude collections from newspapers, journal articles, and primary source documents, including multimedia like images and videos, that support research.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and collections that deliver firsthand content, including historical documents, archives, journals, and news articles that examine and analyze sociology.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of eBooks covering a wide range of subject areas, including social sciences, social change, and more. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change, 1st Edition

    #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change, 1st Edition

    Palgrave MacMillan  |   2019   |   ISBN-13: 9783030152130

    #MeToo has sparked a global re-emergence of sexual violence activism and politics. This edited collection uses the #MeToo movement as a starting point for interrogating contemporary debates in anti-sexual violence activism and justice-seeking. It draws together 19 accessible chapters from academics, practitioners, and sexual violence activists across the globe to provide diverse, critical, and nuanced perspectives on the broader implications of the movement. It taps into wider conversations about the nature, history, and complexities of anti-rape and anti-sexual harassment politics, including the limitations of the movement in the Global South. It features both internationally recognized and emerging academics from across the fields of criminology, media and communications, film studies, gender and queer studies, and law. This will appeal broadly to the academic community, activists, and beyond. This book includes a foreword from Professor Walter DeKeseredy; offers critical, rigorous, and accessible perspectives on #MeToo from an internationally diverse set of contributors; seeks to understand the limitations of the movement, given that it emerged in the Global North; and reflects on the ways that #MeToo ignited a renewed consciousness about sexual harassment and rape amongst women.

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  • IGI Social Sciences and Humanities Frontlist Collection (2018-2020), 1st Edition

    IGI Social Sciences and Humanities Frontlist Collection (2018-2020), 1st Edition

    IGI Global  |   2020   |   ISBN-13: 9781799870487

    This academic collection of 47 titles from 2018 to 2020 focuses on the social sciences and the humanities.

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  • Sociological Perspectives on Educating Children in Contemporary Society, 1st Edition

    Sociological Perspectives on Educating Children in Contemporary Society, 1st Edition

    Information Science Reference   |   2020   |   ISBN-13: 9781799818496

    Children of post-industrial society are often expected to have achieved financial status by their efforts—sustained from early periods of life—and be equipped with various qualities, both in terms of formal and informal education and extracurricular and leisure activities. Contemporary children almost inherently know how to use the devices of information technology, and through these devices, they encounter ideas, languages, and more that are different from the ones immediately experienced within their social frame. Consequently, students demand new, inclusive teaching practices that will expose them to global cultures. Sociological Perspectives on Educating Children in Contemporary Society is a collection of innovative research on the methods and applications of how culture influences the way children are educated. While highlighting topics, including global economics, multicultural teaching, and education differentiation, this book is ideally designed for teachers, sociologists, school administrators, curriculum designers, course developers, academics, researchers, and students seeking current research on the interrelationship between children, education, and society.

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