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Sociological Insight: An Introduction to Non-Obvious Sociology [Paperback]

Randall Collins
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2, 1992 0195074424 978-0195074420 2
Revised and expanded to incorporate recent research, this classic text now offers a more comprehensive introduction to many of sociology's most interesting and elegant ideas, written with a grace and wit that have delighted a generation of students. Beginning with a central problem that distinguishes sociology from most other ways of looking at the world, Randall Collins examines the limits of human rationality and sociological theories of religion, showing how they open up a general theory of social rituals that holds the key to much of the rest of sociology. With these conceptual tools in hand, he invites students to ponder how sociological analysis can illuminate a variety of urgent topics--power, crime, sex, love, and the position of women in society--as it reveals both their visible social symbols and their paradoxical deep structures. In a new final chapter, Collins stakes out an important role for sociology in the information age, while coming full circle to the theories of rationality and ritual with which he began, showing that artificial intelligence can approximate human creativity only if it can take part in ritual interactions. Uniquely engaging, Sociological Insight dramatizes the major issues and concerns of sociology in a way that gets students thinking and talking, and whets their appetites for more.

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Editorial Reviews


"The best supplement for introductory sociology."--Louis Hicks, St. Mary's College

"Better than the first."--John Kennedy, Indiana University

"The second edition's new chapter on artificial intelligence adds suggestive insights."--W. paul Vogt, State University of New York, Albany

"A great book to introduce students to the field of sociology."--No name, University of Tennessee

"Makes sociological ideas exciting for the first time. Thank you for publishing a new edition."--H. Edward Price, Western Carolina University

"Collins has done what he set out to do: produce a jargon-free statement of non-obvious conclusion based on classic sociological theories."--J. Alan Winter, Connecticut College

"A fascinating perspective on subjects and issues not typically found in sociology texts."--Carolyn Arnold, University of Massachusetts, Boston

"Good balance....Good introduction to 'grand theory' in the classical tradition."--Scott Sernak, Indiana University, South Bend

"Thought-provoking observations on a number of important sociological issues."--Lloyd Klein, Medgar Evers College

About the Author

Randall Collins is at University of California, Riverside.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (April 2, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195074424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195074420
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read! October 24, 1999
In this book, Collins instroduces several precepts that most of us have never thought about before. It's guaranteed to challenge some of your most dearly-held beliefs about selfishness, social conhesion, religion, marriage, power and other enigmatic topics. He guides 'dear reader' gently and is without the 'in your face' style of some social theorists, which makes a book you'll buy with nary a reservation for some of your most conservative friends.
All in all, a great introduction to sociology. It's written at a college freshman level, which makes it a great beginner's book, but you'll find yourself referring back to it again and again through the years - promise.
Two thumbs up for Collins!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book February 2, 2013
This was a great book, highly interesting and I would recommend to every one. This a book I will be saving and giving to my kids to read, there aren't many books I have read that I would save and make other people read.

This book is absolutely fascinating primarily because of the chapter on crime, but it is very interesting in other chapters on love/sex/marriage/feminism, religion, and power. I skipped the last chapter on artificial intelligence. It is also very well written and flows nicely. Some of the stuff is obvious but is still worth reading because you have never thought about it before or had the presence of mind to articulate it yourself. One of the themes of the book is "solidarity" or emotional connection and belonging (with a moral sense). Solidarity influences many of our behaviors and is central to understanding society. The primary reason crime exists that you learn in this book is because criminals in the bottom strata of society aren't connected to society--or don't have solidarity with it--therefore they act in their self interest and commit crimes like property theft and gang banging/drug dealing. I will admit it would be much more helpful if you could read this book in a class taught by a sociologist and listen to him lecture on it and ask questions, but the reading is still very engaging. In fact, this book was offered in introductory classes at UW-Madison, the top ranked sociology department in the nation so you know it is a good book. I didn't take it in a class, I looked at the book list and read it. The only drawback is that this book was written in 1992, but it's better than buying a new expensive version. It would be nice to hear the author articulate the advances in the feminist movement, but that's really all the better the book would be plus some advances on the crime rate. This book is a classic.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read June 12, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book made sense. Didn't need an interpreter to understand it. I liked the writing style of this book. Helpful.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating December 8, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The kind of book I wish more people would read and could understand.- too great a discussion to be so short.
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