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Social Problems: Continuity and Change

(43 reviews)

Copyright Year: 2016

ISBN 13: 9781946135230

Publisher: Saylor Foundation

Language: English

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Reviewed by Bodenhamer Aysha, Assistant Professor, Radford University on 1/13/23

This book offers a wide array of topics covered in great detail. The textbook has a table of contents that is easily navigable by clicking on each section; however, there is not a section for a glossary of terms. At the end of each chapter there... read more

Reviewed by Rogerson Christine, Assistant Professor, Radford University on 1/5/23

Loved the comprehensiveness of this book including the variety of topic areas! read more

Reviewed by Christine Wilkey, Associate Professor of Human Services, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College on 9/30/22

This text covers topics, and issues within these topics, that are typical of texts for college-level sociology courses in social problems. Its sixteen chapters can easily be fit into a typical 8- or 16-week semester format. A glossary or... read more

Reviewed by Chelsea Starr, Associate Professor, Eastern New Mexico University on 1/10/22

It covers all the areas a sociology of social problems text should cover. read more

Reviewed by Mortenson Robert, Instructor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville on 1/6/22

very thorough! read more

Reviewed by Lisnic Rodica, Lecturer, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville on 12/31/21

The textbook discusses in great detail the various aspects of social problems. The textbook doesn't have an index and glossary. read more

Reviewed by Robertson Valerie, Lecturer, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville on 12/17/21

This textbook covers much the same material that my expensive textbook does. I especially appreciate how each chapter follows a consistent format, much the same as I use to write my online classes. I also like how the Learning Objectives... read more

Reviewed by Kelli Johnson, Professor/Librarian IV, Marshall University on 10/6/21

This textbook is very comprehensive and covers topics that I traditionally cover in my class and more. Each topic is addressed in detail and the boxes in each chapter (Applying Social Research, Lessons from Other Nations etc...) make the coverage... read more

Reviewed by cheryl sclar, Adjunct Professor, Roxbury Community College on 5/31/21

The topics are easy to follow in the sequence they are in. I feel the all the relevant topics to today's world are covered. The glossary definitions are in bold face and used in context making it easy for comprehension. Each unit and chapter is... read more

Reviewed by Alexandra Olsen, Assistant Professor, Umpqua Community College on 5/27/21

This textbook does a great job of covering a wide range of topics that are appropriate for a social problems. It gives the instructor the ability to pick and choose the topics that they'd like to cover - especially in 10 week courses. Each of the... read more

Reviewed by Deidre Tyler, Professor of Sociology, Salt Lake Community College on 2/22/21

This textbook covers every social problem that is covered in a standard intro-level social problems course. read more

Reviewed by Laura Trull, Assistant Professor, James Madison University on 11/30/20

This is a very comprehensive text. It begins with defining social problems and even how we define social problems. Following this definition chapter are 15 chapters each focused on a major social problem. Major US issues are discussed, though... read more

Reviewed by Marc Wagoner, Associate Professor, Worcester State University on 6/30/20

The book appears to to do a great job on covering material that can distress both individuals and the communities they are a part of. It appears to be comprehensive in it's definition and application of sociological theory and research. The... read more

Reviewed by Kimberly Fox, Associate Professor, Bridgewater State University on 6/29/20

The book covers all of the topics that I would like to have in a Social Problems text and is clearly and comprehensively organized. The subtopics within each chapter also cover most of what I would expect in a textbook for social problems. That... read more

Reviewed by Ashley Palmer, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington on 1/2/20

The textbook covers foundational information on a multitude of social issues– particularly the characteristics, causes, and consequences of these issues – and could be used for both sociology and social work courses. Both historic and current... read more

Reviewed by Kelley (Katherine) Blanck, Instructor, Michigan State University on 11/15/19

The book appears to be comprehensive, as it is 796 pages, thoroughly indexed and outlined for ease in following the progression of the content. read more

Reviewed by Cathy Beighey, Sociology Profressor, Aims Community College on 7/26/19

Yes, each chapter covered relevant concepts, related issues, and a sociological framework to 'digest' the content. Each chapter also included ways to address or improve the social problem highlighted within the chapter, which I found to be better... read more

Reviewed by Miriam Kero, Instructor, Hibbing Community College on 5/24/19

Social Problems: Continuity and Change provides complete coverage of the main categories of problems in society today: poverty, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. The table of contents lays these out for easy access. Within each chapter, key terms are... read more

Reviewed by Carlos Lopez, FT Sociology Faculty, Chemeketa Community College on 5/22/19

The textbook is organized in the typical fashion as other social problems textbooks (with a notable exception being Joel Best's Social Problems). The expected social problems are covered, but chapters on the media, technology, and/or science would... read more

Reviewed by Nicholas Recker, Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 5/22/19

This text-book offers a comprehensive look at social problems. I believe all of the important topics are addressed. read more

Reviewed by Katie Cali, Instructor of Sociology and Criminal Justice , NTCC on 4/3/19

The information presented in this textbook is comparable to a traditional, publisher distributed textbook. The presentation structure of the text is written in a comprehensive manner. Beginning with an introduction to the concept of social... read more

Reviewed by Ajay Panicker, Associate Professor, St Cloud State University on 5/21/18

The textbook follows the standard practice of providing an initial understanding of Social Problems in general, and the theoretical perspectives employed to explain them, and goes on to examine in some detail a variety of social processes within... read more

Reviewed by D. Chanele Moore, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware on 5/21/18

The book covers all the traditional content chapters of a traditional textbook. In each chapter, theories traditionally taught in an introductory level course are discussed. read more

Reviewed by Kate Noveau, Adjunct Professor, Rhode Island College on 2/1/18

This book does a nice job at giving a broad overview of some of the core societal problems that have plagued our country, and continue to do so. The material is presented at a pretty basic level - I think it would be great for introductory,... read more

Reviewed by Lori Geiselman, Adjunct, Rhode Island College on 2/1/18

Each chapter is well described. Chosen social problems are relevant and can be applied to a variety of fields. read more

Reviewed by Naliyah Kaya, Lecturer, University of Maryland on 2/1/18

The book addresses a wide array of social issues, defines and discusses subjective and objective definitions of social problems and covers major sociological perspectives and theorists. Basically, it has what you'd generally expect to be covered... read more

Reviewed by Lorena Fulton, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Ohio University-Zanesville on 2/1/18

This textbook is a thorough description of what social problems are, with detailed illustration of specific social problems. It provides a comprehensive summary for holistic education and the content is substantial enough for individuals chapters... read more

Reviewed by Aimee Krouskop, Instructor of Sociology, Portland Community College on 6/20/17

Barkan offers a solid overview of the sociological approach to social problems, and a review of established US problems leading with the context of the social constructionist view, and weaving other perspectives, historical matters, and policy... read more

Reviewed by Carol Ann MacGregor, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Loyola University New Orleans on 6/20/17

I chose to review this book as a possible adoption for a summer online Social Problems course. I was pleased to see that all of the topics that I currently cover in the course. While there is no glossary it is easy to navigate the table of contents. read more

Reviewed by Jolene Sundlie, Sociology Instructor, Saint Paul College on 4/11/17

This text covers all the chapters/topics you would expect in a Social Problems text. The chapters are concise at about twenty pages per chapters. The Table of Contents is comprehensive, but the is so glossary of terms or subject/name index at the... read more

Reviewed by Cindy Hager, Instructor, Sociology, Alexandria Technical and Community College on 4/11/17

The text covers a comprehensive look at social problems and provides an examination of discipline specific material as well as statistical information on how each social problem is currently experienced throughout the world. The Key Takeways and... read more

Reviewed by Michelle Crossley, Assistant Professor, Rhode Island College on 4/11/17

The text does a wonderful job of bringing in a vast array of social problems and related them to real world events. I am aware that it can be challenging to address every social problem, as the text indicates there may be a need for society to... read more

Reviewed by Cheryl Wright, Associate Professor, University of Utah on 2/15/17

The book is very comprehensive and covers the contemporary and important social problems in our society. It is up-to-date. It is high quality production from an established publisher. read more

Reviewed by Victoria Blanchard, Instructional Faculty, Virginia Tech on 2/8/17

The range of topics covered by the text is appropriate, and the concepts covered within the subjects are, overall, appropriate for an introduction to social problems. From what I can tell, sex trafficking gets one brief mention in chapter 4... read more

Reviewed by Komal Dhillon, Adjunct Professor, Virginia Tech on 2/8/17

Social Problems: Continuity and Change reads as an introductory text that exposes readers to a wide array of social issues. As such, the breadth of the text is impressive as many significant areas relating to social problems are discussed. ... read more

Reviewed by Megan Kuykendoll, Instructor, Miami University on 8/21/16

This text provides a VERY comprehensive look at overall social problems within the United States and provides a well-defined section on a variety of specific issues. This open text would be an excellent supplement to a large variety of course... read more

Reviewed by Rosalie Schofield, Associate Professor, Temple University on 8/21/16

The text offers a broad overview of key social problem areas that will be of interest to students. It offers a table of contents that details the approach to each problem. Each topic includes an historical perspective as well as an explanation... read more

Reviewed by Hannah Liebreich, Lecturer, University of Hawaii at Manoa on 8/21/16

The overall layout of the textbook is logical and comprehensive. Additionally, the layout of each chapter is well organized and provides a wide range of topics and examples. The textbook covers an inclusive list of key terms, and the definitions... read more

Reviewed by Heidi Esbensen, Adjunct/Part-time Faculty, Portland Community College/Portland State University on 1/7/16

This text covers a broad spectrum of social problems coherently and thoroughly. One of the strengths of this text is the manner in which it provides examples that can connect the reader, students, to the issues in a way that matters to them. There... read more

Reviewed by Gordon Walker, Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16

The book is extremely comprehensive, covering major challenges society is facing in the 21st Century, and would serve well as a reference book and as a place to go to begin research on today’s social problems. Extensive references are helpful... read more

Reviewed by Vanessa Jones, Lecturer, Cleveland State University on 6/10/15

Through the text, Barkan provides a comprehensive definition of social problems and policy processes, overview of critical current issues and theoretical perspectives, and history of problems affecting the social context of the United States and... read more

Reviewed by David McLeod, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma on 1/12/15

Attempting to comprehensively cover all aspects of social problems, with the extensiveness of marginalization, diversity, and oppression that exists in modern American society, is a daunting task. While I think the aim of this book is not for... read more

Reviewed by Katherine MacTavish, Associate Professor, Oregon State University on 9/29/14

The book takes a comprehensive approach to social problems addressing major social institutions (family, school, work and health care) and including an emphasis on race/ethnicity, age, rural/urban, and global concerns such as war and terrorism. I... read more

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Understanding Social Problems
  • Chapter 2: Poverty
  • Chapter 3: Racial and Ethnic Inequality
  • Chapter 4: Gender Inequality
  • Chapter 5: Sexual Orientation and Inequality
  • Chapter 6: Aging and Ageism
  • Chapter 7: Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Chapter 8: Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Chapter 9: Sexual Behavior
  • Chapter 10: The Changing Family
  • Chapter 11: Schools and Education
  • Chapter 12: Work and the Economy
  • Chapter 13: Health and Health Care
  • Chapter 14: Urban and Rural Problems
  • Chapter 15: Population and the Environment
  • Chapter 16: War and Terrorism

Ancillary Material

  • Independent
  • About the Book

    Social Problems: Continuity and Change is a realistic but motivating look at the many issues that are facing our society today. As this book's subtitle, Continuity and Change, implies, social problems are persistent, but they have also improved in the past and can be improved in the present and future, provided that our nation has the wisdom and will to address them.

    It is easy for students to read a social problems textbook and come away feeling frustrated by the enormity of the many social problems facing us today. Social Problems: Continuity and Change certainly does not minimize the persistence of social problems, but neither does it overlook the possibilities for change offered by social research and by the activities of everyday citizens working to make a difference. Readers the book will find many examples of how social problems have been improved and of strategies that hold great potential for solving them today and in the future.

    You will find several pedagogical features help to convey the “continuity and change” theme of this text and the service sociology vision in which it is grounded: Each chapter begins with a “Social Problems in the News” story related to the social problem discussed in that chapter. These stories provide an interesting starting point for the chapter's discussion and show its relevance for real-life issues. Three types of boxes in each chapter provide examples of how social problems have been changed and can be changed. In no particular order,

    A first box, “Applying Social Research,” discusses how the findings from sociological and other social science research have either contributed to public policy related to the chapter's social problem or have the potential of doing so.

    A second box, “Lessons from Other Nations,” discusses how another nation or nations have successfully addressed the social problem of that chapter.

    A third box, “People Making a Difference,” discusses efforts by individuals, non-profit organizations or social change groups, or social movements relating to the chapter's social problem. Students will see many examples in this box of how ordinary people can indeed make a difference.

    A fourth box in each chapter, “Children and Our Future,” examines how the social problem discussed in that chapter particularly affects children, and it outlines the problem's repercussions for their lives as adolescents and adults. This box reinforces for students the impact of social problems on children and the importance of addressing these problems for their well-being as well as for the nation's well-being.Each chapter ends with a “Using What You Know” feature that presents students with a scenario involving the social problem from the chapter and that puts them in a decision-making role. This feature helps connect the chapter's theoretical discussion with potential real-life situations.

    Each chapter also ends with a “What You Can Do” feature that suggests several activities, strategies, or other efforts that students might undertake to learn more about and/or to address the social problem examined in the chapter. Like other aspects of the book, this feature helps counter “doom and gloom” feelings that little can be done about social problems.

    Other pedagogical features in each chapter include Learning Objectives at the beginning of a major section that highlight key topics to be learned; Key Takeaways at the end of a major section that highlight important points that were discussed in the section; For Your Review questions, also at the end of a major section, that have students think critically about that section's discussion; and a Summary that reviews the major points made in the chapter.

    The founders of American sociology a century or more ago in cities like Atlanta and Chicago wanted to reduce social inequality, to improve the lives of people of color, and more generally to find solutions to the most vexing social problems of their times. A former president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, A. Javier Treviño, has used the term service sociology to characterize their vision of their new discipline. Social Problems: Continuity and Change is grounded in this vision by offering a sociological understanding of today's social problems and of possible solutions to these problems.

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