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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $75.00
  • February 2014
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92258-5
  • 592 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

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The Real World

Fourth Edition


Kerry Ferris (Author, Northern Illinois University), Jill Stein (Author, Santa Barbara City College)


The most relevant textbook for today’s students.

The Real World succeeds in classrooms because it focuses on the perspective that students care about most—their own. In every chapter, the authors use activities, examples from everyday life, and popular culture to draw students into thinking sociologically and to show the relevance of sociology to our relationships, our jobs, and our future goals.


The best coverage of everyday life, popular culture, and mass media

The Fourth Edition has been completely updated, with new examples in every chapter. Four types of relevance boxes expose students to the sociological implications of everyday events: In the Future boxes link an issue that is happening, or about to happen, to recent research; In Relationships boxes look at how sociology can help us understand our friendships, family, and partners; On the Job boxes explore the work setting from a sociological perspective; and Global Perspectives highlight the differences between the United States and other cultures.  

Two Data Workshops in every chapter

Data Workshops, which focus on Analyzing Everyday Life and Analyzing Mass Media, give students a chance to apply the theoretical ideas from the textbook to their own lives and actually do sociology.  

New end-of-chapter review element

The Fourth Edition of The Real World features a new “everything you need to know about _______” review apparatus at the end of each chapter, which includes checklists, review questions, prompts about the Everyday Sociology Blog, and infographics.  

Dynamic tools help instructors integrate The Real World’s approach into their courses

The Interactive Instructor’s Guide makes it easy for instructors to search or browse for activities and projects. The IIG is refreshed with batches of questions and activities every six months, so instructors have new material to incorporate into their courses each semester. The Norton Coursepack for The Real World offers chapter-based assignments and activities, interactive learning tools and assessment and review materials—many of which are exclusive to the Coursepack.  

    Part I: Thinking Sociologically and Doing Sociology
    1. Sociology and the Real World
    2. Studying Social Life: Sociological Research Methods

    Part II: Framing Social Life
    3. Culture
    4. The Self and Interaction
    5. Separate and Together: Life in Groups
    6. Deviance

    Part III: Understanding Inequality
    7. Social Class: The Structure of Inequality
    8. Race and Ethnicity as Lived Experience
    9. Constructing Gender and Sexuality

    Part IV: Examining Social Institutions as Sites of Everyday Life
    10. The Macro–Micro Link in Social Institutions
    11. The Economy and Work
    12. Life at Home: Families and Relationship
    13. Leisure and Media
    14. Health and Illness

    Part V: Envisioning the Future and Creating Social Change
    15. Populations, Cities, and Environments
    16. Social Change: Looking Toward Tomorrow