Social Problems in the Age of Discontent: A Manual for Sociological Thinking


Edition: 2

Copyright: 2021

Pages: 98

Details: eBook w/Ancillary 3 | 180 days |


Tired of boring rubrics that turn the university education into a “rubrication” trapping you into a mass produced education? Tired of uncritical “critical” lectures of predictability.

Weary of professors stating the obvious, or assigning books that state the obvious? Skeptical of other professors telling you what to think instead of how to think? Ever want to challenge your professors who want to force their ideology and dogmatic beliefs on you?

Do you possess intellectual curiosity? Do you think beyond the proverbial box? Do you question orthodoxy and refuse conformity? Do you want to challenge authority? Do you want to transcend the ordinary?

Do you have big questions about the state of existence? Do you question our political and economic system? Do you question wars, imperialism, the military industrial complex, and system of mass incarceration? Do you question power?

If you stated yes to any of the above questions, this book is for you.

Social Problems in the Age of Discontent: A Manual for Sociological Thinking offers the student ways to think in new and highly creative ways to understand the world. It teaches the budding intellectual tools to understand the unprecedented challenges that threaten human civilization.

This book teaches students new ways to analyze the causes and symptoms of social problems including increased poverty, homelessness, social disruption, crime, suicide, depression, addiction, joblessness, mass shootings, police brutality, violence, domestic abuse, and the growing instability of work, community, family, and interpersonal relationships impacting billions of people around the globe.

We want to help bring out your full creative potential. What’s more, we want you to think independently about the world and your place in it.

Once the reader is introduced to possibilities for new ways of thinking, the book offers students a series of creative activities to understand and solve various social problems that include, among other things, the concentration of wealth and power, immigration and mass migration, mass incarceration and the criminal (in)justice system, unemployment, environmental destruction, climate change, and homelessness.

The book ends with some classical, but highly exciting assignments involving breaching experiments that allows students the opportunity to violate social norms and socially prescribed scripts to rupture social worlds. These breaching experiments show the fragility of society, and that with the right amount of human agency, we can transform the world in powerful ways.

Our political and economic elite will not solve our social problems. It is up to us, the people, to make change. Up to the task?

Dare to Push the Boundaries of Thought?


Introduction to Social Problems in the Age of Discontent
Solving Social Problems Using the Sociological Imagination
Structure of the Manual

PART I Thinking Sociologically to Understand Social Problems
One The Sociological Imagination
Assignment One: Using the Sociological Imagination

Two Major Sociological Perspectives: Structural Functionalism, the Critical Perspective, and Symbolic Interactionism
Assignment Two: The Three Broad Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology

Three Classical Approaches to Understanding Social Problems
Assignment Three: The Classical Theorists and Their Approach to Understanding Social Problems

PART II Major Assignments to Analyze Social Problems
One Practical Information on Conducting Qualitative Interviews
Assignment Four: Interview Three Community Members on Their View of Social Problems

Two The Concentration of Wealth and Power
Assignment Five: The Concentration of Wealth and Power as a Social Problem

Three Immigration as a Social Problem
Assignment Six: Immigration as a Social Problem

Four Mass Incarceration
Assignment Seven: Mass Incarceration as a Social Problem

Five Unemployment as a Social Problem
Assignment Eight: Unemployment as a Social Problem

Six The Animal Industry and the Environment
Assignment Nine: The Animal Industry and the Environment

Seven Homelessness as a Social Problem
Assignment Ten: Homelessness as a Social Problem

PART III Diagnosing and Solving the Major Social Problems
FINAL PAPER: Identifying a Major Social Problem, Recognizing Its Symptoms, Explaining Their Causes, and Proposing a Solution

PART IV Breaching Experiments
Assignment Eleven: Stranger at Home
Assignment Twelve: Elevator Behavior
Assignment Thirteen: Conversation Rules
Assignment Fourteen: Personal Space
Assignment Fifteen: Creating a Breaching Experiment


Peter Marina, a New Orleans native, is a PhD graduate of the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, and author of Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy (Columbia University Press, 2017), among other books. As a sociologist and criminologist, Marina writes about new and emergent forms of transgression in our highly contradictory late-modern social world. His approach to sociology incorporates the striking dialectic of history and biography that allows him to penetrate and interact with a wide range of culturally diverse social groups around the world — from inner-city youths and street kids, to urban street performers and willful outsiders on the social fringes of the metropolis, to religiously inspired residents of the inner-city and urban occultists and Satanists, and most recently, to down and out urban dwellers — in a quest to make sense both empirically and theoretically of this rapidly changing, surprising but always fascinating world.

As accessible as it is dynamic, Social Problems in the Age of Discontent: A Manual for Sociological Thinking is an essential tool to guiding students zombified by their over-standardized education into the realm of critical thought. By posing more questions than it answers, Marina's manual compels students to engage with our most pressing social problems with a newfound intellectual creativity. Enjoy the wild ride on the Marina train!
Educator and former honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse 

Marina brings students into the aliveness, chaos, and complexity of the life of the streets in order to illuminate social problems. He is asking questions that thinking students have asked themselves; in this book students are provided with the analytic tools to demolish the conventional answers they have always doubted in order to reconstruct the social world with a solid theoretical foundation. Students will never tolerate dry lifeless textbooks again when they discover that the language of sociology can rock their world.
Danny Kessler
Jon Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)

Finally, a textbook truly designed for students! Marina leads students on a socially active tour of society – a true example of immersive education.  He goes beyond just introducing his audience to the discipline of sociology.  He actively engages them (in both conventional and unconventional manners!) in addressing social problems they encounter in their everyday lives, thus extending the subject matter beyond the classroom and into the real world – the one that students inhabit.  The assignments are carefully designed to help them hone the skills needed to understand and address social issues through active engagement.  Social Problems in the Age of Discontent is more than just a manual, it is a blueprint for what a great experience learning can be. 
Michael Haupert, Professor of Economics
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse   

In this book, as in his courses, Marina tells the stories, provides strategies to interpret them and most importantly challenges students to use these, and their own agency, to chart a new course in society. If you believe the time for change is now and you have the courage of your convictions, this resource is and will remain an important part of your toolbox.
Annette Valeo, Senior Outreach Specialist, Extended Learning
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

Related ISBN's: 9781792466311

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ISBN 9781792466311

Details eBook w/Ancillary 3 180 days