NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ890339
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 71
ISSN: ISSN-0092-055X
The Sociological Core: Conceptual Patterns and Idiosyncrasies in the Structure and Content of Introductory Sociology Textbooks, 1940-2000
Keith, Bruce; Ender, Morten G.
Teaching Sociology, v32 n1 p19-36 Jan 2004
Sociology is often portrayed as an errant discipline, driving forward without any apparent direction or purpose. We contend that these perceptions about the central tenets of our discipline derive from a lack of standardization of core material, which reduces the social value of sociology as a scientific field and erodes its credibility as a discipline. Insofar as common conceptual knowledge exists in the field of sociology, one ought to find evidence of it in the introductory textbook. To this end, our study examines 35 introductory sociology textbooks published in the 1940s (n=16) and the 1990s (n=19) in search of common concepts that represent cumulative core disciplinary knowledge. While our findings reveal uniformity in the structure of the textbooks' major chapter headings within their respective decades, our analysis of concepts--the language used to introduce disciplinary content--reveals that the vast majority are referenced by only one text, with fewer than three percent of all concepts shared in common. Moreover, neither the number of concepts introduced only once nor the variability in the total number of concepts referenced declined across the two decades. In sum, while introductory sociology textbooks are structured in similar ways, we find little commonality in the concepts used by texts' authors to frame the discipline, either within the two cross-sections or between them. (Contains 5 tables.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A