Find Yourself in the Fascinating

Using engaging stories and a diverse cast of characters, Lisa Wade memorably delivers what C. Wright Mills described as both the terrible and the magnificent lessons of sociology. With chapters that build upon one another, Terrible Magnificent Sociology represents a new kind of introduction to sociology.

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Features of Terrible Magnificent Sociology

Fascinating stories sell students on sociology

Terrible Magnificent Sociology weaves compelling stories (from hermits to amnesiacs to cannibalism) throughout the chapters to draw students into sociology and teach key concepts in a memorable way.

A new canon celebrates the diversity of sociology

Terrible Magnificent Sociology Introduces readers to a diverse group of scholars, including lesser-known and marginalized people who have shaped the discipline, particularly women, immigrants, and people of color. Students will see themselves reflected not just in what sociologists study, but in who sociologists are.

Inclusive coverage explores inequalities beyond race, class, and gender

In addition to thorough coverage of race, class, and gender, Terrible Magnificent Sociology addresses inequalities based on sexual orientation, disability, age, body size, attractiveness, color, and citizenship status—and their many intersections.

About the Author

Lisa Wade is an Associate Professor at Tulane University with appointments in Sociology, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Newcomb Institute. An accomplished scholar, award-winning teacher, and public sociologist, she has become well known for delivering conversational yet compelling translations of sociological theory and research. She’s the author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus and, with Myra Marx Ferree, Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions.

What Instructors are Saying

“Lisa’s writing style is an intervention into student disengagement and hopelessness under the strains of late capitalism. There is an energy and hopefulness that makes even me (a cynical, middle-aged curmudgeon) feel like all is not lost and that social change is possible and worth fighting for.”

—Carla A. Pfeffer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of South Carolina

“Wade’s text is an innovative approach to teaching sociology. It contains the core terminology we want our students to know, while giving a voice to scholars and perspectives which are usually saved for the “critical perspectives” day at the end of a particular section, if taught at all. It reads like you’re having a conversation with someone in the hall, rather than being lectured to.”

—Dr. Holly Ningard, Ohio University

“Lisa Wade’s introductory sociology textbook is groundbreaking. Someone has finally decided to shake things up and break the traditional mold with entry level sociology material. It reads like a trade book but does not skimp on quality. This could be the book we need to pull young, hungry minds into the field.”

—Jason S. Ulsperger, Arkansas Tech University

“I would describe the text as a mother-flippin’ revolution. It is unlike any other intro textbook I’ve encountered, yet it does a brilliant job of covering all the bases.”

—Amanda Fehlbaum, Youngstown State University

Table of Contents

Terrible Magnificent Sociology represents a new kind of introduction to sociology. Each chapter builds on the one before it, with Wade returning to important concepts in a way that will make them "stickier" for students.

Introduction: The Science of Social Facts

  • In the book’s introduction (and corresponding online tutorial), Wade explains that sociology is the science of social facts and presents a short history of the discipline, touches on a few key founders, and introduces the concept of standpoint theory.

Chapter 1: The Self

Chapter 2: Culture and Construction

Chapter 3: Our Identities

Chapter 4: People in Interaction

Chapter 5: Deviance and Defiance

Chapter 6: Organizations, Institutions, and Structures

Chapter 7: Economic Inequality

Chapter 8: Institutional Racism

Chapter 9: Gendered Oppression

Chapter 10: Elite Power

Chapter 11: The Power of the People

Chapter 12: Our Future on Earth

Conclusion: The Sociological Imagination

Appendix A: A Short History of Sociology

Appendix B: A Guide to Sociological Research

  • Terrible Magnificent Sociology takes a unique approach to the lay of the sociological land, presenting important scholars, sociological theories, and methods in context, throughout the book, rather than introducing them at the beginning of the course. Two brief units—“A Short History of Sociology” and “A Guide to Sociological Research”—can be used as a reference.

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Image Credits: (Devices) iStockPhoto.com/lvcandy; (Wade Photo) Babs Evangelista
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