This post continues the Great Sociology Textbook Giveaway by stretching the definition of “textbook” to breaking-point with a dictionary, encyclopaedia and, in an SCTV first, an actual text published by a real UK publisher.

Following hard on the heals of the first set of textbooks comes another batch of free Sociology texts I’d like you to think I discovered by digging diligently through the detritus of an untold number of obscure web sites, but actually found by Just Googling Stuff.

This time, while there are some textbooks on offer, notably one from the UK, the net has been widened a bit to include a dictionary, encyclopaedia and a couple of texts devoted to family life and religion.


1. Sociology: 6th edition (2009): This is a slightly-ageing edition of Giddens’ long-running text, currently in its 8th edition (the latter has a website, if you’re interested, that could best be described as “satisfyingly-retro” in both design and content if you were being…errm…charitable). Despite it’s relative age, it’s still as text packed with all kinds of useful information. Some of it may, however, be a step too far for some a-level students, particularly at AS level, so discretion is required over how you use the text. In terms of current Specification coverage most of the usual suspects (Family, Education, Crime, Media…) are included, but so too are areas (such as Nations, War and Terrorism) that decidedly don’t need to be studied.

If you don’t fancy the pdf version there’s also an online flipbook version which is quite fun in a flipbook kind of way.

2. Introduction to Sociology: 2nd Canadian Edition: Although this is just a version of the free, open-source, “Introduction to Sociology” text I’ve previously posted, I’ve included it because there are some key changes. Particularly if you live in Canada (anyone?). These include “Canadian examples and case studies”, the addition of “feminist theory and feminist perspectives throughout the text” and “a new chapter on Religion”.

3. Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World (2016): This is a version of Sociology: The Brief Edition, a text I’ve previously posted, but I’ve included this version because there seem to be both format and content differences, although I’m not sure they’re particularly extensive. If you’ve got the time you could explore exactly what these differences are, but I haven’t and I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. To make things even more confusing, there’s also a version called Sociology: The Comprehensive Edition available. Feel free to download this and compare versions.

4. General Sociology (2002): This seems to be part of a Distance Learning course (the text only covers four areas: what is sociology, methods, culture, social class) offered by the Alberta Distance Learning College in the early-2000’s. They still exist but everything seems to have now moved online.  Anyway, although this text is a bit old (as you might expect, most of the web links no-longer work) and I’m not suggesting you use it with your students, I’ve included it because it contains some interesting teaching ideas you might want to have a look at and adapt.

5. Sage Dictionary of Sociology (2006)
Edited by Steve Bruce (disappointingly, not the Steve Bruce who manages Championship football clubs and who is promptly sacked when they get promoted) and Steven Yearley, the Sage Dictionary has always been something of a standard in this field and even though this version is over 10 years old there’s still plenty here to interest a-level sociologists – although to be fair, there’s also more than enough that’s not going to be of much interest at all. Maybe one to dip into and out of as required?

6. Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology: Edited by George “Big Mac” Ritzer (as not even his very close colleagues call him), this version dates from 2007 and consists of short articles on a very wide range of topics. Way too many to even attempt to cover here. Again, probably more a teacher’s text but one where you might find some useful “Stretch and then Stretch a Bit More Until they Break” articles.

7. Sociology of the Family (2010): Quite a “wordy” text, interspersed with a few pictures and tables predominantly drawn from North American society, that covers its main topic in great depth – far too much for a-level. It may, nevertheless, be useful for teachers looking for a bit of comparative data and contains a number of useful illustrations that may come in handy for teaching the general topic. If you prefer an online version – sadly not one that features flipped pages – you can find one here.

8. Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (2003): Although this is starting to get a little bit long-in-the-tooth I’ve included it here because it’s a series of readings – 28 in all, some classic, some contemporary – in the Sociology of Religion. While, at a guess, I’d say it’s unlikely to be of much interest to all but the most dedicated a-level student, teachers might find it useful to be able to dip into and out of original sources as-and-when necessary. Or not as the case may be.

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