This American High School textbook just scrapes into the “published in the 21st century” criterion I set myself for finding free, out-of-print sociology texts, but I’ve included it because although it’s obviously a little dated – at least in terms of content if not necessarily design – Sociology and You (2001) was probably one of the first to push at the boundaries of textbook design for “Grades 9 – 12”. This, by my calculations, means 15-18 year olds and if you’re wondering, as we probably all are, how this fits into the UK grading system I’d say the text equates to “high GCSE” / AS-level. But this is only a rough guess – there are bits that could fit into A2 – so if you want to use it with your students it’s probably a case of suck-it-and-see before you let them have copies.
The book itself exhibits most of the features we now take for granted in contemporary textbooks: short bursts of text, lots of big colourful pictures, key terms identified and defined, tables, boxouts, short readings, simple assessments and white space.
Lots and lots of white space.
In other words, anyone familiar with UK A-level texts over the past few years will see this as very familiar territory.
Except, of course, most of the examples and illustrations are drawn from North America. Which is okay if you’re North American (or are really into comparative sociology / North Americana) but not quite so brilliant if you live and study elsewhere.
Keeping this in mind, if you decide to have a look at the text I’ve made it available as either a complete textbook or by chapter. I’ve provided the latter option because there are some chapters, such as those on “Sport” or “Political and Economic Institutions”, you may not need or want: put bluntly, you’re probably not going to teach stuff that’s not on the A-level Spec.
You can also use the chapter option to see if or how the text might fit with your teaching because, as I’ve noted, judging the level is a little problematic given differences in both the US and UK grade system and the skill levels each requires of its students at different ages.
If you want to download all 17 chapters in one go…
1 Sociological Perspectives
2. Research Methods
5. Social Structure
6. Groups and Formal Organisations
8. Social Class
9. Race and Ethnicity
10. Age and Gender
13. Political and Economic Institutions
16. Population and Urbanisation
17. Social Change and Collective Behaviour
If you’re of the opinion that what’s missing from this post is a set of supporting materials to complement the free textbook then you can now rest easily.
Alternatively, if you’re thinking that a 1st edition is all-very-well-and-good but what would be really useful is an upgrade to the 2nd edition, then Sociology and You, Too could be just what you’re looking for.