Sociology Texts: Another Big Bundle of Free

One of the things we like to do on this blog is discover and post orphaned sociology textbooks – as in texts published sometime this century that have either gone out of print or been superseded by later, bigger, more-colourful, All-Singing-All-Dancing versions – for the benefit of teachers and students in these straitened economic times.

I like to think we’re giving these texts something of a new lease of life because even though they’ve been replaced by a newer version, much of the information they contain doesn’t suddenly become irrelevant or worthless – you just need to be aware that using slightly older texts can have a few potential downsides:

1. Specifications change, both in terms of the Modules they cover and their content. Twenty years ago, for example, AQA included a Module on Power and Politics that has long-since disappeared from exams and textbooks.

2. Statistical data does go quickly out-of-date and is likely to be more current in tater versions of texts. Against this, keep in mind that statistical data in even the latest versions of textbooks is likely to be 2 – 3 years out-of-date by the time a text is authored and published. Against this, textbooks aren’t a particularly great statistical resource anymore when all the most up-to-the-minute stats are freely available at the press of a few mouse clicks…

3. Research cited in older texts may have been questioned or disproved by the time later texts are published and this is clearly a drawback as far as teaching is concerned. The extent to which this is actually a problem, given the texts republished here are, at most, 20 years old (i.e. they just about squeeze into contemporary definitions of, well, “contemporary”) is something you need to consider before using them.


The first set of freebies are texts that I’ve previously posted to Sociology Central but which, for some reason I never got around to posting here. Consider this omission rectified.

They were all written for the AQA Exam (the clue’s in the title) but there’s plenty here for teachers of other Specifications to get their teeth into. Probably. Don’t hold me to that.

For convenience I’ve posted the contents as discrete downloads because it’s probable there are some you’ll want and some you won’t.

AS Sociology for AQA: 1 (2005) consistsof 6 separate chapters (as, in my experience, chapters so-often are):

1. Introduction to Sociology

2. Families and Households

3. Education

4. Mass Media

5. Research Methods

6. Wealth, Poverty and Welfare

AS Sociology for AQA: 2 (2010) is the 2nd edition of the text that, depending on your faith in the Publisher’s blurb, may or may not have been “completely rewritten to meet the demands of a newer Specification” (I’m guessing “not” but what the heck):

1. Introduction to Sociology

2. Families and Households

3. Culture and Identity

4. Education

5. Research Methods

6. Wealth, Poverty and Welfare

A2 Sociology for AQA (2006)

1. Crime and Deviance

2. Global Development

3. Power and Politics

4. Social Inequality and Differentiation

5. Religion

6. Theory and Methods

The Real World: Now in its 6th edition (with a 7th due May 2021) – the options here are the 2nd edition (2008) and the 5th edition (2016) – this is more of a conventional textbook in the sense it has chapters covering all the basic stuff you might expect from a High School Sociology text (Culture, Methods, Education, deviance, Inequality…). It does, however, include extensive “Applications to the Real World” (hence, I suppose, its title) that encourage students to apply the stuff they’ve just learnt to situations and examples drawn from life. Or something.

Be that as it may, once you get past the sometimes big, bouncy and “in-yer-face” graphics there’s something pretty solid about the text.

Sociology the basics (2010): This is not a standard Sociology Textbook, if by “textbook” you mean “a book whose contents are going to help you pass an a-level exam”, but a worthwhile read if you or your students are interested in exploring some of the key ideas and questions some of us have regarding the social world. And indeed our place within it.

Although I guess it’s more of an undergraduate introduction to sociology there’s plenty here for A-level teachers to pick-and-choose for their students (the sociology of “tomatoes, toilets and telephones”?) if you want to give them an informed and informative introduction to “Real Sociology”.

Sociology: exploring the architecture of everyday life (2013): Again, not a textbook, as such, but rather a collection of readings you might, as a teacher, want to use to refresh your memory about key sociologists and theories or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, selectively feed to your students. Probably the former.

Global Sociology (2013) A Text for Teachers who want to get up-to-speed with all-things-global in order to keep at least 3-steps ahead of their students (although, to be fair, this one will probably put you a few miles ahead…).

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