Teachers of A-level sociology will be aware of the vast range of textbooks on the subject now available. These two new publications both lay claim to a place on our bookshelves and for different reasons.
Readings in Sociology is by the same team that produced the excellent key textbook, Sociology in Perspectives. The new book is a companion to the former, and shares many features - it is highly academic, probably best suited to students in their second year of A-level study, and is packed with up-to-date, cutting-edge knowledge. It can be tough going, but the selection of extracts is excellent.
The authors have built in some effective student-friendly features. For example, syllabus skills are developed through exercises at the end of each extract. This is a high-quality publication.
Success in Sociology was co-written by Martin Marcus, who died just after the book was completed. It is a fitting tribute to Martin, who did much to further the teaching of sociology. It is accessible, the sort of textbook most students would use effectively with very little guidance. It does lack a certain "cutting edge" quality, but this is more than made up for by its solid, exam-relevant qualities, its blend of qualitative data, diagrams and text, and its broad coverage of key topics. A very user-friendly textbook.
Clearly, these books serve very different purposes, but I would urge teachers of A-level sociology to review both texts. Used appropriately, they will both have tremendous value.
Mike Moores is a lecturer in sociology at Weald College, Harrow, north-west London