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Producing Textbook Sociology*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2010

Jeff Manza
Department of Sociology, New York University []
Michael Sauder
Department of Sociology, University of Iowa []
Nathan Wright
Department of Sociology, Bryn Mawr College [].
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The conservative role of the textbook in reproducing the dominant ideas of a disciplinary field is well known. The factors driving that content have remained almost entirely unexamined. Reviewing the universe of textbooks aimed at the American market between 1998 and 2004, we explore the persistence of the identification in American sociology textbooks of a paradigm in which structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism are used to frame the theoretical core of the discipline. We examine how over time the textbook market produces both supply and demand pressures to reproduce content that is at odds with the mainstream of the profession. We draw upon in-depth interviews with recent textbook authors and their editors.


Il est bien connu que les manuels pour étudiants transmettent toujours une vue des idées dominantes en retrait par rapport au front de la science. Cependant les facteurs causaux ont été peu étudiés. Si l’on prend le cas de la sociologie aux États-Unis sur la période 1998-2004, on voit que le structuro-fonctionnalisme, théorie du conflit, et interactionnisme symbolique sont présents comme s’ils constituaient encore l’essentiel du corpus théorique de la discipline. Une enquête sur et auprès des auteurs comme des maisons d’édition fait apparaître certains éléments d’explication tant du côté de la demande que de l’offre.


Wie bekannt, vermitteln Schulbücher Wissen gängiger Ideen und stehen der Wissenschaft hinten an. Die kausalen Gründe für diesen Sachverhalt sind wenig untersucht. Zwischen 1998-2004 wird die Soziologie in den USA noch als struktureller Funktionalismus, als Konflikttheorie und symbolischer Interaktionismus dargestellt, gerade so als wären sie noch Hauptbestandteil der soziologischen Theorie. Eine Untersuchung sowohl der Autoren als auch der Verlage weist einige Elemente auf, die mit Angebot und Nachfrage erklärt werden können.

Research Articles
Copyright © A.E.S. 2010

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