Problem-Solving Sociology: A Guide for Students

ISBN : 9780197558492

Monica Prasad
240 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Dec 2021
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A broad resource that offers tools for how to conduct problem-solving sociology in order to deepen and reformulate our understanding of society. Most students arrive in graduate sociology programs eager to engage with the pressing social and political issues of the day. Yet that initial enthusiasm does not always survive the professional socialization of graduate school. In Problem-Solving Sociology, Monica Prasad shows graduate students and early career sociologists how to conduct research that uses sociological theory to help solve real-world problems, and how to use problem-solving to improve sociological theory. Prasad discusses how to be objective when examining issues of injustice and oppression, and provides methodological strategies and plenty of exercises for research aimed at creating change. She gives examples throughout of problem-solving research conducted at all levels, from undergraduate theses to the major figures of the discipline. She also considers how to respond to some common objections; where problem-solving fits into the landscape of sociological practice; and how to build a life in problem-solving.


1. The Thought Machine
2. But is it Objective?
3. Victims and Villains
4. A Magic Trick: Research Design for Problem-Solving
5. The View from Mars
6. Decision Points and Exercises (1): Finding Your Project
7. Decision Points and Exercises (2): Troubling Your Assumptions
8. Decision Points and Exercises (3): Clarifying and Defending Your Argument
9. The Place of Problem Solving in American Sociology
10. An Orrery of Objections
11. When to Stop Problem Solving
12. Building Your Own Boat

About the author: 

Monica Prasad Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She has written three award-winning books: Starving the Beast: Ronald Reagan and the Tax Cut Revolution, The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty, and The Politics of Free Markets: The Rise of Neoliberal Economic Policies in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. Her scholarship has received the Fulbright award, the National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and several other grants and awards. For more on problem-solving sociology see: problemsolvingsociology.com

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