Inspiring Their Sociological Imaginations: Professor Book Recommendations

When Dr. Venkatesh spoke with graduate students this past Fall, he gave a list of book recommendations he felt as if every graduate student should read.  To continue with last semester’s newsletter theme of Imagination, department faculty sent along book recommendations for graduate students that inspired their sociological imagination?

William Falk:

“My recommendation is an old, classic book:  Peter L. Berger’s Invitation To Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective.  It’s a short, fairly easy-to-read book and for graduate students (especially in their first year), it’s a wonderful overview of what sociology is – complete with citations too and use of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.  Although using very dated masculine pronouns (remember, it’s an old book), Berger’s chapters on “man in society” and “society in man” are great reminders about not only the micro-macro dimensions within sociology but equally, how social order is created and sustained.  Berger asserts that “society is the walls of our imprisonment” and then, in a further chapter, asks:  “why is the yoke of society made easy to bear?”  To me, these are timeless issues for our sociological imaginations (something else he discusses!).”

Melissa Milkie:

“I think The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling by Arlie Russell Hochschild was one that really was insightful in linking the social world with self and emotion.  It was her best book, by far.”

Stanley Presser:

“Your request for book suggestions arrived while I was visiting Indonesia, so it was hard not to think of The Interpretation of Cultures by Clifford Geertz – much of which concerns Bali and Java.  The essays, several brilliant, are a model of how to think social scientifically.  Unlike many of us, Geertz writes beautifully, and thus is a pleasure to read.  If you think you don’t have time for the entire book, read “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (chapter 15).  Then you’ll want to read the other chapters as well.”

And Dr. Venkatesh’s recommendations were:

The Informational City: Economic Restructuring and Urban Development by Manuel Castells

The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch

The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo by Saskia Sassen

The Social Order of the Slum: Ethnicity and Territory in the Inner City by Gerald D. Suttles

The Gold Coast and the Slum by Harvey Warren Zorbaugh

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