This economical paperback text is theoretically balanced, offers global perspectives, shows how sociology is applied to real problems, and contains a built-in study guide. This introduction to sociology uses the three major theoretical perspectives—functionalist, conflict, and interactionist—as tools for examining the social world. The author uses illuminating examples to show how society works and how human behavior is shaped by cultural, structural, and institutional forces. As in previous editions, the Sixth Edition also integrates two other themes that reflect contemporary trends in sociology. The first is a reemergence of interest in how sociological knowledge can be applied to social problems or to helping people improve their lives. The second is the recognition that societies and cultures are becoming increasingly diverse and interdependent.