Sociology 131
Critical Book Reviews

Kerry A. Rockquemore
Henry Ford Community College

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DUE DATE: December 11, by 5:00pm. NO EXCUSES.

LENGTH: Critical Book Reviews should be between 3-5 pages. They must be computer generated (no hand written papers). Papers should be double spaced and in a reasonable font.

FORMAT: The purpose of a critical book review is to 1) concisely restate the main line of argument proposed by the author and 2) intelligently critique the authors argument.

Restate the main idea: The easiest approach to this is to read the book in one or two settings. When you are don reading, put the book down ad try to summarize the MAIN idea in you own words. DO NOT Highlight! It is distracting and is more useful when you need to recall minute detail (which you do not need to do in this particular context.

Critique: There are various strategies to critiquing the argument. There may be clear holes in the logic of the discussion or a failure to substantiate assertions with empirical evidence. If you come across these things, your task will be easy. Another approach is think about what theoretical perspective the author(s) are drawing from (i.e., functionalism, social conflict, or symbolic interactionsim). Think about the assumptions each perspective has about the social world and try to critique the argument from another perspective. For example, if you can identify an argument as being functionalist - try to look at the same phenomenon from a conflict perspective to formulate a critique.

The critical review should read like an essay - not a set of questions and answers.




Anderson, Elijah (1994). Streetwise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Becker, Howard (1987). Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: The Free Press.

Coleman, James William 91994). The Criminal Elite: The Sociology of White-Collar Crime. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Davis, F. James (1991). Who Is Black?: One Nations Definition. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press.

Hacker, Andrew J. (1992). Two Nations: Black and White; Seperate, Hostile, Unequal. New York: Ballantine Books.

Hooks, bell (1992). Black Looks: Race and Representation. Boston: South End Press.

Hooks, bell (1996). Outlaw Culture. New York: Routledge.

Jencks, Christopher. (1995). The Homeless. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton (1993). American Apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Oliver, Melvin and Thomas Shapiro (1995). Black Wealth, White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. New York: Routledge.

Wilson, William J. 91987). The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press..

 Last Revised: 9/8/98
Kerry A. Rockquemore
143 Liberal Arts
Henry Ford Community College
5101 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Henry Ford Community College