This new edition of Allan G. Johnson's one-volume sociology dictionary includes 75 new entries, as well as an expanded biographical section, extensive revisions and updates, and a more thorough cross-referencing. Written by a sociologist who is also an accomplished writer and teacher, it is aimed primarily at students, but will also be of use to professionals looking for an introduction to core concepts outside their area of expertise. Its combination of clear prose, engaging examples, a single author's voice, and its minimal assumptions about the average reader's prior knowledge of sociology and its related fields, makes this a unique and valuable reference work.
William M. Wentworth in Contemporary Sociology : Here is a book that every academic library and every department of sociology should own. In an ideal world in which cost was no object, each sociology student-graduate and undergraduate-should also have a copy. The author's short opening essay is clear and valu able. Johnson explains the relationship of a discipline's vocabulary to the discipline and to the portion of the world that makes up the subject matter for study. This alone would be an important understanding for undergraduates to have. He also explains the limitations of a desktop reference book. The limitations are not highly visible. Johnson has chosen his vocabulary items well. Every word I looked up was there. Unlike earlier dictionaries of the social sciences, this one includes methodological and statistical terminology. His essay definitions are very good, and closely representative of the discipline (not idiosyncratic). He precisely grasps the distinctive elements of each concept. Each item has at least one reference to a source book; each definition includes various cross-referencing concepts. Unexpectedly for an alphabetized dictionary, there is an index to help further in cross-referencing and finding embedded topics and names. And the publisher can take credit for a clear layout, a good choice of paper, and a very profession al look. Finally, there is an interesting section of over 150 biographical sketches. Both genders are well represented, and the material is extremely cogent.