The U.S. political system suffers from endemic design flaws and is notable for the way that a small subset of Americans—whose interests often don’t align with those of the vast majority of the population—wields disproportionate power. Absent organized and persistent action on the part of ordinary Americans, the system tends to serve the already powerful. That’s why this text is called Attenuated Democracy. To attenuate something is to make it weak or thin. Democracy in America has been thin from the beginning and continues to be so despite some notable progress in voting rights. As political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens wrote, “The essence of democracy is not just having reasonably satisfactory policies; the essence of democracy is popular control of government, with each citizen having an equal voice.” (1) Since this is likely to be your only college-level course on the American political system, it is important to point out the structural weaknesses of our system and the thin nature of our democracy. Whenever you get the chance—in the voting booth, in your job, perhaps if you hold elected office—I encourage you to do something about America’s attenuated democracy.
The Introduction to Sociology Course was developed through the Ohio Department of Higher Education OER Innovation Grant. This work was completed and the course was posted in September 2018. The course is part of the Ohio Transfer Module and is also named OSS021. For more information about credit transfer between Ohio colleges and universities, please visit: www.ohiohighered.org/transfer.Team LeadIrene Petten Columbus State Community CollegeContent Contributors Dee Malcuit Clark State Community CollegeKwaku Oboso-Mensah Lorain County Community CollegeAnjel Stough-Hunter Ohio Dominican UniversityLibrarianSherri Saines Ohio UniversityReview TeamEric Jorrey Central Ohio Technical College
OER Text materialPolitics in the United StatesSociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World. 14.4.2, 14.4.3 The influence of felony disenfranchisement law and the existence of PACs and lobbying on political policy and economy are briefly reviewed.
Introduction to Sociology 2e adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical, one-semester introductory sociology course. It offers comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories, which are supported by a wealth of engaging learning materials. The textbook presents detailed section reviews with rich questions, discussions that help students apply their knowledge, and features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways. The second edition retains the book’s conceptual organization, aligning to most courses, and has been significantly updated to reflect the latest research and provide examples most relevant to today’s students. In order to help instructors transition to the revised version, the 2e changes are described within the preface.
Our book represents a unique opportunity for three generations of scholars to reflect upon and collectively consider their decades’ long research, and the meaning of that research to both the broader society and to students of contemporary politics. Nicholas Lovrich served as a graduate school mentor to Brent Steel, and Brent in turn mentored Christopher A. Simon as an undergraduate and guided him to study with Lovrich. Steel and Lovrich have collaborated on research for over 30 years, while Simon has frequently collaborated with Steel and Lovrich for nearly 20 years.