I’m very happy to announce that after years of work my book Introduction to Sociology (Routledge, 2020) is finally out now!

I wrote this textbook to provide sociology instructors with teaching materials that are based on up to date, rigorous sociological research. It presents key sociological theories and findings to students in an accessible way. Moreover, the textbook introduces a useful set of analytical principles and tools which helps students to think like a sociologist – such as how to derive a hypothesis, how to use micro-macro frameworks, and how to formulate interesting sociological questions.

I hope this new textbook will equip the next generation of students with the knowledge and tools needed to analyze any sociological topic and any contemporary social problem – even those with which one is yet unfamiliar.

Why write a new textbook?

I have had the pleasure of giving introductory courses for many years, sharing sociological insights with first-year students. However, I have always felt uncomfortable with the completely out-of-date sociological ideas and findings presented in textbooks. As has been frequently noted by others as well, there are “two sociologies.” On the one hand, there is sociological knowledge presented in textbooks, which presents a picture of the discipline of sociology as it was decades ago and which has long been abandoned by sociologists. On the other hand, there are sociological insights published in contemporary sociological journals and books, presenting cutting-edge theories and research findings, but this state of the art is not incorporated in sociology textbooks.

I have written this book in the spirit of uniting the “two sociologies,” to write a textbook which not only addresses foundational sociological work but also integrates insights from contemporary sociological research. I think this book presents a more accurate picture of what current sociology is actually about and also proves more useful to students for understanding and mitigating social problems. It is written primarily as an introduction to sociology, which means that the materials are presented in a highly accessible and engaging way. It covers a rich diversity of sociological topics and social problems, such as crime, immigration, race and ethnicity, media, education, family, organizations, gender, poverty, modernization and religion.

My hope is that, after reading this book, students have become familiar with key knowledge in sociology. This means that students get to know several core sociological concepts, theories, perspectives, methods and findings. Furthermore, I hope that this textbook will help students learn to think like a sociologist. My hope is that this book offers students a “sociological toolkit,” a set of useful insights, tools and principles that will enable them to do research like a sociologist themselves. Thinking like a sociologist means that students have not only familiarized themselves with key sociological knowledge, but that, for example, they are able to develop a new theory themselves, or that they can formulate interesting sociological questions about a certain topic. Being able to think like a sociologist helps to analyze any sociological topic and any contemporary social problem—even those with which one is as yet unfamiliar.

Description of the book

Table of Contents

  1. Questions
  2. Theories
  3. Methods
  4. Perspectives
  5. Opinions
  6. Norms
  7. Networks
  8. Groups
  9. Social stratification and mobility
  10. Resources
  11. Immigration and integration
  12. Modernization
  13. Religion

Pedagogical features

The book presents a range of helpful pedagogical features, such as:

  • Chapter overview and learning goals summaries at the start of every chapter;
  • Thinking like a sociologist boxes, encouraging students to reflect critically on learning points;
  • Principle boxes, summarizing key sociological principles;
  • Theory schema boxes, presenting sociological theories in a clear, understandable manner;
  • Stylized facts highlighting key empirical findings and patterns;
  • Key concepts and summary sections at the end of every chapter;

Companion website

The companion website provides additional material for every chapter:

For students:

  • Multiple choice questions categorised by chapter
  • Glossary definitions of the key terms, per chapter
  • Suggestions for further reading
  • Appendices to several chapters, presenting supplemental and more in-depth material

For instructors

  • Customisable PowerPoint presentations covering the main points of each chapter
  • A comprehensive test bank of short assignable questions testing knowledge gained
  • Discussion questions with Answers for each chapter


“Finally a free-of-dust introduction to state-of-the-art sociology. Van Tubergen presents an excellent and most engaging overview of the discipline and shows beginners how to think as sociologists. An indispensable book to teach and learn the sociology that really matters.” Prof. Javier Polavieja, University of Carlos III Madrid, Spain

“Frank van Tubergen’s excellent introduction delivers a fresh and unique approach to the key challenge of teaching Sociology: how can we combine the fascination for all the many social phenomena with the virtue of clear and systematic thinking, step by step? It was more than time to have such a textbook available.” Prof. Frank Kalter, University of Mannheim, Germany

“I’ve been waiting for an introduction like this for years. It introduces students to sociology’s overarching themes and shows how the principles of asking sociological questions, formulating and testing sociological ideas, and thus building knowledge applies across the seemingly different topics in our broad discipline. If you’re looking for an introduction that helps your students understand and engage with state-of-the-art (academic) sociology, look no further. This is an excellent introduction for students wishing to understand the key principles of building sound sociological knowledge and applying the sociological perspective across a wide range of topics. I will be recommending this to all our graduate students – whether they already took an intro to sociology or not.” Prof. Christiaan Monden, University of Oxford, UK

“Frank van Tubergen’s Introduction to Sociology is an invitation to think like a sociologist, written with a passion for the discipline and a mastery of the sociological toolkit. The book is a beacon for the aspiring sociology student and an inspiring and positive call for sociology as a science.” Prof. Christofer Edling, Lund University, Sweden

“A most welcome, distinctive, new take on “the introduction to sociology” textbook.” Prof. Daniel McFarland, Stanford University, USA

“Prof. van Tubergen’s Introduction to Sociology  is very original in the understanding of social phenomena with the scheme of common themes such as norms, groups, networks, stratification, etc., which cuts across various institutional lives. The organization of the textbook is also very innovative and coherent in its approach to introducing students sociological imagination.” Prof. Ping-Yin Kuan, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

“I’ve been teaching both ‘Introduction to Sociology’ and ‘Social Theory’ modules for a number of years and have never been able to find a textbook that I could recommend to my students for either. I’d given up looking for a textbook and was resigned to having to write them myself. You can imagine how overjoyed I was then to receive this draft text to review! Finally, a textbook that treats sociology as ‘normal science’ seeking explanations for social phenomena using social mechanisms and rigorous evidence. The focus on asking good questions and developing a sociological ‘toolkit’ means that students can see sociology as a coherent discipline which offers explanation, not just description. I really like the way that each chapter opens with a social pattern which is puzzling or at least interesting and then sets out to show how sociology can help us understand how it emerges from different social processes.” Prof. Richard Layte, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

“Introduction to Sociology is een fraai uitgewerkte inleiding met veel nadruk op het leren denken en begrijpen van de wereld vanuit een sociologisch perspectief. Van Tubergen geeft een duidelijk en uitgebreid overzicht van de stand van de hedendaagse sociologie, waarbij hij oog heeft voor de verschillende invalshoeken, zowel theoretisch als methodologisch.” Dr. Bram Peper, Tilburg University, Netherlands. Book review, Mens & Maatschappij (in Dutch). See here the full review.

Where to order the book?

Instructors can request an inspection copy here.

You can order the book from Routledge or Amazon.