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Introduction to Sociology

A big, free (open-source), Sociology textbook (plus resources) that could be used to supplement your existing textbooks and classroom resources.

Sage Dictionary of Sociology

This has always been something of a standard in this field and even though this version is over 10 years old there’s still plenty here to interest a-level sociologists looking for concise explanations of complex concepts.

Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology

The 2007 version, edited by Georges Ritzer, consists of short articles on a very wide range of topics. Probably more a teacher’s than a student text.

Sociology for Dummies

If you want to give your students a slightly irreverent take on sociology and sociologists this can be a good place to start. Although it’s not a textbook, as such, it does contain a lot of useful material. More importantly, however, encouraging your students to read any “non-textbook sociology” resource is probably a bonus.

Sociology 6th Edition

Anthony Giddens’ long-running textbook (currently in its 8th edition) covers most of the usual suspects (Family, Education, Crime, Media…) plus slightly more-esoteric areas like Nations, War and Terrorism. There's also an online flipbook version available.

Sociology and You

This American High School textbook, published in 2002, is a little dated in terms of content if not necessarily design - it employs many of the features we now take for granted in contemporary textbooks: short pieces of text around big colourful pictures, key terms identified, tables, boxouts, short readings and simple assessments. If you don't want to download the whole textbook it's possible to download and examine each of the 17 individual chapters.

Sociology and You. Too

An updated (circa 2008) version of the textbook that boasts a new design and some updating of the text. As with its predecessor, you can either use the main link to download the complete textbook (around 200mb...) or you can download single chapters if you don't want the whole textbook. A range of supporting materials - mainly PowerPoint Presentations - are also available for download. These may prove useful whether or not you decide to use the textbook.

Sociology 101

Another fairly recent text that conforms, once again, to contemporary notions of textbook design. It does, however, have quite a bit of text packed into its pages and this probably reflects the fact it’s mainly aimed at American undergraduate Introduction to Sociology (Sociology 101) courses. Having said that there’s little here that should be beyond most a-level students. Once again you’ll find familiar sections (Family, Education, Deviance…) sitting alongside sections (Politics and the Economy, Urbanisation) that don’t really feature much in UK Specifications.

Sociology in Our Times

This is a contemporary-styled textbook and the areas it covers (family, education, deviance, religion…) will be familiar to UK Sociology teachers and students, as will much of the content.

Introduction to Sociology

This is a more conventional sociology textbook from Wikibooks built around the Wikipedia “open content” principle that it can be edited by anyone – something that’s both a towering strength and obvious potential weakness. You can download the pdf version of the book or, if you prefer, simply view it online (which will give you some idea of both content and general format). As a general rule it’s text-heavy and picture-light.

Basics of Sociology

Although a slightly older (2012) text that makes few, if any, concessions to contemporary styling (when I say it’s a text book I really mean it’s a book with lots of text). In this respect it’s a bit like the “Themes and Perspectives” produced around this time – perhaps a little advanced for many students but may reward those who like to read about things in a little more depth.

Understanding Media and Culture

Free textbook focused on the cultural impact of different types of media, both old (books, newspapers, film and television) and new (video games, entertainment, the Internet and social media). Each type is given their own discrete chapter which, among other things, looks at their broad development, relationship to culture and, perhaps most-interestingly, how they have been impacted by the development of new technologies.

Sociology  (Brief Edition)

Another perfectly-serviceable American textbook, released under a Creative Commons licence. It’s probably a little more text-heavy than more contemporary texts but once again it’s a book whose general content could be used to give your students a bit more depth if you think they need it.


Free. If a little bit dated. Sometimes.

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