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Encyclopedias & More: Sociology

Find specialized academic encyclopedia entries, dictionary definitions and more!


Dictionary of Sociology

Issued in 2009, the 2,500 jargon-free entries in this work are drawn from sociology and the related fields of psychology, economics, anthropology, philosophy, and political science, providing broad coverage of the scope of sociological research. Biographies covering key figures are also included.

Dictionary of the Social Sciences

A search under “Sociology “ in this volume calls up entries on the field in general, plus coverage of political sociology,  the Chicago School of Sociology, social Darwinism, and biographies of Talcott Parsons and Karl Mannheim.

Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice

Very useful for obtaining background on the topics, concepts, and ideas that motivate and shape the fields of activism, civil engagement, and social justice and includes biographies of the major thinkers and leaders who have influenced and continue to influence the study of activism.

Encyclopedia of Community

Reaching from the nineteenth century to the social networks of the Internet, this volume explores the ways in which the idea of community has been defined and expressed by different ethnic and activist groups and social structures as varied as apartheid and the communes of America.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues

The purpose of this work is to provide coherent background to a wide range of social issues that frequently appear in every forum, from blogs and tweets to online newspapers and newsfeeds. Four volumes examine business and the economy, criminal justice, family and society, and the environment, science, and technology.

Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment

Crime and the history of its definition and society’s responses to controlling and preventing it is well treated in this readable volume. Entries include references to both print and online resources.

Encyclopedia of Homelessness

The first systematic reference work aimed at organizing and summarizing current knowledge of homelessness. While the chief focus is on the current situation in the United States, a comparative sampling of homelessness around the world is also provided.

Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence

Issued in 2008, the subject of this work is defined as “behavior that intentionally threatens, attempts, or actually inflicts harm on another,“ and which can occur in any social situation or stage of life.

Encyclopedia of Juvenile Justice

The articles in this work assess one of the more complicated areas of criminology, covering historical and contemporary theories, concepts, and real-world practices of juvenile justice in the United States. Subjects covered range from alcohol and drug abuse and the death penalty for juveniles to computer and Internet crime to school violence, teen pregnancy, and delinquency theories.

Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives

The focus of this volume is to present law as a social element and structure, comparing the American system with its counterparts worldwide to provide historical and comparative perspectives. Data from cultural anthropology, political science, social psychology, and economics, as well as sociology and criminology are included.

Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement

This reference set is unusual due to the broad scope of coverage it provides on all facets of law enforcement on the state and local, federal and national, and international stages. Discussions on the theory and practice of policing in historical and contemporary perspectives are also included.

Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics

Given the wide use made in sociology of data obtained via survey instruments and statistical analysis, beginning and experienced researchers will find the readable entries in this work invaluable.

Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime

Crime and its victims have long been an area of sociological research in various forms, so the breadth of coverage provided by this work will be useful to both the general reader and the specialist. Entries take several formats, including substantial essays on criminal terms, pathologies, criminal justice, concise case studies of serial murderers, infamous crimes and their investigations, and relatively brief definitions of relevant legal and criminological terms.

Encyclopedia of Prisons and Correctional Facilities

Prisons and correctional systems are often included in more general works on criminology. The 400 essays in this 2005 set allows for in-depth treatment of the subject and major issues associated with it. An appendix presents data on every federal prison in the U.S., complete with facility details and service information.

Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods

A useful source of information on the range of methods applied in the varied fields of social science within and outside sociology.

Encyclopedia of Social Theory

Covering the origins and development of the idea of social theory from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to contemporary writings, this set explores the global landscape of all the key theories and the theorists behind them, presenting them in the context needed to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America

This is the only reference work that focuses solely on the systems of social welfare existing in Mexico, Canada, and the United States, allowing for comparison of how these adjacent nations have responded to common welfare challenges. Significant events, influential people, legislation, social problems, and societal responses are described in detail.

Encyclopedia of War and American Society

The highly diverse impact of war on American culture both during specific conflicts and in the years between them are explored in the entries in this unique volume, issued in 2005. Emphasis  is on the last 100 years. Topics discussed range from the usual profiles of military leaders to continuing issues involving race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and veterans.

Encyclopedia of White-Collar and Corporate Crime

The history, definitions, examples, investigation, prosecution, assessments, challenges, and projections dealing with these two types of widely-publicized crimes are deftly and thoroughly summarized in this work. Examples of a variety of white-collar crimes, persons, statutes, and companies involved are provided.

Encyclopedia of World Poverty

Issued in 2006, this set looks not only at conditions of poverty in different regions of the planet, but also includes articles exploring the range of measurement tools utilized and definitions applied for this tenacious social problem.          


A searchable gateway to statistics gathered by over 100 U.S. Federal agencies. Data can be obtained in graphic form through MAPSTATS, by jurisdictions from the international to the local level, by source agency, or from a list of topics for which data have been recorded.

Handbook of Crime and Punishment

Researchers beginning work in this complex topic will find the opening essay, “Crime and America,“ useful background. The original volume was published in 1998.

Handbook of Death and Dying

The topic of death is approached by a variety of fields of study, and this thoughtfully built volume enables any researcher to gain valuable overviews of this complex body of literature. Nine sections cover: death in a cultural context, death in a social context, dying as a social process, controversial aspects of death (such as suicide and capital punishment) funeral customs worldwide, legal issues connected with death, the social aftermath of grief and bereavement, disposition of the body, and the response of the visual and performing arts to death as reality and subject.

Labadie Collection (University of Michigan)

This special library is the oldest collection of materials documenting a wide variety of social protest movements from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Materials range from political buttons to original manuscripts and audio recordings.

The Making of America

A digital library created by the University of Michigan in cooperation with Cornell University and supported by the Mellon Foundation. The University of Michigan scanned 1,600 books and ten journals from their own library. This site is easy to navigate and has advanced features such as three search modes (Boolean, proximate words, and a regular index structured by author, title, and subject).

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences

A good, basic tool dealing with social science terminology, produced by Athabasca University, Canada's open university.

Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Criminal Law

Legal literature is often confusing for outsiders to the field. This handbook opens by examining the limits of criminal law and its defining elements and concepts, such as culpability, then moves to examine specific issues often associated with it. These include the insanity defense, gender influences, and hate speech and obscenity.

Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Beginning with the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, this handbook tracks the major writers within the field of sociology who have contributed to the definitions and analyses of organizations and the ways they influence both each other and the society that created them.

Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Published in 2010, this handbook explores the origin, development, and issues associated with the idea of  institutionalized assistance, both in the northern hemisphere and elsewhere across the world. Issues treated range from family benefits and unemployment to public attitudes towards welfare and its impact on minority populations.

21st Century Sociology

The most recent reference work surveying both the traditional areas of investigation and the newer areas of research interest which emerged in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.