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Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Brief Edition, v. 1.0

by Steven E. Barkan

Chapter 1 Sociology and the Sociological Perspective

Americans live in a free country. Unlike people living in many other nations in the world, Americans generally have the right to think and do what we want—that is, as long as we do not hurt anyone else. We can choose to go to college or not to go; we can be conservative or be liberal; we can believe in a higher deity or not hold this belief; and we can decide to have a romantic relationship with whoever will have us or not to have such a relationship. We make up our own minds on such issues as abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, gun control, health care, and taxes. We are individuals, and no one has the right to tell us what to do (as long as our actions are legal) or how to think.