Contesting the putative "even-handedness" of many introductory social science texts, this innovative book presents strong and provocative arguments on contemporary social issues that will stimulate readers to think critically. The principal theme of the book is that social science is at its best, and most exciting, when it confronts and refutes "cultures of prejudice"—intricate systems of beliefs and attitudes that sustain many forms of social oppression and that are, themselves, sustained by ignorance and fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. Such a critical social science, it is argued, can make an important contribution to promoting human freedom and extending human capacities.
Discussions range from the personal to the political, the national to the global, encompassing social policy analysis (law, health, and welfare), the status of women, and animal liberation, as well as nationalism, racism, political ideology, the global economy, and terrorism. This passionately argued book is an excellent supplementary text for undergraduate social science students, as well as a stimulating read for all those open to hard-hitting confrontations with conventional wisdom. Beginning each chapter with an aphorism, anecdote, or quotation that reflects, illustrates, or challenges particular prejudices, the authors offer concise critical discussions of the issues, informed by some of the best research and thought in the social scientific literature.