People are naturally curious about their social world.
They ask themselves why they are still not married in their thirties, why there is so much crime in the streets, and whether their work is really so much more rushed and intense than it used to be.
These questions are not just the staples of everyday thought and conversation.
They are also routinely the subjects of public pronouncements by politicians, journalists and anybody else who has the power to express their opinions to the public.
Sociology is the intellectual discipline that seeks to provide answers to those questions by the deployment of argument and evidence.
In doing so it will often question basic assumptions that we all make about our social world and therefore has the capacity to upset settled or conventional opinions.
This book is an invitation to engage in this endeavour.
It is intended for people who are curious about the social world - for existing students of sociology, for those who are considering taking a course in the subject, and for those who are simply wondering what sociology can tell them that they do not know already.