Sociology analyzes how our opportunities and world views are shaped by social institutions. As individuals, we have some power to direct our lives but less control over our destiny than we might think. Even the significance of personal characteristics such as ethnicity, race, or gender is to a great extent assigned to us by social groups. This anthology presents a set of readings selected and introduced by Mary Blair-Loy to help students develop their own analytical perspective on society. It begins with classical readings by sociology s founders and then presents recent research on social class, race and ethnicity, immigration, and gender. Finally, it focuses on how these dimensions intersect in the lives of college students. Most readings are pieces of original scholarship. The volume also includes topical overviews written for a college audience as well as recent news articles. The selections in the anthology help readers learn to discern social and cultural structures throughout society, which are often hidden. By becoming aware of structural constraints in our lives, we will become more empowered to change them. Mary Blair-Loy teaches Sociology and directs the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions at UC San Diego. Her research uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study broadly-shared cultural schemas that help shape workplace and family institutions. These schemas frame some decisions and goals as morally and emotionally compelling while defining others as off-limits. Her award-winning book, Competing Devotions: Career and Family among Women Executives, focuses on executive women, while other research investigates attorneys, scientists, stockbrokers, call center employees, and managers. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an M.Div. from Harvard. She lives with her family in California.