This work encourages students to develop a "sociological imagination", enabling them to see how their position in society and in history shapes their personal lives. It explores the social forces, from global social systems to gender and age, that affect each individual's life chances. After an initial chapter that describes the sociological imagination, students are introduced to core concepts - starting at the macro-level - such as social change and social movements. The second part of the text focuses on the institutions that play a central role in people's lives. A final chapter focuses on emerging issues. The text aims to teach students to examine how the institutions they have taken for granted affect their lives for better or worse.