This book is specifically designed to be used in a variety of my sociology courses, including Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems. It is an example of a sociological monograph, a detailed written study on a specialized scholarly subject and will illustrate how original sociological research is conducted, analyzed, and written.
Throughout this text, we will examine a wide variety of sociological concepts and theories while analyzing college life and a distinct period of the life-course known as emerging adulthood. This unique developmental stage occurs between the adolescent and adult years within the age range of 18 to 29. The result of widespread secondary education and a later age of marriage in late-modern societies, emerging adulthood involves a life stage of self-exploration, risk-taking, identity formation, changing affiliations (i.e., peers and romantic attachments), and shifts toward independence and adult sufficiency that frequently occurs in the college environment. For college students and emerging adults, self and identity exploration often entail a high degree of experimentation, including meeting different kinds of people, questioning their belief system, deciding on a college major or field of study, and engaging in risk-taking behaviors such as substance use. While reading this text, we will examine the social controls that operate among and upon emerging adults as they navigate college, substance use, and social life. The data are drawn from six years of participant-observation and 100 in-depth interviews with junior and senior level college students.