These essays probe issues of central importance to North American societies in the 21st century. The chapters in part one revise theory and methods to comprehend the economic and political institutions that increasingly dominate the lives of individuals and groups, arguing that these giants must be made more democratically accountable. Part two explores the social effects that growing globalization, transnationalization, and information technologies are having on politics, economics and the environment. The final chapters compare how new immigrants from increasingly diversified backgrounds are being absorbed in Canada and the United States, exploring the impact that immigrants are having on pre-existing ethnic minorities and on the dominant political culture. While it is an attempt to refocus the discipline of sociology, the book's nontechnical style and its attention to issues of central concern to all citizens should make it also accessible to nonspecialists.