Our Goals

Since it debuted in 2002, we’ve seen Contexts as one of the most ambitious, exciting, and downright important publications in the American Sociological Association portfolio. Not only because of its core mission to bring sociology to a wider public audience, but also because of our conviction that a publicly engaged sociology constantly reinvents and reinvigorates itself, and in so doing produces new knowledge and insight.

We’re thus honored to take over a venture which, in a few short years, has won awards, built a deeply loyal constituency and solid subscription base, and now produced an exciting new classroom reader.

Our first and most important goal, therefore, is to not screw things up—or put more professionally, to maintain the standards of excellence on features, photo essays, and reviews established by previous editors Claude Fischer, Jim Jasper, and Jeff Goodwin, and the various contributing editors who have organized the magazine’s sections over the years.

We want to expand and diversify the types of sociology in our pages and the sociologists who contribute to them. That in mind, we welcome a new group of scholars to our Editorial Board, each of whom was chosen specifically to lend new voices, visions, and expertise. And we’ll look forward to welcoming your submission, too.

Our inaugural issue introduces what they call in the business a “freshened design” intended to streamline and unify some of the content and design innovations of recent years. We’re also adding a few wrinkles of our own, among them the Reflected Appraisals section, a new back page column titled One Thing I Know, and a reconceived approach to book reviews intended to better complement the academic functions of our sister publication Contemporary Sociology.

Then there’s the redesigned website, contexts.org. It’s now up and running, and we have high hopes Contexts’ online presence will provide a forum for further exchange and become a key access point to sociology for both the general public and the media.

The next couple years will be crucial as we come to the conclusion of the 10-year plan ASA used to launch Contexts. Working with our publisher and ASA’s Executive Office, we plan to test a series of ideas for dramatically increasing the circulation and visibility of the whole Contexts enterprise. So stay tuned on that.

Let us know what you think. And what you’d like to write. With your scholarship and contributions, Contexts will reflect the breadth of its ASA membership and all that sociology has to offer.