Taking Contexts Online

The Contexts vision is—as it has been since the beginning in 2001—to translate great sociology into an accessible format for both academic and public audiences. The cornerstone of this effort is, of course, the print product you hold in your hands. But as editors and true believers, we’re constantly on the look-out for new and exciting ways to bring the sociological research and insight in Contexts to wider circulation and influence. The focal point of efforts on this front can be found at our new website, contexts.org.

Before our first print issue had even gone to press, our talented, savvy, and tireless web editor, Jon Smajda, built contexts.org. There you’ll find extended content on each of the articles featured in our pages. For Andrew Lindner’s article on embedded media in Iraq, for example, we link to a contract specifying the “ground rules” governing the relationship between embedded reporters and the military. Other features include links to materials for further study, audio and video clips, supplemental materials provided by authors, and even some of the “hate mail” inspired by sociological research. (Suffice it to say, Rob Sampson’s work on immigration and crime, featured in our last issue, has been a real, um, hit.)

As we develop this site, our plan is to maintain an easy electronic access point for the print version of Contexts while taking full advantage of the flexibility, responsiveness, and accessibility of the internet. At contexts.org we can offer timely analysis and commentary on current events and a responsive forum for community-building with scholars, journalists, policy makers, and the general public.

To these ends, we’ve recently launched two blogs we’d love you to check out. The Discoveries blog (contexts.org/discoveries) has grown out of the popular Discoveries feature in the magazine. Here we’ll point you to the latest sociological research that’s lighting a fire under our Graduate Student Editorial Board and editorial team. A second blog, Contexts Crawler (contexts.org/crawler), scans the internet for media reports and other insights offered by sociologists, and brings them together in one space nearly everyday. Both blogs present ample evidence that the sociological imagination is alive and well—and that we’re really just getting started.

While we hope contexts.org will open a few new vistas for sociological influence and community building, we see such efforts as wholly in keeping with the fundamental goals, principles, and insights of this publication and our discipline. After all, the tag line of this magazine is Understanding People in their Social Worlds. The combined strengths of contexts.org and our print publication offer an even better forum to understand the social worlds around us—and to better connect with the social worlds of our readers.