sociology for the public


Sociological takes on recent news and research.

Rethinking Sexual Violence

Sociologist Nacy Whittier reviews the books Sex Panic and the Punitive State, At the Dark End of the Street, and Unspeakable. Each differently addresses sexual violence in relation to race, class, and criminalization. Read More

Thinking in Context

The book Thinking, Fast and Slow is reviewed and shows what sociologists could learn from Daniel Kahneman's work on behavioral economics by extending this knowledge to cover the study of social interactions. Read More

What They’re Reading

A "list" of what five sociologists and one sociologically-minded journalist are currently reading. Read More

Ubiquitous Spirituality

Two books, The New Metaphysicals and The American Soul Rush, are compared and reviewed to show how each addresses the central place that spiritual experience occupies in American culture. Read More

What are College Students Really Learning

Two books, Academically Adrift and Degrees of Inequality, are compared and reviewed as in-roads to understanding the college experience. The books both offer an investigation of the question “what are college students really learning?” Read More

The Library of Affecting Social Science

A “list” of social science texts that move us and continually captivate our minds and emotions. Read More

Crisis Talk: Finance Under Scrutiny

Two books, Crisis Economics and Reckless Endangerment, are compared and reviewed to shed light on economic crises and financial scrutiny. The books both look at regulatory mechanisms and the problem of getting regulations right. Read More

The Store—and the Nail Salon—in the Hood

Two recent books, The Store in the Hood and The Managed Hand, are compared and reviewed as sociological in-roads to diverse, inner-city economies. The books both show how the conditions under which ethnic entrepreneurs and their customers meet are shaped by forces beyond the control of either group. Read More

Socialism and Neoliberalism in Chavez’s Venezuela

Since 2004, Hugo Chavez’s government has put resources into creating citizen support through cooperatives, councils, community media, and other participatory initiatives. But, as Sujatha Fernandes writes in Who Can Stop the Drums?, this support comes with strings attached. Read More

Welfare-to-Work Doesn’t Really Work

Two analyses of welfare policy as it has played out for over a decade shows how welfare-to-work programs fail to meet the basic needs of their participants and their communities. Read More