Contexts

understanding people in their social worlds

Books

Sociological takes on recent news and research.

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

My Hollywood and the Nanny Book Phenomenon

By and large, the recent crop of nanny-tales ignores the realities of childcare workers (and their employers), relying instead on messages of racial and cultural superiority and assurances that money cannot buy happiness. Read More

The World Without Us?

The future of higher education is up for grabs. Diane Pike finds, in two recent books, a call to action for social scientists and academics in the liberal arts. Read More