Contexts

sociology for the public

Books

Sociological takes on recent news and research.

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

Gender Norms in the Twilight Series

The hit series Twilight replicates gender stereotypes that sociologists have been debunking for decades. Rebecca Hayes-Smith highlights the gravity of making light of harmful gender messages. Read More

Road Warriors and Water Hogs

While globalization has expanded the flow of goods, environmental movements have worked to constrain these flows by constructing local-based networks. Ted Conover's The Routes of Man traces four routes of globalization, while Kate A. Berry and Eric Mollard shed light on the environmental challenges these routes create in Social Participation in Water Governance and Management. Read More

Kids Today!

Cyber Bullying and The We Generation lament youth incivility in the Internet age. Reviewer Katherine Brown Rosier puts these critiques into historical context and suggests paying attention to privilege--for adults and youth alike. Read More

No News Is Not Good News

In their respective books, Alex Jones and Jack Fuller examine what news is, how traditional journalism has been threatened, and how it can sustain its mission in the future. Lee Konstantinou’s novel brings these theories to life, painting a picture of the “mediasphere" in the not-so-distant future. Read More

From The Music Man to Methland

Methland, a journalist’s portrait of what ails small-town Iowa reveals that rural problems are not so different from those of the big city. Meth in Iowa, reviewer Maria Kefalas says, is linked to larger issues of joblessness and downward mobility in middle America. Read More

The Moslems Are Here—Be Afraid!

Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West argues that Muslim immigrant resistance to assimilation poses a threat to European culture and politics. Reviewer Syed Ali criticizes this analysis as the book as over-simplified rhetoric lacking in counter-interpretations. Read More