understanding people in their social worlds


Making meaning of people making meaning.

Narrating the Transgressive Self

Since Augustine penned his Confessions, authors of memoirs describing their transgressive behavior have teetered on a balance beam between telling an interesting, exciting, naughty story, and exculpating their character for their participation in it, through the use of deviance neutralizing devices; here sociologist Erich Goode explains how this balancing act is accomplished. Read More

A Feminist Guide to Cooking

" Sociologist Stacy J. Williams examines cookbooks and articles about cooking written by second-wave feminists. She explains how these activists brought their political ideas to the kitchen and suggested cooking in ways that could work toward greater gender equality. " Read More

Meat Masculinity

Scholar Ricardo G. Costa Filho explores Brazilian meat brand Friboi’s recent advertising campaign, and finds an intricate connection between hygiene, masculinity, and animal protein consumption. Read More

The Mediated Sociologist

Sociologist Karen Sternheimer considers the opportunities and challenges of presenting sociological concepts in the news media, particularly when our ideas are edited or interpreted by others. Read More

Paintings, Pensions and Pain

Sociologist Paul Draus and Economist Juliette Roddy discuss tensions in Detroit as the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy unfolds. The competing interests of art and pensions and the stamina of social contracts in times of financial insecurity are examined. Read More

Survival of the Fastest?

Borrowing from Herbert Spencer’s phrase “survival of the fittest,” the documentary film Survival of the Fastest aired just before the 2012 Olympic Games. It recycles the outmoded notion that race is an extant biological category that determines physical and intellectual outcomes. Sociologist Matthew W. Hughey discusses how such archaic racist assumptions are repackaged in the media spectacle of contemporary sporting and the glossy veneer of documentary film. Read More

Hollywood Sperm Donors

Sociologist Margaret K. Nelson explores how Hollywood has portrayed the use of assisted reproductive technologies. She argues that these new technologies have the potential to transform the nuclear family as we know it; however, popular films glorify romantic love and traditional family structures. Read More

The Cultural Life Of The Living Dead

Zombies have become an explosive cultural phenomena which producers, retailers, and governmental agencies utilize to target consumers. Sociologist Denise N. Cook argues that the zombie myth pervades cultural narratives because it helps people distance themselves from criticizing actual social problems yet at the same time the zombie analogy can help to highlight potential social problems. Read More

Framing Social Movements Through Documentary Films

Sociologist John A. Stover III highlights the significant impact documentary filmmakers can have on social movement agendas and frames via their production, distribution, and outreach strategies. New Day Films, a cooperative collective of social issue filmmakers, is spotlighted as particularly effective in promoting social change and justice. Read More

Django Unchained, Voyeurism Unleashed

In his latest shock-fest, director Quentin Tarantino cloaks a revenge fantasy in a redemptive slave story and leaves a bad taste in one sociologist's mouth. Read More