understanding people in their social worlds


In-depth, analytical storytelling about how and why our world works the way it does.

The Sex Lives of Sex Researchers

Sociologist Janice M. Irvine examines biographies of Alfred Kinsey in order to explore stigma attached to sexuality research. Read More

What Drove Anders Breivik?

Political psychologist Barry Richards looks behind the anti-Muslim motive which appeared to drive Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. While agreeing with the court's judgment that Breivik was responsible for his actions, he finds a deeply deluded and paranoid person for whom the massacre of young political activists (mainly non-Muslim) was a desperate attempt to defend his fragile masculinity. Read More

Foodies Remaking Cities

Drawing examples from the North American food cart movement and restaurant scenes in gentrifying neighborhoods, sociologists Amy Hanser and Zachary Hyde explore the role of food in transforming urban spaces. Read More

Small Food Co-ops in a Whole Foods® World

Sociologist Michael A. Haedicke explores the world of organic foods co-ops and examines how these countercultural stores are defending their democratic ideals and practices in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Read More

Consuming Rice, Branding the Nation

Sociologist Janine Chi examines how rice-based dishes and cuisines in Asia are featured in culinary tourism to promote national distinction and identity. Read More

Inside the Extreme Sport of Competitive Eating

Sociologist Priscilla Ferguson considers competitive eating as an expression of identifiably American connections between abundance and country. Overeating both honors country and transgresses social norms. Read More

Eating Military Base Stew

Sociologist Grace M. Cho investigates the origins of a Korean dish called budae jjigae ("military base stew") and reveals its layered meanings for Korean American diasporic identity. Read More

The Joy of Cooking?

Sociologists Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton offer a critique of the increasingly prevalent message that reforming the food system necessarily entails a return to the kitchen. They argue that time pressures, tradeoffs to save money, and the burden of pleasing others make it difficult for mothers to enact the idealized vision of home-cooked meals advocated by foodies and public health officials. Read More

Loving Across Racial Divides

Sociologist Amy C. Steinbugler examines the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, and heterosexual black/white couples. She shows that even as overt racial prejudice declines, racism continues to shape interracial lives through residential segregation, racial orientations, and racial-gender stereotypes. Read More

Working Class Growing Pains

Sociologist Jennifer M. Silva examines how working-class men and women navigate the transition to adulthood amid economic insecurity and social isolation. She finds that young adults experience fear of intimate relationships, low expectations of work, and widespread distrust of institutions as they come of age. Read More