sociology for the public


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

Race, Class, and the Framing 
of Drug Epidemics

As America’s opiate epidemic rages on, calls for “treatment not punishment” dominate the national media. The hypocrisy of this response is not lost on a … Read More

Black Lives and Police Tactics Matter

Do police provide a public good or do they perpetuate racial inequality? Like most institutions, they do both. Nonetheless, thanks to the tragic deaths of … Read More

Marijuana’s Moral Entrepreneurs, Then and Now

Today, more than one in five U.S. adults live in a state where they can walk into a store to purchase recreational marijuana products, ranging … Read More

Desperation and Service in the Bail Industry

I cold-called Bettie.* Her son, Terrance, had a warrant for a serious crime, and he had turned himself in to the local jail. I’d called Bettie … Read More

“Straight Girls Kissing,” Beyond the Elite College Campus

Many straight-identified young women have same-gender sexual or romantic experiences. Research on sexual fluidity, hooking up, and “straight girls kissing” has largely focused on women … Read More

Revisiting the Rationing of Medical Degrees in the United States

The first time Spencer applied to medical school, he sent applications to 28 colleges across the country. As a well-rounded graduate of an Ivy League … Read More

Friends with Academic Benefits

“Sometimes it’s a good thing to be like your friends, and sometimes it isn’t…. If they’re getting all As, of course I want to be … Read More

The King of Compton

Tick-a-Lott (the first dancer) performing along Hollywood Boulevard with other OG pop-lockersStraw Mann started the dance circle. As people backed up to clear space, Trenseta … Read More

A Hand Up for Lower-Income Families

Welfare queens driving Cadillacs. Food stamp kings buying filet mignon. The stereotypes are rife. What if there was a way to support lower-income families without … Read More

Microscopic Hair Comparison and the Sociology of Science

Flawed forensics and overstated claims make scientific evidence tricky at trial. Read More