sociology for the public

In Pictures

Nuanced, visual explorations of sociological themes.

Digging for Mutual Cooperation

Kody Steffy presents a portrait of elderly Buddhist monk Bak Him, a resettled refugee living in rural Maine. Steffy’s photographs of Bak Him’s arduous labor highlight the refugee community’s ongoing struggle for understanding and integration. Read More

Borders and Margins

Photographer Emmanuel Maillard and sociologist Maryann Bylander document the lives of Cambodian migrants in Thailand. Through photographs taken for their Borders & Margins project at border crossings, work sites, and living spaces, they highlight the ambivalence many migrants express about their experiences abroad. Read More

Raising Them Right

This body of work explores young motherhood in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Through the combination of photographs and the young mothers’ own words, Amanda Van Scoyoc presents evidence of the complicated reality that is adolescent parenting. Read More


Violent death is so commonplace in Philadelphia that it infuses the visual culture of the city with haunting imagery. Sociologist James Dickinson shows how memorial portraits, roadside shrines, sidewalk plaques, murals, billboards, and graffiti variously recall, memorialize, criticize, or comment on the epidemic of lethal violence in the City of Brotherly Love. Read More

Guantanamo Bay

Photographer Christopher Sims documents the everyday spaces at Guantanamo Bay. He writes, "I went with the intention of photographing beyond the prison, and capturing a sense of daily life on the military base." Read More

Michigan’s Public Square

Sociologist and photographer Steven Gold documents the public use of the Michigan Capitol building. He writes, “The Michigan Capitol continues to provide a space where attention is devoted to issues and events of broad public concern.” Read More

Under God: Stories from Soho Road

Photographer Liz Hingley documents the religious diversity of Birmingham’s Soho Road. She writes, “At a time when religion can breed fear and prejudice, my photographs reveal what devotions bring to everyday, inner-city life.” Read More

To Snitch Or Not To Snitch

Photographers document Philadelphia’s “stop-snitching” code, a response to the realities of impoverished Philadelphia neighborhoods that includes the necessity of the drug economy. Read More

Informality and Visibility on the Periphery

In her time as a researcher in Abdijan, Jordanna Matlon explored the African city’s peripheral economies and the men who make their livings and identities in these spaces. Read More


Based on ethnographic work, Greg Scott documents the institution of marriage amidst the difficulties of homelessness and drug addiction. Read More