sociology for the public

Fall 2009

Volume: 8 | Number: 4

Our Fall 2009 issue explores the realities of an aging society, the health of fathers and their children and the impact of the “breast is best” campaign. Also in this issue: a retrospective on the Moynihan Report, a report on the state of global sociology from Taipei and an examination of Turkey and Islam’s place in Europe.

The Future of Contexts

Now is a critical time for Contexts. We are quickly approaching the end of the 10-year plan the American Sociological Association (ASA) used … Read More

Framing Race and Poverty

One thing I know is that it’s extremely important to discuss how race and poverty are framed in public policy discussions. How we situate social issues in the larger context of society says a lot about our commitment to change. Read More

Learning From The Inside Out

A college student goes to class behind bars to learn theories of crime with those who know the material first-hand: inmates. She finds out that there's much more to people in prison than the social labels that define them. Read More

Adoption, White Women, and the Keeping of Culture

International adoption has been a growing trend in the U.S. in recent years. Casey Brienza discusses "culture keeping" through three books written by white adoptive mothers. Her discussion highlights the challenges inherent in adoptive family formation in a society where race, ethnicity, and national culture are assumed to go hand-in-hand. Read More

Ending The War On The War On Terror

Surprisingly few sociologists have studied the War on Terror despite its wide-ranging social consequences. In this review, Mathieu Deflem discusses two books from other disciplines that might serve as good starting points for the sociological study of security and terrorism. Read More

The War Society

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing War on Terror have no doubt impacted political culture in the U.S., but two recent books present very different viewpoints on how. Peter Alexander Meyers' Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen explores the War on Terror as an extension of the Cold War, while Mahmood Mamdani's Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror sees a new and disturbing logic of foreign policy emerging. Read More

Resurrecting Martin Luther King

Controversy over the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, offers a case study in contested collective memory. Debate over whether or not the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death is the appropriate venue for commemorating his legacy reveals how collective memory is produced even in the struggles over what to remember and where. Read More

To Live and Dine in Kogi L.A.

While praised for being a more youthful, multiethnic, and tech savvy form of food delivery, Kogi trucks providing ethnic fusion street food in Los Angeles also illustrate the persistence of socioeconomic divisions in urban life. According to Oliver Wang, Kogi demonstrates that there are still lines that aren't crossed when it comes to urban ethnic relations. Read More


A closer look at roses reveals that their social significance is more than merely ornamental. Roses not only dominate the commercial cut flower market, but also represent our ongoing quest for beauty and distinction in the mundane. Read More

The Changing Face of Black America

Caribbean and African immigrants have been on the rise in the U.S. over the past 20 years, thanks to new immigration laws in the 1980s … Read More