sociology for the public

Fall 2013

Volume: 12 | Number: 4

This issue covers gated communities in Puerto Rico, Golden Gate suicides in San Francisco, and affirmative action as a gateway to admission in higher education. Also: competition in girl’s soccer, media coverage of Whitney Houston and Lance Armstrong, and the links between HIV and gender violence in South Africa.

Defensive Doping

When asked about using banned substances to maintain his winning record, champion cyclist Lance Armstrong said it was “part of the job”—like having “air in … Read More

The New (Gay Male) Normal

Amanda LanzoneNBC’s now-defunct sitcom The New Normal featured a happy gay couple living in Los Angeles, and their efforts … Read More

Second Life’s Second Life

©2013 Linden LabExperts have voiced concerns about digital addiction and social isolation among online gaming enthusiasts. But virtual platforms, … Read More


©2013 Taslima AkhterWhen a garment factory collapsed outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh last April and more than 1,100 peopled died, … Read More

Table For One, Please

Kimberly HoltzWhile meals give us a chance to bond with friends and family, a growing number of studies find … Read More

Celebrity Drug Scandals, Media Double Standards

Media coverage reflects the conflicted status of drugs in a culture that both valorizes and demonizes their use. Sociologist Rebecca Tiger compares New York Times' coverage of Whitney Houston’s death and cyclist Lance Armstrong’s “performance enhancing drugs” scandal. Her analysis reveals the particular roles that race and gender play in how elite media and their readers negotiate and construct the morality tale of drug use. Read More

The Deadly Span

The Golden Gate Bridge continues to be the top suicide site in the world. John Bateson argues that a barrier will save lives, end the tragedies, and not detract from the bridge’s beauty or the view--but it remains far off. Read More

Precarious Work

Sociologist Gretchen Purser reviews the books The Temp Economy, Intern Nation and The Precariat. These books explore recent transformations in the labor market and the increasingly precarious nature of work. Read More

Slot Machine Capitalism

What is seductive about casino gambling? Sociologist Jacob Avery reviews the books Addiction by Design and Gambling for Profit in a desperate attempt to win some answers. 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