Contexts

understanding people in their social worlds

Fall 2014

Volume: 13 | Number: 4

From biological explanations for social behavior, to understanding political violence, electronic dance music parties, and sex research, this issue explores how experts set the terms of much of the knowledge we take for granted, and how skeptics contest these so-called truths.

A Storm Called Hercules

by Corey FieldsWinter storms now have names like Hercules and Maximus, thanks to the Weather Channel. By naming storms, the channel … Read More

Molly Deaths and the Failed War on Drugs

Sociologist Tammy L. Anderson proposes that the 2003 RAVE Act may endanger ravers more than protect them. Today's popularity of huge commercial raves—and the incidence of health complications at them—suggests this relic law of the twentieth century War on Drugs needs our attention.. Read More

Experts and Skeptics

Is racism a matter of individual psychopathology? Can disabled women be good parents? Does prohibiting drug use at electronic music dance parties save lives? Can … Read More

Rich Defendant, Poor Defendant

Robert H. Richards IV, an heir to the du Pont fortune, was convicted of sexually abusing his own child. Justifying her decision to put Richards … Read More

The Selfie Exchange

by Corey FieldsIf you are a teen with a social media account, chances are you have posted a selfie. The practice … Read More

The Precariat

Economist Guy Standing explains how millions of people are in the precariat, and in defining this emerging class, points to the dangerous political and social consequences as well as the exciting progressive revival that this class could produce. Read More

Medicalizing Racism

Sociologist James M. Thomas examines how public and scientific accounts of racism draw upon medical and psychological models, and how this contributes to our understandings of racism as a medical, rather than social, problem. Read More

Mothering While Disabled

Sociologist Angela Frederick argues the legacy of the Eugenics movement persists today. She explores how mothers with disabilities continue to face pervasive threats to their right to parent. Read More

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