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.

Building Better Children

In an attempt to actively address gender inequality, Sweden has incorporated gender-neutral socialization into public education, stocking schools with gender-neutral toys. Swedish children also see … 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

Reefer Normal

Sociologist Thomas J. Linneman explores trends of support for marijuana legalization in the United States. Read More

Contested Memories

In this review of two books, Caroline Kieu-Linh Valverede's, Transnationalizing Vietnam: Community, Culture, and Politics in the Diaspora and Cathy J. Schlund-Vials' War, Genocide and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work, sociologist Kimberly Goyette discusses how memory may be shaped and contested for two Southeast Asian immigrant groups, Vietnamese Americans and Cambodian Americans. She also considers how memory is important for identity, and ultimately, assimilation in the United States. Read More

Opening Access

Former publisher Alex Holzman weighs the pros and cons of open access via a review of Peter Suber's Open Access. Read More

Beyond Bullying

Sociologists Jessica Fields and Laura Mamo, along with education researchers, Jen Gilbert and Nancy Lesko, report on their high school storytelling project, Beyond Bullying, that invited teachers, students and community members to record stories of LGBTQ sexuality that moved beyond tales of depression, bullying and suicide towards ordinary narratives of love, loss, friendship and family. Read More

For-Profit Public Intellectuals

Sociologist Ryanne Pilgeram and media scholar Russell Meeuf discuss the hijacking of public debate by private research organizations, using the viral video “The Economics as Sex” as an example. Read More

Looking–Who Are We Now?

Sociologist Cory Albertson examines the implications of the HBO television series Looking and its attempt to accurately depict the lives of gay men by showing heteronormative ideals being maintained and challenged in romantic relationships. Read More

Narrating the Transgressive Self

Since Augustine penned his Confessions, authors of memoirs describing their transgressive behavior have teetered on a balance beam between telling an interesting, exciting, naughty story, and exculpating their character for their participation in it, through the use of deviance neutralizing devices; here sociologist Erich Goode explains how this balancing act is accomplished. Read More

12,906 Days

Wrongfully convicted at 18, Michael Ustaszewski was paroled from prison six weeks shy of his 54th birthday. Sociologist Melissa Sheridan Embser-Herbert documents his experience reentering society after over 35 years behind bars. Read More