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.

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

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

Pioneering Digital Sociology

Jessie Daniels researches racial inequality and is a leader in reimagining scholarly communication in the digital era. Since the mid-1990s she has studied how social … Read More

Childless… or Childfree?

In the context of declining birth rates, sociologist Amy Blackstone examines the choice not to become a parent and considers social responses to that choice. Read More