Contexts

sociology for the public

Spring 2013

Volume: 12 | Number: 2

In this issue: gender vertigo, disaster porn, the paradox of gun control, and whether or not the Arab Spring has become an Arab Winter. Also, abortion politics in Turkey, men in SlutWalk, and an interview with Katha Pollitt.

Aging Trends in Homeless Populations

Longitudinal data suggests that the single adult homeless population is going through a demographic transition, where the overall population is aging but there are indications that a younger cohort may be emerging. Scholars Dennis P. Culhane, Stephen Metraux, Thomas Byrne, Magdi Stino, and Jay Bainbridge argue that interventions at both ends of this transition: housing the aging and increasingly infirm elements of this population while diverting at-risk younger populations from homelessness, have the potential to make a lasting reduction in this population. Read More

Immigration Reform

The phrase immigration reform has been around since the early history of the country, and its meaning varies according to different social perspectives of whether to admit more immigrants or limit their numbers. Sociologist Nestor Rodríguez argues that while immigration reform may open the door for some new immigrants, invariably it keeps other immigrants out, sometimes because of restrictive regulations adopted by the administering government agencies. Read More

On the Wings of a Fantasy

Sociologist Timothy McGettigan argues that science is the most effective means ever invented to transform fantasies into reality. He discusses how DARPA stimulates scientific progress by challenging scientists to pursue fantasies, and nowhere is this better illustrated than in the 100 Year Starship project. Read More

Transnational Gender Vertigo

Sociologist Kimberly Kay Hoang explores sex work and international migration, how sex workers-turned-wives become breadwinners. Read More

Reproducing the Nation

Sociologist Özlem Altıok discusses the recent efforts to further restrict abortion in Turkey. She argues that these efforts are part of an effort to manage the population by disciplining women's fertility under a new “reproductive governmentality.” Read More

Arab Winter

Without meaningful checks on their power, rulers have stepped up harassment of activists. Read More

Breaking Barriers to Climate Justice

Sociologists John Foran and Richard Widick explore the nature of the current global impasse on climate change negotiations, and argue that an emerging alliance among progressive nations and climate justice movements, and especially youth, offers grounds for cautious optimism. Read More

Walking Like A Man

SlutWalk marches have emerged to protest the blaming of women for their own sexual assault. Sociologists Kristen Barber and Kelsy Kretschmer consider the different ways men participate in SlutWalk, and how their participation at times both supports and undermines the feminist goals of the event. Read More

Marx on Finance

Fredric Jameson’s new reading of Marx’s Capital, vol. 1 uses Marx’s account of the accumulation of capital in the form of producer goods to argue that a rising rate of structural unemployment is a fundamental tendency of capitalism as Marx understood, thereby challenging a “workerist” view of how Marx though capitalism could eventually end. Scholar Robert Meister argues that Jameson fails to grasp the role financial thinking in Marx’s account of the dual role of producer goods as both means of production and financial assets, and uses this account to sketch a view of the role of financial asset markets in production that builds on a Marxian foundation. Read More

Debating Trafficking

Photo by Sarah DudaWhile activists against human trafficking—the illegal trade of human beings mainly for the purposes of commercial … Read More