understanding people in their social worlds

Spring 2014

Volume: 13 | Number: 2

This issue examines taken-for-granted eternal truths that appear to be slipping away: that a college degree is a ticket to decent work, that working hard and being a loyal employee pays off, and that marriage marks one’s entry into adulthood. Also featured: Viewpoints on sexual assault policies, a closer look at “Open Access,” and an exploration of race and class inequality, Brazilian style.

Open Access

Librarian Jill Cirasella describes some problems with the traditional system of scholarly journal publishing and explains how scholars can make their works open access, or freely available online. She discusses some of the benefits of open access, as well as some of the challenges to achieving widespread openness. Read More

Ruling Out Rape

Five experts, Lisa Wade, Brian Sweeney, Amelia Seraphia Derr, Michael A. Messner, and Carol Burke, discuss how institutions deal with sexual assault and whether or not policies really protect victims. Read More

Aging Women, Living Poorer

Sociologist Stacy Torres examines why higher poverty rates persist among older women compared with older men and finds that women continue to face significant economic disadvantages in old age, partly due to a lifetime of unpaid, work-interrupting care giving responsibilities. Read More

Loving Across Racial Divides

Sociologist Amy C. Steinbugler examines the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, and heterosexual black/white couples. She shows that even as overt racial prejudice declines, racism continues to shape interracial lives through residential segregation, racial orientations, and racial-gender stereotypes. Read More

Suffering In An Age Of Personal Responsibility

Drawing on more than five years of research with women who inhabit a circuit of suffering made up of prison, homeless shelters, drug programs and the streets, sociologist Susan Sered argues that punishment and treatment often function as two sides of the same coin: a coin that construes women's suffering in terms of their private traumas, personal flaws, and poor choices. This ideological script functions to blame the victim, obscure the structural causes of poverty and violence, and absolves governments from public responsibilities for the well-being of citizens. Read More

Black Brazil Never Slept

Analyzing the media coverage of the 2013 Brazil protests, sociologist Katherine Jensen uncovers that violence against white women became the rallying cry for popular political action, while black mobilization was depoliticized as violent chaos and violence against blacks was ignored. Read More

The Trouble With Tebowing

Sociologists Grace Yukich, Kimberly Stokes, and Daniela Bellows explore cultural norms around religious displays in sports, and in public life more generally, by examining media coverage of controversial football player Tim Tebow. Read More

Working Class Growing Pains

Sociologist Jennifer M. Silva examines how working-class men and women navigate the transition to adulthood amid economic insecurity and social isolation. She finds that young adults experience fear of intimate relationships, low expectations of work, and widespread distrust of institutions as they come of age. Read More

The Mediated Sociologist

Sociologist Karen Sternheimer considers the opportunities and challenges of presenting sociological concepts in the news media, particularly when our ideas are edited or interpreted by others. Read More

Paintings, Pensions and Pain

Sociologist Paul Draus and Economist Juliette Roddy discuss tensions in Detroit as the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy unfolds. The competing interests of art and pensions and the stamina of social contracts in times of financial insecurity are examined. Read More