Contexts

sociology for the public

Winter 2013

Volume: 12 | Number: 1

This issue covers violence in everyday Buenos Aires, movements to end deadly war in Central Africa, and young men’s masculinity in affluent societies. Also, an interview with a founding father of the Occupy movement and an analysis of public mourning practices from Steve Jobs to Kim Jong Il.

Is Marriage for Anyone?

Two recent books on marriage—Is Marriage for White People? by Ralph Richard Banks and Unhitched by Judith Stacey—are considered in this review essay by sociologist Micki McGee. Banks argues that the decline of marriage among African American women constitutes a social problem that could be remedied if more women from this group opted for interracial marriages. Stacey's cross-cultural study contends that marriage is an institution that attempts the near impossible task of reconciling the goals of domesticity with those of erotic life, and that in the process an extraordinary range of marital arrangements have emerged. Taken together these arguments ask us to consider who marriage serves. Read More

Body Lessons

Sociologist Janet Enke explores the challenges of teaching a course on the body. She discusses how to synthesize the subjective experience of the body with academic theory, and convey knowledge about the politics of the body. Read More

Truth-Telling and Intellectual Activism

Patricia Hill Collins, a feminist public intellectual, discusses the importance of speaking across multiple audiences. Read More

Ye of Little Faith

Despite the proclamations of Republican senators, there are more secular Americans now then ever before; sociologist Phil Zuckerman argues that their growth warrants greater attention to secularity on the part of social science. Read More

Mourning Becomes Democratic

Public mourning is not a spontaneous expression of grief but a symbolic and political practice. Sociologist Bin Xu examines a new trend in recent decades, the “democratization of public mourning,” that celebrates our symbolic equality and individuality instead of affirming status hierarchies. Read More

Beyond The One-Size-Fits-All College Degree

James Rosenbaum, Kennan Cepa, and Janet Rosenbaum examine how commonplace assumptions about higher education limit opportunity. Read More

Speciesism

Speciesism, coined in the 1970s, means the implicit superiority of one species, usually humans, over all others. Sociologist Lisa Jean Moore discusses this term and how sociologists are primed to use the concept in teaching and research. Read More

Beyond “Post 9/11”

Sociologist Erik Love reviews the books Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and Terrifying Muslims. Each move beyond “post 9/11” explanations for anti-Muslim sentiment, showing how Islamophobia is best understood not as a temporary backlash, but rather as stemming from longstanding and durable forms of racial bigotry and colonialism. Read More

Born Amid Bullets

Different forms of violence are enveloping territories of urban relegation in Latin America. Sociologist Javier Auyero examines how children and adolescents have become familiarized with diverse types of interpersonal brutality. Read More

The White Girl’s Burden

Sociologist Amy C. Finnegan provides a critical analysis of the movement behind the Kony 2012 campaign and how this unique form of activism coalesces with the biographies of the activists, who are notably white, privileged, Christian, adolescent females. Read More