New Books in Sociology

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Interviews with Sociologists about their New Books
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1644 episodes

On Online Churches

Dr. Tim Hutchings is a sociologist of digital religion. His Ph.D. (Durham University, 2010) was an ethnographic study of five online Christian churches. Dr. Hutchings is interested in the relationship between religion, media and culture, with particular attention to digital forms of Christianity. His research has included studies of online worship; digital evangelism and formation; online community; digital publishing and e-reading; apps and games; and death and dying. His research led to the publication of his book Creating Church Online: Ritual, Community and New Media (Routledge, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 6m
Aug 08
January 6th and the Myth of the Mob: The Pervasive Power of Crowd Theory

This week, we’re showcasing some of our favourite past episodes of Darts and Letters themed around “Activism & Academia”. Today’s episode originally aired a little earlier this summer. In the US, the January 6th hearings were continuing - and discourse about the factors that led to the insurrection was rampant. You might notice that when these kinds of events take place, similar descriptors are used: groupthink, mob mentality, deindividuation…and all of these ideas can be traced back to one bigoted, reactionary bigot: 19th-century French physician Gustave Le Bon. Why does academia always fear the masses? Our host Gordon Katic takes us through the story of Le Bon and beyond to analyze the academic stereotype of the public. —————————-SUPPORT THE SHOW—————————- You can support the show for free by following or subscribing on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or whichever app you use. This is the best way to help us out and it costs nothing so we’d really appreciate you clicking that button. If you want to do a little more we would love it if you chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patrons get content early, and occasionally there’s bonus material on there too. ——————-ABOUT THE SHOW—————— For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 11m
Aug 08
Nasar Meer, "The Cruel Optimism of Racial Justice" (Policy Press, 2022)

Why are societies still not offering racial equality? In The Cruel Optimism of Racial Justice (Policy Press, 2022), Nasar Meer, a professor of Race, Identity and Citizenship in the School of Social and Political Sciences and director of RACE.ED at the University of Edinburgh, explores the past, present, and future of the struggle for racial justice. In a wide-ranging text, informed by social, cultural, and political theory, the recent history of racial equality policy is juxtaposed with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, to analyse the successes and the failures of struggles to make society racially just. Offering a major theoretical and practical contribution, the book is essential reading across humanities and social sciences, as well as for activists and anyone interested in changing society for the better. Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

48m
Aug 08
Kajri Jain, "Gods in the Time of Democracy" (Duke UP, 2021)

In 2018 India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated the world's tallest statue: a 597-foot figure of nationalist leader Sardar Patel. Twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, it is but one of many massive statues built following India's economic reforms of the 1990s. In Gods in the Time of Democracy (Duke UP, 2021), Kajri Jain examines how monumental icons emerged as a religious and political form in contemporary India, mobilizing the concept of emergence toward a radical treatment of art historical objects as dynamic assemblages. Drawing on a decade of fieldwork at giant statue sites in India and its diaspora and interviews with sculptors, patrons, and visitors, Jain masterfully describes how public icons materialize the intersections between new image technologies, neospiritual religious movements, Hindu nationalist politics, globalization, and Dalit-Bahujan verifications of equality and presence. Centering the ex-colony in rethinking key concepts of the image, Jain demonstrates how these new aesthetic forms entail a simultaneously religious and political retooling of the "infrastructures of the sensible." Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

53m
Aug 04
Victoria Reyes, "Academic Outsider: Stories of Exclusion and Hope" (Stanford UP, 2022)

In Academic Outsider: Stories of Exclusion and Hope (Stanford University Press, 2022), sociologist Victoria Reyes combines her personal experiences with research findings to examine how academia creates conditional citizenship for its marginalized members. Reyes draws from her family background, experiences during routine university life, and academic scholarship to theorize the academic outsiders as those who "are constantly reminded that our presence in the academy is contingent and in constant flux" (10-11). She elaborates on how love and worth are assessed in the university and her experiences as a mother in the academy. The final chapter calls for academic justice and offers practical strategies to combat the academy's exclusionary practices. In this book Reyes contributes to important conversations in the university on the experiences of people of color, women, and those from marginalized backgrounds. This book will be of interest to those who experience the academy's conditional citizenship, those who want to understand how the university perpetuates inequality, and those who want to challenge these conditions.  Victoria Reyes is Associate Professor in the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Global Borderlands (Stanford, 2019). Reighan Gillam is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (Illinois, 2022).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 11m
Aug 04
Nick Huntington-Klein, "The Effect: An Introduction to Research Design and Causality" (CRC Press, 2021)

The Effect: An Introduction to Research Design and Causality (Routledge, 2021) is about methods for using observational data to make causal inferences. It provides an extensive discussion of causality and the variety of both obvious and subtle challenges to inferring a causal relationship between the variables, using causal diagrams. It then goes through the major techniques that economists use to address these challenges, including regression, matching, simulation, fixed effects, event studies, differences-in-differences, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity. The book is designed to be accessible to students or practitioners without the extensive math background that is taken for granted in typical econometrics textbooks. Instead, the emphasis is on the intuition behind the techniques and how to implement them with the widely-used programming languages R, Stata, and Python. Nick C. Huntington-Klein is an Assistant Professor at Seattle University. His research focuses on econometrics and higher education. His work has been published in the Economics of Education Review, AEA Papers and Proceedings, Economic Inquiry, Empirical Economics, and the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. His book can be read online for free or purchased in print, and is accompanied by a wealth of teaching materials on the same website. Nick can also be found on Youtube and on Twitter. Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he leads a new Master's program in Applied Economics focused on the digital economy. His own research focus is the political economy of governance in China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

52m
Aug 04
Paul A. Djupe et al. "The Knowledge Polity: Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Paul A. Djupe, Anand Edward Sokhey, and Amy Erica Smith, The Knowledge Polity: Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences (Oxford UP, 2022) explores a more holistic understanding of knowledge production in the social sciences, moving beyond the publication process often required by those in tenure/tenure-track positions to thinking about the role of community in the construction of knowledge. Political Scientists Paul A. Djupe (Denison University), Anand Edward Sokhey (University of Colorado-Boulder), and Amy Erica Smith (Iowa State University) emphasize the idea of academics as citizens in communities and institutions, endowed with certain rights and responsibilities with regard to knowledge production, exchange, and promotion. These actions go beyond simply research; knowledge production incorporates teaching, reviewing, blogging, podcasting, commenting, mentoring, and other similar actions, all of which inherently depend on collaboration and community. Djupe, Smith, and Sokhey all have first-hand experience in the “publication pipeline” process. They accurately and intricately detail aspects of community that are overlooked within the academia. The collaborative nature of The Knowledge Polity speaks to the power of co-authorship in political science and sociology. The research indicates that building relationships with peers and mentors alike provides scholars with access to people whose advice is trusted, people who they consider friends, and people who know other scholars whose advice can also be trusted and valued. Similar to co-authorship, peer review is another dimension of knowledge exchange, collaboration, and the rights and responsibilities of the knowledge polity. The review process is reciprocal, and there is an innate sense that it is a duty, especially when the authors discuss “reviewer debt” (reviewing fewer papers than one is submitting) and how it is usually “paid off” when scholars reach tenure and have more time and capacity to give back to the community. Most academics would like to do more reviews, proving there is a powerful desire to participate in this important act of knowledge production. The authors use data from an extensive Professional Activity in the Social Sciences (PASS) study, which sampled responses from 1,700 sociology and political science faculty about their publications, and experiences with regard to the process. They integrate different aspects of all of these findings in each chapter, examining for differences across disciplines, methodology, gender, race, and age, among other variables. The Knowledge Polity: Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences integrates a diversity of empirical research, qualitative inputs, and sophisticated analysis to better understand knowledge production within the social sciences. It becomes clear that the idea of the solitary scholar, alone in his/her office, creating knowledge is much more of a myth, since the reality is that knowledge production is much more of a collective undertaking and experience. Emma R. Handschke assisted in the production of this podcast. Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 6m
Aug 04
Maya Mikdashi, "Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon" (Stanford UP, 2022)

The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state. With this book, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. Drawing on court archives, public records, and ethnography of the Court of Cassation, the highest civil court in Lebanon, Mikdashi shows how political difference is entangled with religious, secular, and sexual difference. She presents state power as inevitably contingent, like the practices of everyday life it engenders, focusing on the regulation of religious conversion, the curation of legal archives, state and parastatal violence, and secular activism. Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon (Stanford UP, 2022) locates state power in the experiences, transitions, uprisings, and violence that people in the Middle East continue to live. Maya Mikdashi is Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and a Lecturer in the Middle East Studies Program at Rutgers University. Alize Arıcan is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, JOTSA, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 5m
Aug 04
Lindsay Pérez Huber and Susana M. Muñoz, "Why They Hate Us: How Racist Rhetoric Impacts Education" (Teachers College Press, 2021)

Why They Hate Us: How Racist Rhetoric Impacts Education (Teachers College Press, 2021) examines how racist political rhetoric has created damaging and dangerous conditions for Students of Color in schools and higher education institutions throughout the United States. The authors show how the election of the 45th president has resulted in a defining moment in U.S. history where racist discourses, reinforced by ideologies of white supremacy, have affected the educational experiences of our most vulnerable students. This volume situates the rhetoric of the Trump presidency within a broader historical narrative and provides recommendations for those who seek to advocate for anti-racism and social justice. As we enter the uncharted waters of a global pandemic and national racial reckoning, this will be invaluable reading for scholars, educators, and administrators who want to be part of the solution. Dr. Lindsay Pérez Huber is a professor of education at California State University-Long Beach as well as a visiting scholar at the UCLA Center for Critical Race Studies. Her research analyzes racial inequities in education, the impact on marginalized urban students of color, and how students and their communities respond to those inequities through strategies of resistance. Dr. Susana Muñoz is an associate professor of education at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on issues of access, equity, and college persistence for undocumented Latina/o students. Autumn Wilke works in higher education as an ADA coordinator and diversity officer and is also an author and doctoral candidate with research/topics related to disability and higher education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

41m
Aug 03
Ellis Jones, "DIY Music and the Politics of Social Media" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

Since the 1970s, there has been a rich, global lineage of broadly guitar-based music scenes which have enacted a political critique of the commercial music industries under the banner of ‘DIY’. DIY music practice has involved taking control of production and distribution processes and lowering barriers to participation and performance, as a form of cultural resistance. In DIY Music and the Politics of Social Media (Bloomsbury, 2020), Ellis Jones analyses the effects of the internet and social media on the inner lives and the communal music-making of practitioners in contemporary DIY music scenes. Jones provides a nuanced and original reading of the points of convergence and (substantial) divergence between the emancipatory and participatory rhetoric of digital platforms and the ethical imperatives of DIY music, past and present. He argues that the imperatives toward self-branding, commodification and individualization that are baked into the affordances of social media are fundamentally inimical to the convivial, oppositional politics of DIY music. As digital platforms seep into and mediate more and more facets of everyday life, this book underscores the need for a renewed critique of the conditions of cultural production – and offers valuable points of departure for forms of culturally resistant DIY musicking in the 21st Century. Ellis Jones is a Lecturer in Music and Management in the Department of Music at the University of Leeds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 31m
Aug 03
Tema Milstein and José Castro-Sotomayor, "Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity" (Routledge, 2020)

The Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (Routledge, 2020) brings the ecological turn to sociocultural understandings of self. Tema Milstein and José Castro-Sotomayor introduce a broad, insightful assembly of original theory and research on planetary positionalities in flux in the Anthropocene – or what in this Handbook cultural ecologist David Abram presciently renames the Humilocene, a new “epoch of humility.” Forty international authors craft a kaleidoscopic lens, focusing on the following key interdisciplinary inquiries: Part I illuminates identity as always ecocultural, expanding dominant understandings of who we are and how our ways of identifying engender earthly outcomes. Part II examines ways ecocultural identities are fostered and how difference and spaces of interaction can be sources of environmental conviviality. Part III illustrates consequential ways the media sphere informs, challenges, and amplifies particular ecocultural identities. Part IV delves into the constitutive power of ecocultural identities and illuminates ways ecological forces shape the political sphere. Part V demonstrates multiple and unspooling ways in which ecocultural identities can evolve and transform to recall ways forward to reciprocal surviving and thriving. The Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity provides an essential resource for scholars, teachers, students, protectors, and practitioners interested in ecological and sociocultural regeneration. The Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity has been awarded the 2020 Book Award from the National Communication Association's (USA) Environmental Communication Division. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

50m
Aug 03
Mark Solovey, "Social Science for What? Battles over Public Funding for the 'Other Sciences' at the National Science Foundation" (MIT Press, 2020)

This is part two of a two part interview. Mark Solovey’s ‘Social Science for What?’ is essential reading for anyone in either the history of science policy or the history of the social sciences in the United States. The book is not, as the subtitle might imply, merely an institutional history of the social sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Rather, Solovey’s follow-up to his 2013 book, ‘Shaky Foundations: The Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus in Cold War America’, is a commanding explanation of certain characteristics of academic social science as commonly practiced in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. — Audra J. Wolfe, PhD. history and sociology of science, in ISIS Vol. 113, No. 2, June 2022 In our first episode, Professor Solovey shared some of the political and legislative history establishing the National Science Foundation; heated controversy over the social sciences that undermined the effort to include them in the initial legislation for the new science agency; how they nevertheless became included on a small and cautious basis grounded in a scientistic strategy; and some of the landmark developments, controversies, and interesting individuals involved from roughly the mid-1940s to the late 1960s. This included Senator Harris's remarkable legislative proposal in the mid-to-late 1960s to establish a separate national social science foundation. This second part of the interview opens with the late 1960s' controversy over Project Camelot and draws on Mark’s 2001 journal article in the Social Studies of Science, titled ‘Project Camelot and the 1960s Epistemological Revolution: Rethinking the Politics–Patronage–Social Science Nexus’ - which remains the professor’s most often cited scholarly article. We then move up through the dark days of the Reagan years, along the way discussing key figures, from David Stockman to Talcott Parsons, Clifford Geertz, Thomas Kuhn, Milton Friedman, and Richard Atkinson, the emergence and impact of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), alternatives to the scientistic strategy, and persistent challenges faced by the social sciences at the levels of institutional representation, leadership and funding constraints relative to the natural sciences - all of which continue to the present day. We end with Professor Solovey’s call for reviving the idea of a new federal agency for the social sciences, a National Social Science Foundation, as first introduced by Senator Harris of Oklahoma, and finally, with some book recommendations. An open access edition of Social Science for What?: Battles over Public Funding for the "Other Sciences' at the National Science Foundation (MIT Press, 2020) was made possible by generous funding from the MIT Libraries. Mark Solovey is professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. His research focuses on the development of the social sciences in the United States, and especially the controversies regarding the scientific identity of the social sciences, private and public funding for them, and public policy implications of social science expertise. He has written and co-edited a number of books related to the Cold War and social science history. Keith Krueger lectures in the SILC Business School at Shanghai University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

50m
Aug 01
Daniel Laurison, "Producing Politics: Inside the Exclusive Campaign World Where the Privileged Few Shape Politics for All of Us" (Beacon Press, 2022)

Who runs American politics? In Producing Politics: Inside the Exclusive Campaign World Where the Privileged Few Shape Politics for All of Us (Beacon Press, 2022), Daniel Laurison, an associate professor of sociology at Swarthmore College, explores the hidden world of campaign professionals to offer a new sociological perspective on how contemporary politics works. The book explores how ‘politicos’ get their jobs, how they judge work and worth, and the importance of their actions to political campaigns, showing the inequalities at the heart of the profession. Alongside new theorisations of campaigning and of politics itself, the book offers essential reading across social sciences and arts and humanities, as well as to anyone interested in politics today. Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

42m
Aug 01
Jin Feng, "Tasting Paradise on Earth: Jiangnan Foodways" (U Washington Press, 2019)

Today I talked to Jin Feng of Grinnell College about her fascinating book Tasting Paradise on Earth: Jiangnan Foodways (U Washington Press, 2019). Preparing and consuming food is an integral part of identity formation, which in contemporary China embodies tension between fast-forward modernization and cultural nostalgia. Jin Feng's wide-ranging exploration of cities in the Lower Yangzi Delta--or Jiangnan, a region known for its paradisiacal beauty and abundant resources--illustrates how people preserve culinary inheritance while also revamping it for the new millennium. Throughout Chinese history, food nostalgia has generated cultural currency for individuals. Feng examines literary treatments of Jiangnan foodways from late imperial and twentieth-century China, highlighting the role played by gender and tracing the contemporary metamorphosis of this cultural landscape, with its new platforms for food culture, such as television and the internet. As communities in Jiangnan refashion their regional heritage, culinary arts shine as markers of ethnic and social distinction. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

41m
Aug 01
Ghassan Hage, "The Diasporic Condition: Ethnographic Explorations of the Lebanese in the World" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

Bridging the gap between migration studies and the anthropological tradition, Ghassan Hage illustrates that transnationality and its attendant cultural consequences are not necessarily at odds with classic theory. In The Diasporic Condition, Ghassan Hage engages with the diasporic Lebanese community as a shared lifeworld, defining a common cultural milieu that transcends spatial and temporal distance—a collective mode of being here termed the “diasporic condition.” Encompassing a complicated transnational terrain, Hage’s long-term ethnography takes us from Mehj and Jalleh in Lebanon to Europe, Australia, South America, and North America, analyzing how Lebanese migrants and their families have established themselves in their new homes while remaining socially, economically, and politically related to Lebanon and to each other. At the heart of The Diasporic Condition lies a critical anthropological question: How does the study of a particular sociocultural phenomenon expand our knowledge of modes of existing in the world? As Hage establishes what he terms the “lenticular condition,” he breaks down the boundaries between “us” and “them,” “here” and “there,” showing that this convergent mode of existence increasingly defines everyone’s everyday life. Ghassan Hage is professor of anthropology and social theory at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He is the author of several books, including White Nation, Against Paranoid Nationalism, Alter-Politics, and Is Racism an Environmental Threat? Alize Arıcan is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, JOTSA, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

50m
Jul 29
Courtney J. Campbell, "Region Out of Place: The Brazilian Northeast and the World, 1924-1968" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2022)

The Brazilian Northeast has long been a marginalized region with a complex relationship to national identity. It is often portrayed as impoverished, backward, and rebellious, yet traditional and culturally authentic. Brazil is known for its strong national identity, but national identities do not preclude strong regional identities. In Region Out of Place: The Brazilian Northeast and the World, 1924-1968 (U Pittsburgh Press, 2022), Courtney J. Campbell examines how groups within the region have asserted their identity, relevance, and uniqueness through interactions that transcend national borders. From migration to labor mobilization, from wartime dating to beauty pageants, from literacy movements to representations of banditry in film, Campbell explores how the development of regional cultural identity is a modern, internationally embedded conversation that circulated among Brazilians of every social class. Part of a region-based nationalism that reflects the anxiety that conflicting desires for modernity, progress, and cultural authenticity provoked in the twentieth century, this identity was forged by residents who continually stepped out of their expected roles, taking their region’s concerns to an international stage. Brad Wright is a historian of Latin America specializing in postrevolutionary Mexico. He teach world history at Kennesaw State University currently. PhD in Public History with specialization in oral history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 4m
Jul 28
Anthony Abraham Jack, "The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students" (Harvard UP, 2019)

The Ivy League looks different than it used to. College presidents and deans of admission have opened their doors—and their coffers—to support a more diverse student body. But is it enough just to admit these students? In this bracing exposé, Anthony Jack shows that many students’ struggles continue long after they’ve settled in their dorms. Admission, they quickly learn, is not the same as acceptance. This powerfully argued book documents how university policies and campus culture can exacerbate preexisting inequalities and reveals why some students are harder hit than others. Joao Souto-Maior is a PhD Student in Sociology of Education at the New York University.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 1m
Jul 28
Melina Palmer, "What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You: Unlocking Consumer Decisions with the Science of Behavioral Economics" (Mango, 2021)

Today I talked to Melina Palmer about her book What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You: Unlocking Consumer Decisions with the Science of Behavioral Economics (Mango, 2021) Once you realize that the average person makes 35,000 decisions a day, it makes total sense that habits drive 95% of our behavior. Otherwise, we’d become paralyzed with analysis paralysis in trying to choose what to do next. As Melina Palmer fully recognizes, behavioral economic principles help to unlock the mystery of why people do things that seem so confounding. How could it be, for instance, that giving the gift of two mints with your check in the restaurant can lead to a 14% increase in the average tip for the waiter? Well, gratitude—the principle of reciprocity—weighs in. From the difference between satisfaction and delight to what the peak/end rule can make a small business more prosper if used well, this is both a fun and meaningful episode. Melina Palmer is the founder and CEO of the Brainy Business and hosts the podcast by that same name. She received a Masters in behavior economics from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, teaches at the Texas A&M Human Behavior Lab, and writes a column for Inc. magazine. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). His newest book is Emotionomics 2.0: The Emotional Dynamics Underlying Key Business Goals. To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit https://emotionswizard.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

31m
Jul 28
James Steinhoff, "Automation and Autonomy: Labour, Capital and Machines in the Artificial Intelligence Industry" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

Automation and Autonomy: Labour, Capital and Machines in the Artificial Intelligence Industry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) argues that Marxist theory is essential for understanding the contemporary industrialization of the form of artificial intelligence (AI) called machine learning. It includes a political economic history of AI, tracking how it went from a fringe research interest for a handful of scientists in the 1950s to a centerpiece of cybernetic capital fifty years later. It also includes a political economic study of the scale, scope and dynamics of the contemporary AI industry as well as a labour process analysis of commercial machine learning software production, based on interviews with workers and management in AI companies around the world, ranging from tiny startups to giant technology firms. On the basis of this study, Steinhoff develops a Marxist analysis to argue that the popular theory of immaterial labour, which holds that information technologies increase the autonomy of workers from capital, tending towards a post-capitalist economy, does not adequately describe the situation of high-tech digital labour today. In the AI industry, digital labour remains firmly under the control of capital. Steinhoff argues that theories discerning therein an emergent autonomy of labour are in fact witnessing labour’s increasing automation. James Steinhoff is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, Canada. Reuben Niewenhuis works as a software developer for a warehouse automation company. He double majored in computer science and philosophy at Calvin University. In addition to philosophical theory, he is interested in interdisciplinary topics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 2m
Jul 27
Heejung Chung, "The Flexibility Paradox: Why Flexible Working Leads To (Self-)Exploitation" (Polity Press, 2022)

Why are we working harder? In The Flexibility Paradox: Why Flexible Working Leads To (Self-)Exploitation (Polity Press, 2022), Heejung Chung, a professor of sociology and social policy at the University of Kent, looks a contemporary employment practices to tell the story of the rise of flexible working and its impact on workers, individuals, and families. The book sets out the paradox that even though flexible working seems to offer more control over work, it leads to a worse work/life balance and makes more demands on staff. The paradox is also not evenly distributed, and the book pays close attention to the importance of gender in understanding how flexible work interacts with domestic labour to impact on women’s lives. Packed with rich, cross-national data, along with analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the book is essential across social science disciplines and for anyone interested in contemporary working life! Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

40m
Jul 26
Felix Schniz, "Genre and Video Game: Introducing an Impossible Taxonomy" (Springer, 2021)

Felix Schniz's book Genre and Video Game: Introducing an Impossible Taxonomy (Genre und Videospiel: Einführung in eine unmögliche Taxonomie) explains video game genres as multidimensional and deeply mutable concepts enacted by the interplay of three dimensions: In addition to the hybrid approaches of genre theory, fiction genre and game genre, there are also social components that shape the gaming experience. Working with video games (and working with their genres) turns out to be working with an objet ambigu: an intangible object of art whose potential is revealed and developed, again and again, in the process of interacting with the user. Rudolf Inderst is a professor of Game Design at the IU International University of Applied Science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 23m
Jul 26
Sarah Lamb, "Being Single in India: Stories of Gender, Exclusion, and Possibility" (U California Press, 2022)

Today, the majority of the world's population lives in a country with falling marriage rates, a phenomenon with profound impacts on women, gender, and sexuality.  In Being Single in India: Stories of Gender, Exclusion, and Possibility (U California Press, 2022), Sarah Lamb probes the gendered trend of single women living in India, examining what makes living outside marriage for women increasingly possible and yet incredibly challenging. Featuring the stories of never-married women as young as 35 and as old as 92, the book offers a remarkable portrait of a way of life experienced by women across class and caste divides, from urban professionals and rural day laborers, to those who identify as heterosexual and lesbian, to others who evaded marriage both by choice and by circumstance. For women in India, complex social-cultural and political-economic contexts are foundational to their lives and decisions, and evading marriage is often an unintended consequence of other pressing life priorities. Arguing that never-married women are able to illuminate their society's broader social-cultural values, Lamb offers a new and startling look at prevailing systems of gender, sexuality, kinship, freedom, and social belonging in India today. Garima Jaju is currently a post-doc at Cambridge University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

52m
Jul 26
Othon Alexandrakis, "Radical Resilience: Athenian Topographies of Precarity and Possibility" (Cornell UP, 2022)

Radical Resilience: Athenian Topographies of Precarity and Possibility (Cornell UP, 2022) relates narratives of Athenians struggling to survive the impoverishment of relentless austerity measures, compounding emergencies, and human disasters of successive national crises in Greece since 2010.  Drawing on eight years of fieldwork, Othon Alexandrakis examines the effects of injury, erosion, and upheaval on individuals already pushed beyond their limits but holding on against all odds. Through analysis of everyday scenes across different social locations in the city, he documents the often slow, difficult work of picking up the pieces of one's life and moving them around—and the worlds that fade and the ones that become visible in the process. He shares the stories of a disillusioned anarchist organizer, an exhausted nurse helping a father search for his lost daughter, a misunderstood Romani man rejected by his friends and family, and an undocumented migrant who discovers hope in the trash—stories of individuals finding solace and possibility within, with, and against the tragedies of their lives. Alexandrakis shows how these stories lead to a potentially transformative coming to resilience. In Radical Resilience, Alexandrakis traces the bare edges of radical possibility from within the efforts of those continuing on beyond their limits. Othon Alexandrakis is Associate Professor of Anthropology at York University. He is the editor of Impulse to Act. Alize Arıcan is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, JOTSA, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

59m
Jul 26
Gonçalo Santos, "Chinese Village Life Today: Building Families in an Age of Transition" (U Washington Press, 2021)

Today I had the pleasure of talking to Professor Gonçalo Santos (University of Coimbra), about his new book, Chinese Village Life Today: Building Families in an Age of Transition, which was published in 2021 by University of Washington Press. Chinese Village Life Today is based on more than twenty years of Gonçalo Santos’s field research. The book paints a richly detailed portrait of a rural township in Guangdong Province, north of the industrialized Pearl River Delta region, to consider the intimate choices that village families make in the face of larger forces of modernization. Filled with vivid anecdotes and keen observations, the book offers a fresh perspective on China’s urban-rural divide and a grounded theoretical approach to understand how China’s rural transformation is changing the ways that local people shape their intimate daily lives - from marriage, childbirth, and childcare to personal hygiene and public sanitation. I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants to understand village life in China today, and more broadly for those interested in studies on medical anthropology and the workings of technocratic frameworks of governance. Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 36m
Jul 25
Mark Solovey, "Social Science for What?: Battles over Public Funding for the 'Other Sciences' at the National Science Foundation" (MIT Press, 2020)

This is part one of a two part interview. "The social sciences have prospered best in the federal government where they have been included under broad umbrella classifications of the scientific disciplines. … In close company with scientific areas which enjoy the prestige and status of biological or physical sciences, the social sciences have enjoyed a protection and nourishment which they normally do not have when they are identified as such and stand exposed, 'naked and alone.'" — Harry Alpert, sociologist and first social science policy architect, 1960 (Solovey: Ch. 1 lead-in) In the early Cold War years, the U.S. government established the National Science Foundation (NSF), a civilian agency that soon became widely known for its dedication to supporting first-rate science. The agency's 1950 enabling legislation made no mention of the social sciences, although it included a vague reference to “other sciences.” Nevertheless, as Mark Solovey shows in this book, the NSF also soon became a major—albeit controversial—source of public funding for them. Solovey's analysis underscores the long-term impact of early developments, when the NSF embraced a “scientistic” strategy wherein the natural sciences represented the gold standard, and created a social science program limited to “hard-core” studies. Along the way, Solovey shows how the NSF's efforts to support scholarship, advanced training, and educational programs were shaped by landmark scientific and political developments, including McCarthyism, Sputnik, reform liberalism during the 1960s, and a newly energized conservative movement during the 1970s and 1980s. Finally, he provides a balanced assessment of the NSF's relevance in a “post-truth” era. Solovey's study of the battles over public funding is crucial for understanding the recent history of the social sciences as well as ongoing debates over their scientific status and social value. In this first part of two episodes the professor takes us from the mid-1940s up to the tumultuous 1960s and the (ultimately unsuccessful) legislative proposal for a National Social Science Foundation. Look for the second part which moves from the late 1960s' controversy over Project Camelot up through the dark days of the Reagan years, culminating in a call to revive discussion about the need to create a new federal agency, a National Social Science Foundation. An open access edition of Social Science for What?: Battles over Public Funding for the "Other Sciences' at the National Science Foundation (MIT Press, 2020) was made possible by generous funding from the MIT Libraries. Mark Solovey is professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. His research focuses on the development of the social sciences in the United States, and especially the controversies regarding the scientific identity of the social sciences, private and public funding for them, and public policy implications of social science expertise. He has written and co-edited a number of books related to the Cold War and social science history. Keith Krueger lectures in the SILC Business School at Shanghai University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

47m
Jul 25
Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner, "The Real World of College: What Higher Education Is and What It Can Be" (MIT Press, 2022)

For The Real World of College: What Higher Education Is and What It Can Be (MIT Press, 2022), Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner analyzed in-depth interviews with more than 2,000 students, alumni, faculty, administrators, parents, trustees, and others, which were conducted at ten institutions ranging from highly selective liberal arts colleges to less-selective state schools. What they found challenged characterizations in the media: students are not preoccupied by political correctness, free speech, or even the cost of college. They are most concerned about their GPA and their resumes; they see jobs and earning potential as more important than learning. Many say they face mental health challenges, fear that they don't belong, and feel a deep sense of alienation. Given this daily reality for students, has higher education lost its way? Fischman and Gardner contend that US universities and colleges must focus sharply on their core educational mission. Fischman and Gardner, both recognized authorities on education and learning, argue that higher education in the United States has lost sight of its principal reason for existing: not vocational training, not the provision of campus amenities, but to increase what Fischman and Gardner call "higher education capital"--to help students think well and broadly, express themselves clearly, explore new areas, and be open to possible transformations. Fischman and Gardner offer cogent recommendations for how every college can become a community of learners who are open to change as thinkers, citizens, and human beings. Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 15m
Jul 22
John Joe Schlichtman, "Showroom City: Real Estate and Resistance in the Furniture Capital of the World" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

A unique and engaging account of local urban decision-making within the globalizing world High Point, North Carolina, is known as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Once a manufacturing stronghold, most of its furniture factories have closed over the past forty years, with production shipped off to low-wage countries. Yet as manufacturing left, the city tightened its hold on a biannual global exposition that serves as the world’s furniture fashion runway. At the High Point Market, visitors from more than one hundred nations traverse twelve million square feet of meticulous design. Downtown buildings—once courthouses, movie theaters, post offices, and gas stations—are now chic showroom spaces, even as many sit empty between each exposition. In Showroom City: Real Estate and Resistance in the Furniture Capital of the World (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), Dr. John Joe Schlichtman applies an ethnographic lens to the global exposition’s relationship with High Point after it defeated rival Chicago in the 1960s and established itself as the world’s dominant furniture center. In recent decades, following trends in global finance, private equity firms were increasingly behind downtown High Point’s real estate transactions, coordinated by buyers far removed from the region. Then, in one massive transaction in 2011, a firm funded by Bain Capital purchased every major showroom building, and the majority of downtown real estate was under one owner. Showroom City is a story of exclusionary growth and unchecked development, of a city flailing to fill the void left by its dwindling factories. But beyond that Schlichtman engages the general lessons behind both High Point’s deindustrialization and its stunning reinvention as a furniture fashion, merchandising, and design node. With great nuance, he delves deeply to reveal how power operates locally and how citizens may affirm, exploit, influence, and resist the takeover of their community. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington, 2022). His general area of study is on media representations people and place at festivals and celebrations. His next book project is on research that he conducted about a canoeing and kayaking event that occurs annually on the Upper Mississippi River. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 2m
Jul 22
Marc F. Bellemare, "Doing Economics: What You Should Have Learned in Grad School—But Didn’t" (MIT Press, 2022)

Graduate students and newly-minted economists often find that while their time in graduate school taught them a lot about great research of the past and the methods needed to do their own research, they didn't learn that much about the other aspects of the job. How do you submit a paper to a journal? How do you respond to reviewer comments? How do you write referee reports for other people? How do you present you findings in clear and compelling way, whether in a paper or in a talk? Academic advisors and other mentors can help fill the gap, but may not even realize they need to communicate things that they know implicitly. The existence of this hidden curriculum also perpetuates the insider bias and lack of diversity in economics, making it harder for the best ideas to rise to the top. Marc Bellemare's new book Doing Economics: What You Should Have Learned in Grad School--But Didn't (MIT, 2022), helps fill the gap. This book is essential reading for economists and other quantitative social scientists trying to succeed in academia and adjacent fields. Graduate students and junior faculty should read it cover to cover. Senior faculty can also benefit from having a copy around to help make sure their own advice is comprehensive and up-to-date. Author Marc Bellemare is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Distinguished University Teaching Professor, and Northrop Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, where he also directs the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy. He is also currently a co-editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. He also blogs regularly and can be found on Twitter. Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he leads a new Master's program in Applied Economics focused on the digital economy. His own research focus is the political economy of governance in China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

46m
Jul 21
Jason Resnikoff, "Labor's End: How the Promise of Automation Degraded Work" (U Illinois Press, 2021)

Labor's End: How the Promise of Automation Degraded Work (U Illinois Press, 2021) traces the discourse around automation from its origins in the factory to its wide-ranging implications in political and social life. As Jason Resnikoff shows, the term automation expressed the conviction that industrial progress meant the inevitable abolition of manual labor from industry. But the real substance of the term reflected industry's desire to hide an intensification of human work--and labor's loss of power and protection--behind magnificent machinery and a starry-eyed faith in technological revolution. The rhetorical power of the automation ideology revealed and perpetuated a belief that the idea of freedom was incompatible with the activity of work. From there, political actors ruled out the workplace as a site of politics while some of labor's staunchest allies dismissed sped-up tasks, expanded workloads, and incipient deindustrialization in the name of technological progress. A forceful intellectual history, Labor's End challenges entrenched assumptions about automation's transformation of the American workplace. Jason Resnifoff is Assistant Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Groningen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) in the Netherlands. Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

1h 0m
Jul 21
John Fitzgerald, "Cadre Country: How China Became the Chinese Communist Party" (NewSouth Books, 2022)

Since the founding of the Communist Party in China just over a century ago there is much the country has achieved. But who does the heavy lifting in China? And who walks away with the spoils? Cadre Country: How China Became the Chinese Communist Party (NewSouth Books, 2022) places the spotlight on the nation’s 40 million cadres—the managers and government officials employed by the ruling Communist Party to protect its great enterprise – to show how the Communist Party operates in China and how the stories the party tells about itself are based on thin foundations. The book pays particular attention to the history, language, and culture of the Communist Party but maintains a relentless focus on what has become of China since the Global Financial Crisis and in particular since Xi Jinping came to power. The party is in the act of swallowing a liberalised society, a marketized economy, and a diverse country. This matters for everyone, because the way China’s government behaves at home frames its conduct abroad. John Fitzgerald is an historian of China and the Chinese diaspora. He headed the Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne University after serving five years as China Representative of The Ford Foundation in Beijing (2008-13). From 2015 to 2017 he served as President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. His recent books include Cadre Country: How China became the Chinese Communist Party (2022), Taking the Low Road: China’s Influence in Australia’s States and Territories (edited, 2022), and Chinese Diaspora Charity and the Cantonese Pacific, 1850–1949 (edited with Hon-ming Yip, 2020). Earlier books include Big White Lie: Chinese Australians in White Australia (2007), awarded the Ernest Scott Prize of the Australian Historical Association, and Awakening China: Politics, Culture and Class in the Nationalist Revolution (1997), awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize of the US Association for Asian Studies. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1976), Nanjing University (Language Cert 1977) and ANU (PhD 1983), and studied at UW Madison as a Fulbright post-doctoral fellow (1988). Dong Wang is distinguished professor of history and director of the Wellington Koo Institute for Modern China in World History at Shanghai University (since 2016), a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

53m
Jul 20