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New Books in Sociology

Author: Marshall Poe

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Interviews with Sociologists about their New Books

924 Episodes
Today Jana Byars talks to Jean Halley, Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York about her new book Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses (University of Georgia Press, 2019). Part memoir, part heavy-hitting theoretical exploration, this delightfully readable book explores the relationship between horses and humans, and how girls develop relationships with horses and subvert dominant narratives about gender roles and heteronormativity. Professor Halley works on the intersection of affective relationships, identity construction, and power, often as these intersections interact with horses. She is the author of The Parallel Lives of Women and Cows: Meat Markets (Palgrave 2012) and Boundaries of Touch: Parenting and Adult-Child Intimacy (Illinois, 2007) as well as the editor of Seeing Straight, Seeing White, and The Affective Turn. As well as her academic and hybrid academic/memoir work, Halley writes creative non-fiction. Killing Deer, a beautifully written and slightly devastating short, was published in Harper’s Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Terrorism and radicalization came to the forefront of news and politics in the US after the unforgettable attacks of September 11th, 2001. When George W. Bush famously asked "Why do they hate us?," the President echoed the confusion, anger and fear felt by millions of Americans, while also creating a politicized discourse that has come to characterize and obscure discussions of both phenomena in the media. Since then the American public has lived through a number of domestic attacks and threats, and watched international terrorist attacks from afar on television sets and computer screens. The anxiety and misinformation surrounding terrorism and radicalization are perhaps best detected in questions that have continued to recur in the last decade: "Are terrorists crazy?"; "Is there a profile of individuals likely to become terrorists?"; "Is it possible to prevent radicalization to terrorism?" Fortunately, in the two decades since 9/11, a significant body of research has emerged that can help provide definitive answers. In Radicalization to Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2020), Sophia Moskalenko and Clark McCauley propose twelve mechanisms that can move individuals, groups, and mass publics from political indifference to sympathy and support for terrorist violence. Radicalization to Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know synthesizes original and existing research to answer the questions raised after each new attack, including those committed by radicalized Americans. It offers a rigorously informed overview of the insight that will enable readers to see beyond the relentless news cycle to understand where terrorism comes from and how best to respond to it. Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Classes of Labour: Work and Life in a Central Indian Steel Town (Routledge, 2020) is a classic in the social sciences. The rigour and richness of the ethnographic data of this book and its analysis is matched only by its literary style. This magnum opus of 732 pages, an outcome of fieldwork covering twenty-one years, complete with diagrams and photographs, reads like an epic novel, difficult to put down. Professor Jonathan Parry looks at a context in which the manual workforce is divided into distinct social classes, which have a clear sense of themselves as separate and interests that are sometimes opposed. The relationship between them may even be one of exploitation; and they are associated with different lifestyles and outlooks, kinship and marriage practices, and suicide patterns. A central concern is with the intersection between class, caste, gender and regional ethnicity, with how class trumps caste in most contexts and with how classes have become increasingly structured as the ‘structuration’ of castes has declined. The wider theoretical ambition is to specify the general conditions under which the so-called ‘working class’ has any realistic prospect of unity. Today I talked with the author, Jonathan Parry, emeritus professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (in collaboration with Ajay TG) and John Harriss, emeritus professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University. Sneha Annavarapu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
When you ask people about academic collaborations, Piven and Cloward is almost always the first one they mention. In this episode of the Co-Authored podcast, we look at the four-decade collaboration between Professors Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward. This collaboration is incredibly timely today, as protest and social movements are at the center of debates about racial justice and social equity. Piven and Cloward studied this together starting in the early 1960s and what they discovered about poverty, race, and social movements in the multiple books and articles reveals a lot about the way forward. During this episode, you’ll directly from Piven, who I interviewed at her home in Manhattan. She retired from the City University of New York Graduate Center several years ago, but continues to write. Richard Cloward passed in the early 2000s, but you’ll hear from him in a clip from the 1960s. You’ll also hear from Dara Strolovitch, Phil Rocco, and Mark Schmidt. There’s a little bit of Milton Friedman and Glenn Beck to keep things moving, as well. The episode was supported by the American Political Science Association, the New Books Network, and John Jay College, CUNY. It was edited and produced by Sam Anderson. I hope you enjoy listening. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Colleges fiercely defend America’s higher education system, arguing that it rewards bright kids who have worked hard. But it doesn’t actually work this way. As the recent bribery scandal demonstrates, social inequalities and colleges’ pursuit of wealth and prestige stack the deck in favor of the children of privilege. For education scholars and critics Anthony P. Carnevale, Peter Schmidt, and Jeff Strohl, it’s clear that colleges are not the places of aspiration and equal opportunity they should (and claim to) be. The Merit Myth: How Our Colleges Favor the Rich and Divide America (The New Press) delves deeply into the rampant dysfunction of higher education today and critiques a system that pays lip service to social mobility and meritocracy, while offering little of either. Through policies that exacerbate inequality, including generously funding so-called merit-based aid rather than expanding opportunity for those who need it most, U.S. universities—the presumed pathway to a better financial future—are woefully (and in some cases criminally) complicit in reproducing racial and class privilege across generations. This timely and incisive book argues for unrigging the game by dramatically reducing the weight of the SAT/ACT; measuring colleges by their outcomes, not their inputs; designing affirmative action plans that honor the relationship between race and class; and making 14 the new 12—guaranteeing every American a public K–14 education. The Merit Myth shows the way to higher education becoming the beacon of opportunity it was intended to be. Anthony P. Carnevale, a chairman under President Clinton of the National Commission on Employment Policy, is the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. He lives in Washington, DC. Peter Schmidt, the author of Color and Money, is an award-winning writer and editor who has worked for Education Week and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He lives in Washington, DC. Jeff Strohl is the director of research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. He lives in Washington, DC. Stephen Pimpare is Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A People’s History of Poverty in America (New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, and Ghettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen (Oxford, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Who are the Black middle-class in Britain? In Black Middle-Class Britannia: Identities, Repertoires, Cultural Consumption (Manchester University Press, 2019) Ali Meghji, a lecturer in social inequalities at the University of Cambridge, considers the identity of Britain’s Black middle-class by understanding culture and cultural consumption. Offering examples from across contemporary art and culture, the book provides both a theoretical framework and rich empirical data to demonstrate the importance of understanding race to the study of both class and culture. As a result, the book is essential reading across the arts and social sciences, as well as for cultural practitioners and policymakers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
70 years ago, the philosopher Theodore Adorno and a team of scholars released a massive book titled The Authoritarian Personality (Verso, 2019), which attempted to map the psychological and emotional dynamics of those who might find themselves seduced by authoritarianism. The book synthesized both empirical psychology and sociology, relying on massive sets of data, with psychoanalytic models of personality so as to approach their subjects with a set of deep hermeneutic tools. The result is a book that is both both data-driven and speculative, and covers a vast swatch of theoretical territory. It was recently republished by Verso books, with a new introduction by Peter Gordon. Charles Clavey, a lecturer in social studies at Harvard University, whose research focuses on critical theory and the history of authoritarianism. His writing has appeared in a number of places including Modern Intellectual History, The LA Review of Books and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Most Gulag scholarship focuses on political prisoners and, as a result, our knowledge of the camps as a lived experience remains relatively incomplete. Criminal Subculture in the Gulag: Prisoner Society in the Stalinist Labour Camps, 1924–53 (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020) draws on Gulag journals, song collections, tattoo drawings and dictionaries of slang, to explore the lives of the recidivist criminals and criminal gangs that originated in the Gulag under Stalin. Join us to listen as Mark Vincent maps the Gulag 'penal arc' of prisoners across initiation tests, means of communication, the importance of card playing, punishment rituals, tattooing rituals, and conflict between the vory v zakone and the other prisoners and camp staff. Mark Vincent is an independent scholar who obtained his PhD in 2015 from the University of East Anglia, UK. Samantha Lomb is an Assistant Professor at Vyatka State University in Kirov, Russia. Her research focuses on daily life, local politics and political participation in the Stalinist 1930s. Her book, Stalin’s Constitution: Soviet Participatory Politics and the Discussion of the Draft 1936 Constitution, is now available online. Her research can be viewed here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Pepper Glass’s new book Misplacing Ogden, Utah: Race, Class, Immigration, and the Construction of Urban Reputation (University of Utah Press, 2020) evaluates the widely held assumption that divisions between urban areas are reflections of varying amounts of crime, deprivation, and other social, cultural, and economic problems. Glass uses Ogden, Utah as a case study to argue that urban reputations are “moral frontiers” that uphold and create divides between the reputations of members of a community. As a working-class city, Ogden, Utah has long held a history of racial and immigrant diversity. Among many Utahns this community gained a reputation as a "sin city" in the middle of an entrenched religious culture. Glass blends ethnographic research with historical accounts, census reports, and other secondary sources to provide insight into Ogden’s reputation, past and present. This book captures the perception of residents of the entire city as opposed to only a sector of the community. Glass’s unique approach suggests that we can do a better job at confronting urban problems by rethinking the assumptions we have about place and promoting interventions that breakdown boundaries. Pepper Glass, Ph.D. is associate professor of sociology at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. He has published his research on racial inequality, social movements, and youth culture in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Mobilization, and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is assistant professor of sociology at William Penn University. He earned his doctoral degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Walden University. He researches place and the process of place making as it is presented in everyday social interactions. You can find more about him on his website, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst or email him at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews editors Donovan Conley and Justin Eckstein about their new book Cookery: Food Rhetorics and Social Production (University of Alabama Press, 2020), which explores the rhetoric of contemporary food production and consumption with a focus on social boundaries. Cookery explores how food mediates both rhetorical influence and material life through the overlapping concepts of invention and production. The essays in this volume probe the many ways that food informs contemporary social life through its mediation of bodies—human and extra-human alike. Each chapter explores food’s persuasive nature through a unique prism that includes intoxication, dirt, “food porn,” strange foods, and political “invisibility.” Each case offers new insights about the relations between rhetorical influence and embodied practice through food. As a whole, Cookery articulates new ways of viewing food’s powers of persuasion, as well as the inherent role of persuasion in agricultural production Donovan Conley is Berman Chair in Language and Thought and associate professor of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Justin Eckstein is assistant professor and director of forensics in the communication department at Pacific Lutheran University. We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What kind of discrimination do Black women face in the legal profession? Tsedale Melaku explores this question and more in her new book: You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer: Black Women and Systemic Gendered Racism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). Using in-depth interviews with Black women about their lived experiences working in elite law firms, Melaku explores topics including double burden, system gendered racism, and color-blind ideology. She also pushes our thinking further about these issues through discovery of issues including the invisible labor clause and inclusion tax. Her respondents elaborate on their experiences of having their appearances and positions continually scrutinized, leading to hypervisibility and invisibility. Melaku also explores women’s experiences of isolation, exclusion, and ultimately attrition through daily experiences as well as through important relationships within professional networks. This book will be of interest to many readers inside and outside of Sociology. Scholars of race, gender, and work will find this to be an important reading for their own work and a critical addition to their classrooms. Anyone working in professional institutions could benefit from reading the experiences of these women and Melaku’s clear and thorough analysis of next steps and take-aways. Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Today I talked to Charlotte Bruckermann about her new book Claiming Homes: Confronting Domicide in Rural China (Berghahn Books, 2019). Chinese citizens make themselves at home despite economic transformation, political rupture, and domestic dislocation in the contemporary countryside. By mobilizing labor and kinship to make claims over homes, people, and things, rural residents withstand devaluation and confront dispossession. As a particular configuration of red capitalism and socialist sovereignty takes root, this process challenges the relationship between the politics of place and the location of class in China and beyond. Suvi Rautio is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki. As an anthropologist, her interests delve into themes, such as Chinese state-society relations, space and memory, to deconstruct the social orderings of marginalized populations living in China and reveal the layers of social difference that characterize the nation today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What is the culture of the tech industry? In The Culture of Women in Tech: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Emerald, 2019), Mariann Hardey, an Associate Professor in Marketing at Durham University, shows the ongoing inequalities faced by women in the IT industry. The book uses a range of case studies from across the world’s ‘tech cities’, drawing on interviews, focus groups, ethnography, and a feminist theoretical framework, to make clear the problem of the ‘women in tech’ label and the sexism in the tech industry. The book analyses the gendered spatial and career divisions of tech, making it an important addition to the literature, as well as essential reading for anyone interested in how this most essential modern industry works. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Over recent years, scholarship centering Afrolatinidad has pushed the bounds of the field towards greater forms of racial and ethnic understanding. Dr. Monika Gosin’s monograph, The Racial Politics of Division: Interethnic Struggles For Legitimacy in Multicultural Miami (Cornell University, 2019), adds to this burgeoning literary canon. By examining how controversial waves of Cuban immigration during the late 20th century intensified the friction between African Americans and the existing Cuban immigrant population in Miami, Gosin reveals how differing notions of “worthy citizenship” encouraged interethnic conflict. Dr. Gosin’s The Politics of Division “forces a relooking at the poles of black and white as they operate in the lives of people who are phenotypically black” (20). The author’s ability to hold and move between so many complex identities, histories, and frameworks is exemplary of the approach necessary to conduct relational research. Gosin’s communities of study include African American, white Cubans, Afro-Cubans, Haitians, and the ever-present looming structures of white supremacy both in the United States and Cuba. Traversing between intersecting and transnational racial ideologies, the book highlights three racializing frames (black/white, good/bad immigrant, and native/foreigner) through which communities facilitated their own relationship of belonging to the US nation-state. Gosin conducts extensive research in newspaper archives to understand how various racial and ethnic communities constructed media discourses about one another. She utilizes the archives of the Miami Times, an African American-owned and controlled paper, and El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language adaptation of the mainstream Miami Herald, to show the complexities of race, immigration, and citizenship. Throughout the book, Dr. Gosin maintains a strong commitment to the presence and histories of Afro-Cubans in both the African-American and white Cuban controlled newspapers. She supplements this work with in-depth personal interviews with Afro-Cubans living in Miami and Los Angeles, which further adds a dynamic to the history of racial complexity in southern Florida. As Gosin writes, “Examining how Afro-Cuban immigrants negotiate the intersections of blackness and Latinidad and rejections they sometimes face from other Latinos allows an important critique of the ways white supremacist notions have been embraced or perpetuated by nonblack Latinos” (191). This call for a better understanding of the ways white supremacy has infiltrated thought processes -- and scholarship -- in non-black Latinx peoples and Latinx Studies is critical to the book’s goal. The Racial Politics of Division is a book for those interested in race and race-making between non-white communities, how issues of racialization and immigration merge into sociopolitical consequences, and for students of (Afro)Latinx studies. Monika Gosin is Associate Professor in Sociology at William & Mary. Jonathan Cortez is a Ph.D. candidate of American Studies at Brown University. They are a historian of 20th-century issues of race, labor, (im)migration, surveillance, space, relational Ethnic Studies, and Latinx Studies. Their research focuses on the rise of federally-funded encampments (i.e., the concentration of populations) from the advent of the New Deal until post-WWII era. Their dissertation, “The Age of Encampment: Race, Surveillance, and the Power of Spatial Scripts, 1933-1950” reveals underlying continuities between the presence of threatening bodies and the increasing surveillance of these bodies in camps throughout the United States. Jonathan is currently a Ford Predoctoral Fellow as well as a curatorial assistant at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @joncortz and on their personal website Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Researchers frequently experience sexualized interactions, sexual objectification, and harassment as they conduct fieldwork. These experiences are often left out of ethnographers’ “tales from the field” and remain unaddressed within qualitative literature. In Harassed: Gender, Bodies, and Ethnographic Research (University of California Press, 2019), Rebecca Hanson and Patricia Richards argue that the androcentric, racist, and colonialist epistemological foundations of ethnographic methodology contribute to the silence surrounding sexual harassment and other forms of violence. Hanson and Richards challenge readers to recognize how these attitudes put researchers at risk, further the solitude experienced by researchers, lead others to question the validity of their work, and, in turn, negatively impact the construction of ethnographic knowledge. To improve methodological training, data collection, and knowledge produced by all researchers, Harassed advocates for an embodied approach to ethnography that reflexively engages with the ways in which researchers’ bodies shape the knowledge they produce. By challenging these assumptions, the authors offer an opportunity for researchers, advisors, and educators to consider the multiple ways in which good ethnographic research can be conducted. Beyond challenging current methodological training and mentorship, Harassed opens discussions about sexual harassment and violence in the social sciences in general. The authors brought up a couple of articles in the interview that they wanted to provide links to, in case listeners want to look these articles up: --Berry, Maya J., Claudia Cháves Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada. 2017. “Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field.” Cultural Anthropology 32(4): 537-565. --Bonnes, Stephanie. 2017. “The Bureaucratic Harassment of U.S. Servicewomen.” Gender & Society 31(6): 804-829. Sneha Annavarapu is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, has been ranked as one of the most violent cities in the world. In Deadline: Populism and the Press in Venezuela (University of Chicago Press, 2019), Robert Samet undertakes ethnography with crime journalists on their reporting practices to offer a compelling argument about the relationship between populist politics and the news. Samet participates with and observes a group of crime reporters as they traverse the city, investigating crimes, recording interviews with victims, and writing up their stories. Reporters commonly collected and publicized denuncias, victims’ accusations or denouncements of wrongdoing that can also include calls for justice. Samet details the substance and variation of such denuncias to demonstrate how the ubiquity and prevalence of these pronouncements articulate a popular will. This book contributes to studies of media and journalism, Latin American politics and society, and political anthropology in order to expand our understanding of the role of journalism in amplifying the will of the people. Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The success of populist politicians and the emergence of social justice movements around the world, and the recent demonstrations against police violence in the United States, demonstrate a widespread desire for fundamental political, economic, and social change, albeit not always in a leftwards direction. What can movements and parties that hope to bring about fundamental social change learn from the past? In Anatomies of Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2019), George Lawson analyzes revolutionary episodes from the modern era (beginning with the Glorious Revolution of 1688) to discern how geopolitics, transnational circulation of ideas and people, organizational capabilities, and contingent choices come together to shape the emergence of revolutionary situations and the trajectories and outcomes of revolutions. He also explains why more moderate negotiated revolutions have been more common than far-reaching social revolutions since the 1980s. Finally, he suggests that the key for social movements to take advantage of systemic crises that could provide openings for revolutionary situations to emerge is the ability of opposition groups to form cohesive political organizations without succumbing to the authoritarianism and the “ends justify the means” logic that turned revolutionary forces into violent, authoritarian regimes in the past. George Lawson is Associate Professor, Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How are we going to address inequality and put the economy on a sounder footing? Today I talked to Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth about their new book Angrynomics (Agenda Publishing/Columbia University Press, 2020). Lonergan is an economist and macro fund manager in London whose writings often appear in The Financial Times. Blyth is a political economist at Brown University who received his PhD in political science from Columbia University. Topics covered in this episode include: --An exploration of how the emotions of anger, fear and disgust animate both the long-term economic stresses in society and those brought on by the Covid-19 crisis. --What the differences are between moral outrage versus tribal outrage. --Descriptions of three, potentially viable and game-changing solutions, including among them a “data dividend” and the creation of national wealth funds like those in Norway and beyond. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. ( To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright, 2020) by Marcia Chatelain is a fascinating examination of the relationship between the fast-food industry, Black business owners, and the communities where they set up franchises after the Holy Week Uprisings of 1968. Using McDonalds as a “prism” to study the expansion of the fast-food industry and the effects of Black capitalism, Franchise tells a complex origins story about Black franchisees and their reception in Black communities across the nation in Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, Cleveland, and Los Angeles after the classical phase of the Civil Rights Movement. Chatelain ultimately exposes the limits of Black entrepreneurship to supplant state responsibility to create socially and economically reparative conditions in Black communities, while demonstrating how a range of progressive Black politicians and activists came to support Black entrepreneurship as a solution to widespread federal and municipal disinvestment from Black communities. As Black franchise owners assisted the development of McDonalds into a wealthy and successful national brand, they also encountered glass-ceilings and discriminatory practices within McDonalds corporate and the larger business world despite their tremendous success compared to white counterparts. Chatelain traces these tensions and interconnections across political, business, and community stakeholders to explain how fast-food franchises ingratiated themselves into Black communities, while exasperating inequalities in Black America. Francise teaches readers to be skeptical of corporate or market-driven solutions whether articulated as Black capitalism or “empowerment,” especially during and after moments of Black uprising. Marcia Chatelain is a scholar, speaker, and strategist based in Washington, D.C. She teaches courses in African American life and culture at Georgetown University. Amanda Joyce Hall is a Ph.D. Candidate in History and African American Studies at Yale University. She is writing an international history on the grassroots movement against South African apartheid during the 1970s and 1980s. She tweets from @amandajoycehall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How are black lives lived in the contemporary city? In Terraformed: Young Black Lives in the Inner City, Dr Joy White, a sociologist and ethnographer based in London, explores the case study of Newham in East London to illustrate issues of privatisation, gentrification, policing, and racial discrimination. In doing so, the book highlights how specific cultures and musical scenes have flourished and developed, even as corporate power aims to regenerate away these vital elements of local life. The ethnography and analysis of power offers important lessons for towns and cities in the UK and beyond, connecting global trends and theoretical insights to specific local case studies. In our current context the book is essential reading across the humanities and social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in urban life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (1)

maxie Xie

hi, I really liked the contents, it's a shame the hardware part, the recording damages a great deal on the quality, the speaking sounded far away and kind of breaking... hard to describe

Aug 4th
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