• The Minneapolis Reckoning: Race, Violence and the Politics of Policing in America, a new book by Michelle S. Phelps (Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota), argues that Minneapolis is a “secret bellwether city for understanding race and policing in America” and “a test case for both the possibilities and limits of liberal police reform.” Phelps appeared on MPR News, discussing the origin of her research, interviews with Minneapolis residents, and the potential impact of court-imposed reform measures. Reason Magazine called the book “a valuable piece of research on how fights for police reform are won and lost, and what reform means to the people who need it most.”
  • The U.S. Department of Justice recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment (the parent company of Ticketmaster) for monopolization of the concert industry. In an interview with The Conversation, David Arditi (Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas – Arlington) discussed how musicians are now more dependent on tour revenues to make a living and how Live Nation and Ticketmaster changed the ticket purchasing experience for consumers.
  • In a new book, Between Us: Healing Ourselves and Changing the World Through Sociology, forty-five sociologists share personal stories of the impact of sociology. “I’ve always believed that sociology helped save my life and can do the same for others,” said co-editor Elizabeth Anne Wood (Professor of Sociology at Nassau Community College). “Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless, I found strength in understanding the social structures that constrain and hurt us,” co-editor Marika Lindholm (sociologist and founder of Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere) explained. This story was covered by PR Newswire.
  • Benjamin Shestakofsky (Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania) wrote an article for Zócalo Public Square describing how venture capital business models “help create products that succeed in short-term disruption—with questionable or even dangerous long-term effects” and the various alternatives to the venture capital model. “By promoting and investing in businesses with alternative ownership structures,” Shestakofsky argues, “consumers, workers, activists, and governments can challenge venture capital’s winner-take-all model, creating ecosystems of smaller, more localized and specialized platforms that are more responsive to the people who use them and to the communities in which they are embedded.”
  • The Telegraph ran a story on the rise of the ‘work from home’ husband, describing the post-pandemic phenomena of U.K. men working from home while their wives return to the office. Heejung Chung (Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Kent) commented that there is more opportunity to work remotely in male-dominated jobs. “The three big occupations or sectors where remote work is still limited are healthcare, education, not all education but mainly primary and secondary, and then the third is retail. Those are very female-centric occupations, where remote working is not possible,” Chung said.
  • In response to protests on university campuses calling for divestment from Israel, NHPR ran a story on how social media has changed protest movements. Zeynep Tufekci (Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton) commented that protests organized using social media “get very big very quickly,” but are not necessarily more effective in generating policy change. Non-digital movements of the past “facilitated face-to-face relationships and cohesive group problem-solving.” For example, Tufekci describes that during the Civil Rights Movement, it “took them six months just to organize the logistics of the March on Washington because you couldn’t just put it on a hashtag on social media. But that meant that [the] organizational structure they built helped them navigate what came afterward.” However, Tufekci also notes that movements utilizing social media may be evolving, citing the “message discipline” (or, clear boundaries around what is said as a group) of the protests at Yale, where organizers limited the group to approved chants.
  • Beth Linker (Professor in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania) recently released a new book: Slouch: Posture Panic in Modern America. “With the rise of eugenics in the early 20th century, certain scientists began to worry that slouching among “civilized” peoples could lead to degeneration, a backward slide in human progress,” Linker described in an interview with the New York Times. The book investigates this “posture panic,” the rise of posture correction in medical science, and how the “postural defects” became a social marker of “character, intelligence and physical ability.”
  • The New York Times ran a story on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected American gun violence. Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz (Population Health Sociologist at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and California Firearm Violence Research Center) commented on the effects of violence beyond the direct victims: “Neighborhoods that have persistently elevated levels of violence have lots of trauma across many people. That impacts relationships between neighbors and translates into collective senses of fear.” Kravitz-Wirtz noted the racial disparities in geographic proximity to gun violence.
  • A new dating app with selective membership, The League, aims to connect individuals who are equally successful–financially, socially, and in their careers. “Data shows that men and women are increasingly dating and subsequently marrying individuals who share similar backgrounds,” Jess Carbino (Online Dating Consultant and former Sociologist for Tinder and Bumble) commented. “So on one hand, The League has been criticized for perpetuating existing social inequalities, but on the other, you can say it’s helping people do what statistically, they’re already doing, which is basing their preferences on certain markers.” This story was covered by Yahoo! Life.
  • Erin Cech (Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan) and Elana Goldenkoff (Doctoral Candidate in Movement Science at the University of Michigan) wrote an article for The Conversation assessing how prepared engineers are to face ethical dilemmas regarding AI. They discuss how engineers often are aware of ethical dilemmas, but feel unprepared to deal with them and how ethics training is often placed on the backburner in STEM education. However, engineers who do receive ethics training “were 30% more likely to have noticed an ethical issue in their workplace and 52% more likely to have taken action.” ​​
  • Robert Bullard (Distinguished Professor and Director of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Climate and Environmental Justice at Texas Southern University) recently won a TIME Earth Award in recognition of his work in environmental justice. “My sociology has taught me that it is not enough to gather the data, do the science, and write the books in order to get transformative change. In order for us to solve this climate crisis…we must marry [our data] with action,” Bullard said in his acceptance speech. “I am optimistic. I do have faith. But as my grandmother told me, faith without work is death. We are a live movement.”
  • Stephanie Alice Baker (Senior Lecturer in Sociology at City University of London) wrote an article for The Conversation on how wellness influencers are contributing to misleading information about birth control on social media sites. Baker describes how “the pill has been re-framed from a source of liberation to harmful by some female wellness influencers” who tend to prioritize “native expertise – knowledge derived from intuition and experience rather than professionals.”
  • Josh Greenberg (Professor of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University) wrote an article for The Conversation on the resurgence of the vinyl LP, describing “how seeking, acquiring, collecting and displaying one’s music collection…are sociocultural activities that enable the creation and expression of identity.” Greenberg also discusses how vinyl marketing appeals to our ‘hyperaesthetic culture’ and how listening to vinyl is a social practice for many collectors.
  • Chizuko Ueno (Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo) was named one of the 100 most influential people of 2024 by Time Magazine. As a prominent scholar of semiotics, capitalism, and feminism, Ueno has advocated for gender equality in Japan throughout her career. Now Ueno’s work has also “propelled feminist ideas into mainstream Chinese society, a rare bright spot amid worsening political repression.”
  • SRN News ran an article on how O.J. Simpson’s trial still reflects the realities of racial divisions in America. Darnell Hunt (Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost and Professor of African American Studies & Sociology at UCLA) commented that, at the time of the trial, Black Americans were four times as likely to think that Simpson was innocent and Black media outlets tended to raise broader questions about racial disparities in the justice system in their news coverage. “The case was about two different views of reality or two different takes on the reality of race in America at that point in history,” Hunt said. Camille Charles (Professor of Sociology, Africana Studies & Education at the University of Pennsylvania) commented that, despite the fact that systemic racism in criminal justice is still an issue, Black Americans are seemingly less likely to support famous defendants “as a show of race solidarity,” citing R. Kelly and Bill Cosby as examples.
  • Artūras Tereškinas (Professor of Social Sciences at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas) was quoted in an LRT article about the Eurovision Song Contest and how Lithuanians react to their representatives. Tereškinas discussed how the contest embraces the camp aesthetic and highlights LGBTQ+ performers, triggering conservative Lithuanians’ “prejudices against LGBTQ+ people, sexuality in general and the open expression of sexuality in Eurovision.”
  • Dana R. Fisher (Director of the Center for Environment, Community & Equity at American University) recently published a new book: Saving Ourselves: From Climate Shocks to Climate Action. Fisher argues that we need an “AnthroShift” (a “broad-based and yet deeply ingrained change of perception and behavior”) to address climate change: “Without a sustained shock that has tangible consequences in terms of social costs to people and property, the subsequent change will be ephemeral.” The book was reviewed by Yale Climate Connections.
  • Argentinian sociologist Agustín Teglia is using chess workshops as a tool to foster socialization among young people who are vulnerable to violence and marginality. “It’s a good way to generate a mediator, a common code to form a group. There can be children of different ages and levels, and each one has a role to receive and integrate classmates or teach them rules,” Teglia describes. This story was covered by Scroll.in.
  • Tressie McMillan Cottom (Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina) wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times on how O.J. Simpson will be remembered “as a spectacle.” Cottom discusses how Simpson received “a kind of carte blanche usually reserved for powerful white men, because his public mythology erased his private abuses” and how, during his infamous murder trial, Simpson’s legal team presented him as a symbol of “Black martyrdom” following the acquittal of L.A. police officers for the beating of Rodney King. “He wanted to be above the rules not because of what he was but because of who he was,” Cottom writes. “It’s the height of karmic irony, then, that what ultimately made Simpson special was the way his Blackness — that socially constructed distance from the white acceptance he so clearly craved — will forever define his legacy.”
  • Apryl Williams (Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan) recently published a new book: Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating. The book combines technical analysis, interviews, and a historical analysis of racism and romance to discuss how the algorithms of dating sites that sort users to predict attraction are racially informed. “By matching users with others who look like them, dating platforms both reflect and reinforce racial stereotypes and biases common in American culture, which attribute attractiveness and desirability to certain groups and rank others as less attractive.” This story was covered by The Harvard Gazette.
  • Alex Kotlowitz recently reviewed The Unclaimed: Abandonment and Hope in the City of Angels for The Atlantic. The book, by Pamela Prickett (Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam) and Stefan Timmermans (Professor of Sociology at UCLA), utilizes interviews to profile four individuals whose bodies were unclaimed upon their death to show how “some human deaths are valued less than others.” Matt Desmond praised the book as “[a] rare and compassionate look into the lives of Americans who go unclaimed when they die and those who dedicate their lives to burying them with dignity.” Kotlowitz’s review highlights how the book left him feeling surprisingly hopeful: “What is so remarkable about the lives of these people is how, despite their personal quirks and injuries, others took them in, embraced them, made them feel a part of a community.”
  • Caitlyn Collins (Associate Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis) recently appeared on The Ezra Klein Show to discuss how national policies, social support, and culture affect experiences of parenthood. Collins describes how work-family policies in Sweden and the United States affect how we think about parenting, clashes between the roles of worker and parent for Americans, and more.
  • Christina Cross (Assistant Professor of Sociology at Harvard) was recently accused of plagiarism in an anonymous, bad-faith complaint. The complaint focuses on instances of boilerplate descriptions of datasets and instances where scholars are cited, but not quoted. This accusation–the fourth in a series of complaints against Black women at Harvard who study race or social justice–has been amplified by conservative activist Christopher Rufo as part of a broader campaign against critical race scholarship and DEI efforts. Plagiarism expert Jonathan Bailey reviewed the allegations and found no issue. However, Bailey is concerned with the “weaponization of plagiarism” (using allegations of plagiarism to address political or social grievances). In support of Cross, the ASA denounced the anonymous complaint: “These false claims of plagiarism are a political attack that exploits the gap between the normal scientific process and the public’s understanding of that process. These actors also appear to be working to undermine faith in the research process and delegitimize academic knowledge by attacking racial diversity and the inclusion of highly qualified Black faculty and leaders in colleges and universities.” This story was covered by The Harvard Crimson.
  • Zeynep Tufekci (Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton) wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in response to the media frenzy surrounding Kate Middleton’s disappearance from the public eye for an unspecified surgery. Tufekci compares the public response to prior treatment of Meghan Markle, highlighting the double standards and arguing that “trapping women in constraining public roles, pitting them against one another and reducing them to symbols of virtue or vice is a powerful and politically expedient distraction” but is harmful all around.
  • DW – South Africa ran a story on how US fundamentalist Christian churches are promoting negative sentiments against LGBTQ+ people and abortion rights in Africa. Haley McEwen (Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Gothenburg) commented that “US Christian right-wing groups have been very active in the US foreign policy since the early 2000s,” promoting “family-friendly agendas” and funding homegrown African organizations with aligning political agendas.
  • South African sociologist Edward Webster (Founder of the Society, Work & Politics Institute at the University of Witwatersrand) recently passed away at the age of 81. In a profile of his life and work, Michael Burawoy (Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley) wrote that Webster’s sociological practice is marked by “the intimate connection between his academic and his public lives: the one inseparable from the other. The Webster windmill takes in the winds of change—social, political, and economic winds—and turns them into a prodigious intellectual engagement.”
  • The New York Times ran a story discussing the upcoming election in Russia. Greg Yudin (Professor of Political Philosophy at The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton) commented that anxieties and uncertainties over the war are drawing voters to Vladimir Putin: “There are fears about what will happen if we don’t win: We will be humiliated, everyone will be prosecuted, we will have to pay huge reparations — and basically put under foreign control. These fears are fueled by Putin, who has also positioned himself as the only one who can end the war.”
  • The Amsterdam News ran a feature on Elizabeth Ross Haynes, sociologist and women’s rights advocate. Haynes’ master’s thesis, Two Million Negro Women at Work (1922), was “praised for decades as the most comprehensive study of Black women in the United States.” Haynes’ work highlighted the lack of training opportunities and low wages for Black women in the workforce.
  • The New York Times ran a story on how dating apps are struggling to sell subscriptions (the bulk of their revenue) to younger daters. Jess Carbino (Online Dating Consultant and former Sociologist for Tinder and Bumble) describes this trend as a demographic shift, commenting younger people “still feel a desire to use online dating apps, but they’re not necessarily experiencing a sense of urgency to find a partner.”
  • Gaëtan Mangin (Sociologist at the Université d’Artois) wrote an article for The Conversation describing how, amid transitions to electric vehicles, owners of older cars are committed to certain ideas of sustainability. Many older car owners highlight the importance of using what you already have, often support driving less, and suspect that electric vehicles may be more polluting than they appear.
  • ABC News ran a story on the rising use of Ozempic and other GLP-1 agonists for weight loss. Pepper Schwartz (Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington) commented on how physical appearance and identity can be inter-woven: “If you change your looks so much that you feel like a different person, then your identity is changing.”
  • The American Prospect interviewed Eric Klinenberg (Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU) on America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Klinenberg discussed 1) how ‘social distancing’ was “rooted in good epidemiological science” but sociologically “destined to fail” as it undermined social solidarity; 2) how America was an outlier in COVID experiences, with high levels of destructive behavior; and 3) how our current presidential candidates are framing the pandemic as the election unfolds.
  • The Cut interviewed Gretchen Sisson (Sociologist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California San Francisco) about her new book Relinquished: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood, which highlights experiences of birthmothers in the adoption industry. Sisson describes how many birthmothers want to become parents, but participate in adoption for financial reasons: “We have to understand adoption largely as a product of inequity and poverty, and that is a fundamental understanding that we just don’t have in this country,” Sisson says.
  • Eric Klinenberg (Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU) appeared on Plain English with Derek Thompson to discuss the “hanging out crisis” (the decline in face-to-face interactions), the importance of social infrastructure, and why “aloneness isn’t always loneliness.”
  • Robert Bullard (Distinguished Professor and Director of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Climate and Environmental Justice at Texas Southern University) appeared on Living on Earth to discuss how an elevated highway has caused destructive flooding in Shiloh, Alabama. “This is one of the worst cases of environmental racism that I have seen in the 40 years that I’ve worked on this. … If you look at the damage that has been caused over the last six years, you can see the drainage systems are pointed like cannons into the community. It’s almost as if the state is saying “We want you out of here. And if you don’t leave, we’re gonna drown you. We’re gonna drive you out.” Bullard discussed how pollution, vulnerabilities to climate change, and vulnerabilities to harmful infrastructure are racially segregated. This story was picked up by Inside Climate News.
  • Eric Klinenberg (Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU) appeared on MSNBC’s Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast and in The New Yorker to discuss his new book 2020: One City, Seven People, and the Year Everything Changed. Klinenberg described learning through examining crises, enduring effects of the pandemic (a “societal version of long COVID”), and various experiences of New York residents in 2020. “You know, as a sociologist, I think of crises as doing for me what a particle accelerator does for a physicist,” Klinenberg stated. “It’s like it speeds up things that are always happening and makes you able to perceive conditions that you otherwise can’t see.”
  • Elizabeth Wrigley-Field (Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota) was quoted in the StarTribune following new research by Wrigley-Field and colleagues that suggests ‘excess deaths’ (the number of deaths over the average expected deaths in a time period) during the pandemic were driven by COVID. “If these excess natural cause deaths had nothing to do with COVID, you would probably see them happening throughout this period, irrespective of when the COVID waves are,” said Wrigley-Field. The research suggests that the death toll from COVID exceeds the official tally. This research was also covered by WebMD, The Guardian, and MPR News.
  • Emine Fidan Elcioglu (Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto) was interviewed by The Trace about her research examining a southwest border militia group that supplied information on migration routes to the U.S. Border Patrol with the goal of decreasing migration. She found that the group’s gun culture bolstered recruitment, morale, and participation. “Guns can become a gateway for people to get involved in other forms — and much more extremist forms — of politics,” Elcioglu stated. “Guns can become sort of a way to pull them in and radicalize them on issues beyond just guns.”
  • Recent calls for a nationwide caste census to collect caste data (last collected in 1931) have sparked controversy in India. In an interview with IndiaSpend, Surinder S. Jodhka (Professor of Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) emphasized that caste is a crucial indicator of social exclusion. “In order to engage with these issues in a democratic society, we need empirical evidence. Unless there are political mobilizations, systems do not open up. It can also fossilise caste identities,” Jodka stated. “The objective of caste census should not be to reinforce caste-based identity or an identity-based imagination of our future. It should be made a part of a narrative around socioeconomic lives. Eventually, the hope is that once there is a level playing field, we can explore transforming identities into citizenship-based social life where everyone feels that they are equal to others. This requires evidence and data.”