This week we talk with Eric Klinenberg about his new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Also be sure to check out Klinenberg’s New York Times article, One’s a Crowd.

Download Office Hours #45

This week we talk with Elijah Anderson, author of The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. With urban ethnographies like Streetwise, A Place on the Corner, and Code of the Street, Anderson has captured the racial micropolitics that occurs in everyday urban life, highlighting the subtle rules and norms that guide interaction between whites, African Americans, and members of other ethnic groups. In his new book, Anderson returns to familiar territory, though this time he calls attention to parts of the city where more inclusive street behaviors are taking form. “Cosmopolitan canopies” are unique urban spaces that have a street culture that celebrates civility and mutual respect for difference, and Anderson argues they contribute to a broader cultural acceptance around race and diversity.

Sorry, we had to remove this episode. Watch this post for a replacement in the future.

This week we talk about meth, Iowa and the dystopia of modern  young adulthood, with Maria Kefalas from St. Joseph’s University.

Our discussion is centered on Dr. Kefala’s recent book review in Contexts on Nick Redding’s Methland: the Life and Death of an America Small Town. Because the content of Redding’s book pairs well with  Kefala’s own fieldwork in Iowa,  we discuss the premise that social  problems like the use of meth in rural America are really the “symptoms” of the gradual decline these communities have been experiencing in the wake of de-industrialization.   Moreover, while issues of crime and drugs tend to be understood as urban issues, Kefalas argues that rural America is experiencing its own decline in term of the opportunities it can offer young people. We conclude with Kefala’s suggestion that we “re-imagine” young adulthood and the types of educational and training opportunities made available to young people in the new global economy.

We also discuss our latest podcast, New Books in Sociology, a joint venture between us here at The Society Pages and the New Books Network.

Download Office Hours #22

This week we talk with Dan Winchester co-author of a feature piece in the 2010 fall edition of Contexts, on the sociological study of morality– aptly called The good, the bad and the social.” In the interview we first talk to Dan about how a sociology of morality can contribute to recent neurological and biological studies on the topic. We also discuss how sociologists since Durkheim to Goffman have long considered morality as a crucial mechanism to how societies and communities form and stick together. In closing we discuss how sociologist go about studying such controversial issue and how, and if, sociologist can really suspend their own believes about what is right and wrong to objectively study how morals are constructed and followed.

So stick and around and listen to this podcast–it’s the right thing to do.

Download Office Hours #18

This episode we talk with Janet Hankin, co-editor of the special issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, “What Do We Know? Key Findings from 50 Years of Medical Sociology”. We discuss the contributions and insights sociologists have made in the areas of health, illness, and the medical establishment. Topics include the transformation of the health care system in the United States over the past 50 years, and the distinction between the sociology in medicine and the sociology of medicine.

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This episode we take a break from talking to all of these sociologists and talk to a psychologist instead: Thomas Bouchard, Director of the Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research. Bouchard is a strong advocate of bridging the biological and social sciences (ahem, behavioral sciences), and is a strong critic of sociology’s traditional failure to participate in this effort. Given the recent AJS Special Issue on genetics and social structure, as well as our Summer 2009 feature on the topic, we thought it’d be fun to share some of this work with Bouchard and sit down to hear his thoughts on genetics, science and the relationship between psychology and sociology.

Also, Shannon Golden shares a discovery on the religiosity of American professors.

If you haven’t taken the survey yet, please do! You can find it at!

Download episode #22 now!

Michael Goldman and Wes Longhofer drop by to talk about their Winter 2009 Contexts feature, Making World Cities. Michael and Wes have spent extensive time in Bangalore, India studying the effects of globalization on Indian cities. Listen in as they explain the complications, contradictions and paradoxes of cities in this global age.

Also, Jesse shares a discovery about the narrowing gender gap in drunk driving arrests from Criminology.

Download episode #11 now!

Our web editor, Jon Smajda, interviews Jose Marichal, professor of political science at California Lutheran University and blogger in chief at ThickCulture, a blog about politics, culture and technology. Jose describes how he uses blogging to enhance both his teaching and research, and discusses how Web 2.0 technologies like blogging and podcasting can contribute to a multidisciplinary social science.

Download episode #4 now!

This week, we turn again to our Fall 2008 Discoveries for a set of technology-themed discoveries. Next, we chat with Francesca Polletta about her article in our Fall issue, Storytelling in Politics. In particular, we talk about when and why political storytelling is effective and we get Polletta’s take on storytelling in the 2008 election. The failure of Joe the Plumber, she argues, represents the end of the “little anecdote” and a new appreciation that the best political stories are often sophisticated and nuanced.

Download episode #3 now!

We’ll be back in a few weeks after the new year. Happy Holidays!