Edward Walker talks about his Spring 2010 feature Industry-driven activism. Topics include the role of industry in shaping the health care debate and the state of social movements in the age of the internet and astroturfing.

Download episode #40 now!

Hilary Levey talks to Jesse and Arturo about her Spring 2010 Contexts feature, Balloon Boy Plus Ei8ht? Children and Reality Television.

Download episode #39 now!

Also: check out Levey’s editorial in USA Today on the topic of Reality TV kids.

And if you don’t watch as much television as you know you should (it’s ok—we don’t judge), here are a few clips referenced in the interview:

Jon & Kate Plus 8

Cute Kids. (TLC disabled embedding).

The Breakup:

Kid Nation

NYC Prep

This episode, Jon talks with fellow U of M sociology grad students Arturo, Shannon and Wes about the Contexts Bestsellers Project. Topics include the challenges of measuring book sales, the public perception of sociology, and how books compare with other media.

Download episode #38 now!

Do schools reproduce or challenge inequality? And how can we know one way or another? Douglas Downey calls into the Contexts Podcast to help us answer these questions. Be sure to check out Downey’s Spring 2010 Contexts feature How Schools Really Matter!

Also: Jon shares a discovery about gender and software development from last month’s JITP conference on The Politics of Open Source by Hanna Wallach and the FLOSSPOLS project.

Download episode #37 now!

Syed Ali talks with Jon about his Spring 2010 Contexts feature about Dubai, Permanent Impermanence. (Which you can read online for free, by the way.) What’s it like in a country where over 90% of the population are expatriates? What’s it like to do research in such a place? Listen in and find out!

Also Sarah shares a discovery: Morality and Health: News Media Constructions of Overweight and Eating Disorders

Download episode #36 now!

Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle sit down with Jesse to chat about their graphic adaptation of Studs Terkel’s Working and about the sociological side of Studs, and also Harvey’s, work.

Arturo also shares a discovery about gender and the health benefits of education.

Download episode #35 now!

Doug McAdam chats with Jesse about why Freedom Summer was a transformative experience for those involved and why other youth activism efforts, such as Teach for America, tend to not be as transformative.

But first, Sarah shares a discovery about how incarceration shapes racial identity.

Download episode #34 now!

This week’s guest is Deborah Carr, Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, and the Trends Editor for Contexts. First, Jesse and Sarah talk with Dr. Carr about how she identifies and writes about social trends, then we broadcast part of a recent lecture Dr. Carr gave on end of life decision making.

But before this double feature, Arturo shares a discovery about healthcare! One correction: Arturo forgets to identify the article by name (and Jon forgets to ask him)! The article is called Similar Pressures, Different Contexts: Public Attitudes toward Government Intervention in Health Care for 21 Nations, by Saeko Kikuzawa, Sigrun Olafsdottir, and Bernice A. Pescosolido. Sorry about that!

(Apologies also for the humming sound in the background during Carr’s talk. We couldn’t remove it without also making Professor Carr sound like an alien, which we decided was a bad idea.)

Download episode #33 now!

This episode we sit down with Walt Jacobs to discuss his Winter 2010 Contexts feature 30 Years of Black Presidents. During the interview, Walt and Sarah listen in on comic sketches by Richard Pryor and Dave Chapelle. If you prefer your audio/visual materials to include video as well as audio, you can watch the clips below!

But first, we have a discovery on segregation and crime presented by Arturo!

Download episode #32 now!

Videos in the Podcast

John Mayer skit from Tom on Vimeo.

Videos Discussed in the Article

This week’s guest is Stephen Scanlan, author of the Winter 2010 Contexts feature, The Scarcity Fallacy. We discuss the problems with existing food aid practices, the root causes of world hunger and what can be done to eliminate it.

Also, Jon shares a discovery on the downsides of flexible work, at least in some occupations.

Download episode #30 now!