With the election of Donald Trump, much has been made about the construction of barriers to entry along the US border with Mexico. But while Trump has placed particular emphasis on the image of a wall designed to limit illegal movement across this border, thousands of workers travel lawfully from cities like Tijuana into the US — and back again — every day. In today’s episode, I talk with Rice University’s Sergio Chávez about his new book Border Lives: Fronterizos, Transnational Migrants, and Commuters in Tijuana, an ethnographic product of many years spent traveling (and waiting to travel) across the border with commuting workers. Dr. Chávez describes the incredible strain that border controls and bureaucracies place on low wage workers, but he also provides a remarkable account of the way that many workers leverage these difficulties into relationships and livelihood strategies. We also explore the implications of his findings for a relatively new approach to the scholarship on immigration, which social scientists call transnationalism.
In his new book, To Care for Creation: the Emergence of the Religious Environmental Movement, Professor Stephen Ellingson explores new — and often localized — environmental activism among mainstream religious groups in the United States. Through interviews with over 60 organizations, he tells the story of how activists overcome the institutional, political, and cultural barriers that have typically prevented religious organizations from investing in environmental causes.
In this episode, host Jack Delehanty speaks with Stanford sociologist Doug McAdam, whose 2014 co-authored book Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Postwar America traces the roots of polarization in today’s politics back to the national struggle over civil rights in the 1960s. In their conversation, Jack and Doug focus particularly on tensions between modern social movements and the interests of party leaders developing in this year’s presidential election. They consider how the ongoing national conversation about racial inequality might be changing how Americans relate to major political parties.
Heading into a new presidential election cycle, we reconnect with 2008 guest Dr Andrew Perrin to talk about changes in the American political public. In his new book, American Democracy: From Tocqueville to Town Halls to Twitter, Perrin brings a uniquely sociological approach to the study of democracy. More than polls, candidates, and institutions he shows how major elections become about the performance of certain “publics” as much as they decide which people should lead us.
Professor Michaela DeSoucey drops in to chat about consumer culture and the many political projects that shape our tastes for cuisine ranging from foie gras to craft beer. She discusses some of the challenges facing ethnographers who study taste, and we also consider how the industrial scale of modern food production may have leveled cultural practices once reserved for the wealthy.
Dr DeSoucey’s forthcoming book is called Contested Tastes: The Politics of Foie Gras in the U.S. and France.
Famed sociologist Michael Burawoy visits to share his thoughts on the common character of social movements happening throughout the world today. Michael is the former president of both the American and International Sociological Associations, and he is widely credited as a master of placing everyday life in the context of global and historical forces. Our own Erik Kojola asks Michael about his vision for the future of social movement research, as well as the mounting problems that face public universities today.
In this episode, political scientist Chad Lavin discusses his new book, Eating Anxiety: The Perils of Food Politics. Chad’s work explores how our experiences with food shape popular ideas about identity, authenticity, and responsibility. He speaks with us about the political meanings of diet in a globalized society, and some limitations of the local food movement. Chad is a professor at Virginia Tech, where he teaches in the political science department and at ASPECT – the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought.
In this episode, we talk with John D. Skrentny, Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) at UC-San Diego. His work focuses on public policy, law and inequality. Today we discuss his recent book After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace.
This week we talk with Lane Kenworthy, Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of Arizona. Lane studies causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, economic growth, and social policy in the United States and other affluent countries, and recently published Social Democratic America, a look at the current state of inequality in the U.S. and what can be done to fix it. We touch on a number of hot policy issues and discuss the role of the sociologist in producing relevant research and writing for public audiences.
This episode we speak with G. William Domhoff. Domhoff is author of sociology bestseller, Who Rules America?, and is co-author, with recent Office Hours guest Richard L. Zweigenhaft, of The New CEOs. Today we’re talking with Domhoff about his most article, Pension Fund Capitalism or Wall Street Bonanza? A Critique of the Claim That Pension Funds Can Influence Corporations.