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Recent Books by Current Faculty and Students
Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America
Marcia J. Carlson and Paula England (eds.) (Stanford University Press, 2011)
"American families are far more diverse and complex today than they were 50 years ago. As ideas about marriage, divorce, and remarriage have changed, so too have our understandings about cohabitation, childbearing, parenting, and the transition to adulthood. Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds have witnessed changes in the nature of family life, but as this book reveals, these changes play out in very different ways for the wealthy or well off than they do for the poor.
Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America offers an up-to-the-moment assessment of the condition of the family in an era of growing inequality. Highlighting unique aspects of family behavior, it reveals the degree to which families' varying experiences are shaped by social class. This book offers a much needed assessment of contemporary family life amid the turbulent economic changes in the United States." -- Stanford University Press
Both Hands Tied: Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom in the Low-Wage Labor
Jane Collins and Victoria Mayer, Ph.D. '07 (University of Chicago Press, 2010)
"Both Hands Tied studies the working poor in the United States, focusing in particular on the relation between welfare and low-wage earnings among working mothers. Grounded in the experience of thirty-three women living in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, it tells the story of their struggle to balance child care and wage-earning in poorly paying and often state-funded jobs with inflexible schedules—and the moments when these jobs failed them and they turned to the state for additional aid." -- University of Chicago Press
Between Law and Diplomacy: The Social Contexts of Disputing at the World Trade Organization
Joseph A. Conti (Stanford University Press, 2011)
"Between Law and Diplomacy crafts an insider's look at international trade disputes at one of the most important institutions in the global economy—the World Trade Organization. The WTO regulates the global rules for trade, and—unique among international organizations—it provides a legalized process for litigation between countries over trade grievances.
Drawing on interviews with trade lawyers, ambassadors, trade delegations, and trade jurists, this book details how trade has become increasingly legalized and the implications of that for power relations between rich and poor countries. Joseph Conti looks closely at who uses the system to initiate and pursue disputes, who settles and on what terms, and the relative disconnect between pursuing a dispute and what a country gains through efforts to gain compliance with WTO dictates. Through this inside look at the process of disputing, Conti provides fresh perspective on how and why the law authorizes the use of specific resources and tactics in the ever unfolding struggle for control in the global economy." -- Stanford University Press
Social Psychology, 7th Edition
John D. DeLamater and Daniel J. Myers (Cengage Learning, 2011)
"This social psychology text, written by well-known sociologists, covers such topics as socialization, self, attitudes, communication, social influence, interpersonal attraction and relationships, behavior in small groups, life course, and personality and social structure. As students move through the text, they will explore answers to a wide variety of questions, such as: What decides who someone will fall in love with? Where do aggressive, violent, and criminal behaviors come from? Why are some people more charitable than others? Why do some people obey authority and conform while others always have to buck the trend? Why are some people lazier when they work in groups? What is the source of people’s stereotypes and prejudices? What causes conflict between groups? And finally, what makes us who we are?" –- Cengage Learning
Understanding Human Sexuality, 11th Edition
Janet Hyde and John DeLamater (McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2011)
"This trusted text examines the biological, psychological, and social science of human sexuality, provides practical information needed for everyday living, and familiarizes students with research methods used in sexuality. The author team features a unique combination of a psychologist and a sociologist, which gives this text a distinct interdisciplinary perspective." -- McGraw Hill
Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives
Laura M. Carpenter and John DeLamater (NYU Press, 2012)
"Sexual beliefs, behaviors and identities are interwoven throughout our lives, from childhood to old age. An edited collection of original empirical contributions united through its use of a distinctive, cutting-edge theoretical framework, Sex for Life critically examines sexuality across the entire lifespan. Rooted in diverse disciplines and employing a wide range of research methods, the chapters explore the sexual and social transitions that typically map to broad life stages, as well as key age-graded physiological transitions, such as puberty and menopause, while drawing on the latest developments in gender, sexuality, and life course studies.
Sex for Life explores a wide variety of topics, including puberty, sexual initiation, coming out, sexual assault, marriage/life partnering, disability onset, immigration, divorce, menopause, and widowhood, always attending to the social locations – including gender, race, ethnicity, and social class – that shape, and are shaped by, sexuality. The empirical work collected in Sex for Life ultimately speaks to important public policy issues, such as sex education, aging societies, and the increasing politicization of scientific research. Accessibly written, the contributions capture the interplay between individual lives and the ever-changing social-historical context, facilitating new insight not only into people's sexual lives, but also into ways of studying them, ultimately providing a fresh, new perspective on sexuality." -- NYU Press
"Racial Domination, Racial Progress: The Sociology of Race in America looks at race in a clear and accessible way, allowing students to understand how racial domination and progress work in all aspects of society. Examining how race is not a matter of separate entities but of systems of social relations, this text unpacks how race works in the political, economic, residential, legal, educational, aesthetic, associational, and intimate fields of social life. Racial Domination, Racial Progress is a work of uncompromising intersectionality, which refuses to artificially separate race and ethnicity from class and gender, while, at the same time, never losing sight of race as its primary focus. The authors seek to connect with their readers in a way that combines disciplined reasoning with a sense of engagement and passion, conveying sophisticated ideas in a clear and compelling fashion." –- McGraw Hill
Ruling Oneself Out: A Theory of Collective Abdication
Ivan Ermakoff (Duke University Press, 2008)
"What induces groups to commit political suicide? This book explores the decisions to surrender power and to legitimate this surrender: collective abdications. Commonsensical explanations impute such actions to coercive pressures, actors' miscalculations, or their contamination by ideologies at odds with group interests. Ivan Ermakoff argues that these explanations are either incomplete or misleading. Focusing on two paradigmatic cases of voluntary and unconditional surrender of power—the passing of an enabling bill granting Hitler the right to amend the Weimar constitution without parliamentary supervision (March 1933), and the transfer of full executive, legislative, and constitutional powers to Marshal Pétain (Vichy, France, July 1940)—Ruling Oneself Out recasts abdication as the outcome of a process of collective alignment." –- Duke University Press
Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective
Myra Marx Ferree (Stanford University Press, 2012)
"Varieties of Feminism investigates the development of German feminism by contrasting it with women's movements that arise in countries, like the United States, committed to liberalism. With both conservative Christian and social democratic principles framing the feminist discourses and movement goals, which in turn shape public policy gains, Germany provides a tantalizing case study of gender politics done differently.
The German feminist trajectory reflects new political opportunities created first by national reunification and later, by European Union integration, as well as by historically established assumptions about social justice, family values, and state responsibility for the common good. Tracing the opportunities, constraints, and conflicts generated by using class struggle as the framework for gender mobilization—juxtaposing this with the liberal tradition where gender and race are more typically framed as similar—Ferree reveals how German feminists developed strategies and movement priorities quite different from those in the United States." -- Stanford University Press
Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen's Bureau to Workfare
Chad Goldberg (University of Chicago Press, 2008)
"There was a time when America’s poor faced a stark choice between access to social welfare and full civil rights—a predicament that forced them to forfeit their citizenship in exchange for economic relief. Over time, however, our welfare system improved dramatically. But as Chad Alan Goldberg here demonstrates, its legacy of disenfranchisement persisted. Indeed, from Reconstruction onward, welfare policies have remained a flashpoint for recurring struggles over the boundaries of citizenship." –- University of Chicago Press
The Logic of Fragmentation: An Ecological Analysis of the Chinese Legal Services Market (in Chinese)
Sida Liu (Shanghai Joint Publishing Co., 2011)
"This book is based on my 7-year Ph.D. research at the University of Chicago and I believe it is by far the most comprehensive study on the Chinese legal services market during the three decades of China's legal reform (1979-2009). The research includes more than 250 interviews with law practitioners and government officials in 12 provinces of China during 2004-2007, as well as online ethnography and archival research." -- Sida Liu
Service Work: Critical Perspectives
Cameron Macdonald and Marek Korczynski (Routledge, 2008)
"Everyday, we are bombarded with advertising images of the smiling service worker. The book is written with the aim of focusing beneath the surface of these fairy tale images, to seek out and understand the reality of service workers' experience. Within the sociology of work and related literatures, there are an increasing number of empirical studies of different types of service work, but there has been little progress in attempts to theorize the nature of service work, per se. This book fills this gap by bringing together major scholars from the US and UK who use a range of critical perspectives to explore key elements in the organization and experience of contemporary service work. It will make an invaluable secondary text for advanced undergraduates and graduates studying courses/modules such as sociology of work, industrial sociology, social theory and work, organization studies, and organizational theory." -- Routledge
Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering
Cameron Macdonald (University of California Press, 2011)
"Shadow Mothers shines new light on an aspect of contemporary motherhood often hidden from view: the need for paid childcare by women returning to the workforce, and the complex bonds mothers forge with the "shadow mothers" they hire. Cameron Lynne Macdonald illuminates both sides of an unequal and complicated relationship. Based on in-depth interviews with professional women and childcare providers— immigrant and American-born nannies as well as European au pairs—Shadow Mothers locates the roots of individual skirmishes between mothers and their childcare providers in broader cultural and social tensions. Macdonald argues that these conflicts arise from unrealistic ideals about mothering and inflexible career paths and work schedules, as well as from the devaluation of paid care work." -- University of California Press
Beyond the Boycott: Labor Rights, Human Rights and Transnational Activism
Gay Seidman (Russell Sage, 2009)
"As the world economy becomes increasingly integrated, companies can shift production to wherever wages are lowest and unions weakest. How can workers defend their rights in an era of mobile capital? With national governments forced to compete for foreign investment by rolling back legal protections for workers, fair trade advocates are enlisting consumers to put market pressure on companies to treat their workers fairly. In Beyond the Boycott, sociologist Gay Seidman asks whether this non-governmental approach can reverse the "race to the bottom" in global labor standards." –- Russell Sage Foundation
The Sociology of Harry Potter: 22 Enchanting Essays on the Wizarding World
Jenn Sims (ed.) (Zossima Press, 2012)
"Philosophers and psychologists have explored the Harry Potter stories through the lenses of their disciplines, now it's time for sociologists. In the twenty-two chapters of The Sociology of Harry Potter, social scientists from eight countries cast their imaginations on the wizarding world. From standard topics such as inequality and identity to more contemporary topics such as technology and trauma memory, this essay collection analyzes, not J. K. Rowling's books as fiction, but her wizarding world as a "real" society. The Hogwarts house system, Quidditch, internet fan fiction and the lives of our favorite witches and wizards are explored in reference to sociological theories and concepts. Fans of these bestselling books will gain insights into the world of Harry Potter as well as sociology. Sociologists and their students will be intrigued to see everyday tools of the trade working magic in another universe." -- Zossima Press
Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor
Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers. Volume 6 in The Real Utopias Project, Erik Olin Wright (series editor) (Verso Books, 2009)
"In the labor market and workplace, anti-discrimination rules, affirmative action policies, and pay equity procedures exercise a direct effect on gender relations. But what can be done to influence the ways that men and women allocate tasks and responsibilities at home? In Gender Equality, Volume VI in the Real Utopias series, social scientists Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers propose a set of policies—paid family leave provisions, working time regulations, and early childhood education and care—designed to foster more egalitarian family divisions of labor by strengthening men's ties at home and women’s attachment to paid work." -– Verso Books
Envisioning Real Utopias
Erik Olin Wright. Volume 7 in The Real Utopias Project, Erik Olin Wright (series editor) (Verso Books, 2010)
"Erik Olin Wright's Envisioning Real Utopias is a comprehensive assault on the quietism of contemporary social theory. Building on a lifetime's work analyzing the class system in the developed world, as well as exploring the problem of the transition to a socialist alternative, Wright has now completed a systematic reconstruction of the core values and feasible goals for Left theorists and political actors." –- Verso Books
"In American Society: How It Really Works, Erik Olin Wright and Joel Rogers ask several crucial questions: What kind of society is American society? How does it really work? Why is it the way it is? In what ways does it need changing, and how can those changes be brought about?
They explore the implications of these questions by examining five key values that most Americans believe our society should realize: Freedom, Prosperity, Efficiency, Fairness, and Democracy. Wright and Rogers ask readers to evaluate to what degree contemporary American society realizes these values and suggest how Americans might solve some of the social problems that confront America today." -- W.W. Norton
The Racial Order
Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Matthew Desmond (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming.)
Recent Books from UW dissertations and theses
Some former Wisconsin graduate students have transformed their master's thesis or dissertation work into published books. We're proud that their work here will be seen by a wider audience.
"In the past decade, hundreds of thousands of women from poorer countries have braved treacherous journeys to richer countries to work as poorly paid domestic workers. Scholars and activists denounce compromised forms of citizenship that expose these women to at times shocking exploitation and abuse.
In From Servants to Workers, Shireen Ally asks whether the low wages and poor working conditions so characteristic of migrant domestic work can truly be resolved by means of the extension of citizenship rights. Following South Africa's "miraculous" transition to democracy, more than a million poor black women who had endured a despotic organization of paid domestic work under apartheid became the beneficiaries of one of the world's most impressive and extensive efforts to formalize and modernize paid domestic work through state regulation. Instead of undergoing a dramatic transformation, servitude relations stubbornly resisted change. Ally locates an explanation for this in the tension between the forms of power deployed by the state in its efforts to protect workers, on the one hand, and the forms of power workers recover through the intimate nature of their work, on the other.
Listening attentively to workers' own narrations of their entry into democratic citizenship-rights, Ally explores the political implications of paid domestic work as an intimate form of labor. From Servants to Workers integrates sociological insights with the often-heartbreaking life histories of female domestic workers in South Africa and provides rich detail of the streets, homes, and churches of Johannesburg where these women work, live, and socialize." -- Cornell University Press
"In this rugged account of a rugged profession, Matthew Desmond explores the heart and soul of the wildland firefighter. Having joined a firecrew in Northern Arizona as a young man, Desmond relates his experiences with intimate knowledge and native ease, adroitly balancing emotion with analysis and action with insight. On the Fireline shows that these firefighters aren't the adrenaline junkies or romantic heroes as they're so often portrayed." -– University of Chicago Press
"Everyone knows that work in America is not what it used to be. Layoffs, outsourcing, contingent work, disappearing career ladders—these are the new workplace realities for an increasing number of people. But why? In The Temp Economy, Erin Hatton takes one of the best-known icons of the new economy—the temp industry—and finds that it is more than just a symbol of this degradation of work. The temp industry itself played an active role in this decline—and not just for temps. Industry leaders started by inventing the "Kelly Girl," exploiting 1950s gender stereotypes to justify low wages, minimal benefits, and chronic job insecurity. But they did not stop with Kelly Girls. From selling human "business machines" in the 1970s to "permatemps" in the 1990s, the temp industry relentlessly portrayed workers as profit-busting liabilities that hurt companies' bottom lines even in boom times. These campaigns not only legitimized the widespread use of temps, they also laid the cultural groundwork for a new corporate ethos of ruthless cost cutting and mass layoffs.
Succinct, highly readable, and drawn from a vast historical record of industry documents, The Temp Economy is a one-stop resource for anyone interested in the temp industry or the degradation of work in postwar America." -- Temple University Press
"In Privilege, Shamus Khan returns to his alma mater to provide an inside look at an institution that has been the private realm of the elite for the past 150 years. He shows that St. Paul's students continue to learn what they always have--how to embody privilege. Yet, while students once leveraged the trappings of upper-class entitlement, family connections, and high culture, current St. Paul's students learn to succeed in a more diverse environment. To be the future leaders of a more democratic world, they must be at ease with everything from highbrow art to everyday life--from Beowulf to Jaws--and view hierarchies as ladders to scale. Through deft portrayals of the relationships among students, faculty, and staff, Khan shows how members of the new elite face the opening of society while still preserving the advantages that allow them to rule." -- Princeton University Press
"Genetic engineering has a wide range of cultural, economic, and ethical implications, yet it has become almost an article of faith that regulatory decisions about biotechnology be based only on evidence of specific quantifiable risks; to consider anything else is said to "politicize" regulation. In this study of social protest against genetically engineered food, Abby Kinchy turns the conventional argument on its head. Rather than consider politicization of the regulatory system, she takes a close look at the scientization of public debate about the "contamination" of crops resulting from pollen drift and seed mixing. Advocates of alternative agriculture confront the scientization of this debate by calling on international experts, carrying out their own research, questioning regulatory science in court, building alternative markets, and demanding that their governments consider the social and economic impacts of the new technologies.
Kinchy focuses on social conflicts over canola in Canada and maize in Mexico, drawing out their linkages to the global food system and international environmental governance. The book ultimately demonstrates the shortcomings of dominant models of scientific risk governance, which marginalize alternative visions of rural livelihoods and sustainable food production." -- The MIT Press
"Satanic Mills or Silicon Islands? challenges the myth of globalization's homogenizing power, arguing that the uniqueness of place is becoming more, not less important. Steven McKay documents how multinational firms secure worker control and consent by reaching beyond the high-tech factory and into local labor markets. He also traces the rise of a new breed of privatized export processing zones, revealing the state's—in these cases, the Philippines—revamped role in the wider politics of global production. Finally, McKay gives voice to the women workers themselves, as they find meaning, identity, and agency on and beyond the "new" shop floor.
This book deftly weaves together three critical strands of global studies: Southeast Asia as a key site of global production, the organization of work in advanced electronics, and working-class conditions under globalization. Drawing on the author's rich analysis of four multinational electronics firms—from their boardrooms to boarding houses—Satanic Mills or Silicon Islands? makes a unique contribution to the study of work, labor, and high-tech production." -- Cornell University Press
"Kris Paap worked for nearly three years as a carpenter’s apprentice on a variety of job sites, closely observing her colleagues’ habits, expressions, and attitudes. As a woman in an overwhelmingly male—and stereotypically "macho"—profession, Paap uses her experiences to reveal the ways that gender, class, and race interact in the construction industry. She shows how the stereotypes of construction workers and their overt displays of sexism, racism, physical strength, and homophobia are not "just how they are," but rather culturally and structurally mandated enactments of what it means to be a man—and a worker—in America." –- Cornell University Press
"The product of an innovative field experiment, Marked gives us our first real glimpse into the tremendous difficulties facing ex-offenders in the job market. Devah Pager matched up pairs of young men, randomly assigned them criminal records, then sent them on hundreds of real job searches throughout the city of Milwaukee. Her applicants were attractive, articulate, and capable—yet ex-offenders received less than half the callbacks of the equally qualified applicants without criminal backgrounds. Young black men, meanwhile, paid a particularly high price: those with clean records fared no better in their job searches than white men just out of prison. Such shocking barriers to legitimate work, Pager contends, are an important reason that many ex-prisoners soon find themselves back in the realm of poverty, underground employment, and crime that led them to prison in the first place." –- University of Chicago Press
"Changes in the global economy have real and contradictory outcomes for the everyday lives of women workers. In 2001, Nancy Plankey-Videla had a rare opportunity to witness these effects firsthand. Having secured access to one of Latin America's top producers of high-end men's suits in Mexico for participant-observer research, she labored as a machine operator for nine months on a shop floor made up, mostly, of women. The firm had recently transformed itself from traditional assembly techniques, to lean, cutting-edge, Japanese-style production methods. Lured initially into the firm by way of increased wages and benefits, workers had helped shoulder the company's increasing debts. When the company's plan for successful expansion went awry and it reneged on promises it had made to the workforce, women workers responded by walking out on strike.
Building upon in-depth interviews with over sixty workers, managers, and policy makers, Plankey-Videla documents and analyzes events leading up to the female-led factory strike and its aftermath—including harassment from managers, corrupt union officials and labor authorities, and violent governor-sanctioned police actions. We Are in This Dance Together illustrates how the women's shared identity as workers and mothers—deserving of dignity, respect, and a living wage—became the basis for radicalization and led to further civic organizing against the state, the company, and the corrupt union to demand justice." -- Rutgers University Press
"This book inquires into the relations between society and its natural environment by examining the historical discourse around several cases of state building in the American West-the construction of three high dams from 1928 to 1963." -- Routledge
"Sexual harassment, in particular in the workplace, is a controversial topic which often makes headline news. What accounts for the cross-national variation in laws, employer policies, and implementation of policies dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace? Why was the United States on the forefront of policy and legal solutions, and how did this affect politicization of sexual harassment in the European Union and its member states? Exploring the way sexual harassment has become a global issue, Kathrin Zippel draws on theories of comparative feminist policy, gender and welfare state regimes, and social movements to explore the distinct paths that the United States, the European Union and its member states, specifically Germany, have embarked on to address the issue. This comparison provides invaluable insights on the role of transnational movements in combatting sexual harassment, and on future efforts to implement the European Union Directive of 2002." -– Cambridge University Press