August 16, 2012

About the Everyday Sociology Blog

What if sociologists ran the world?

Okay, that’s probably not going to happen any time soon, but what if they commented on everything from politics, religion, race, and inequality to pop culture on a colorful, fun, website?

That’s more like it.

Welcome to, a site that features interesting, informative, and most of all entertaining commentary from sociologists around the United States. Come to this site regularly to get a sociological take on what is happening in the news (and on what should be in the news).

Although this site was created primarily for people taking or teaching classes in sociology, we are all really students of sociology, aren’t we? Whether we know it or not, we all generate ideas about social groups, about why things happen and about what should be done to address some of the challenges our society faces (like terrorism, health care and education). Issues like war and peace, gay rights, and what is on the news are things that many people try and make sense of.

We are trying to figure this stuff out too, and the many tools that sociology offers will help us to do so. These tools are not magic wands or secret codes—in fact, we want to share them with you to so we can all have a deeper and richer understanding of the world around us.

So here’s what you can expect from this site:

  1. We promise to stay on top of current events and be as relevant as people over 25 with Ph.D.s possibly can be.
  2. We will avoid using jargon and terms that you actually need a Ph.D. to understand (although personally I think even people with Ph.D.s sometimes just pretend to understand).
  3. And most of all, we will keep things interesting—all of the posts on this site will pass the “so what?” test that some academic research frankly does not.

Sociology is a very diverse field, and our contributors have a wide variety of interests. You will see discussions of inequality, immigration, mental health, race, religion, gender, and other topics from a wide variety of perspectives. To bring in fresh ideas, we will also periodically have guest contributors.

And we will do more than lecture you. Even though most of us are professors who teach regularly, this site will be more of a conversation than a class. Okay, there might be some charts and graphs occasionally, but we promise there won’t be a test. We are going to do our best to help these ideas come to life through pictures and streaming video. We also might write a little about our lives to bring some of the basics of sociology to life, but we promise—no endless blog rambling about what we had for dinner or random thoughts about why the cat hates the guy who lives next door.

You might be wondering—where do you fit in with all this? What about what you think? This site will present a variety of ideas and viewpoints, and you may not agree with some of them. That’s okay. In fact, sometimes we might purposefully play devil’s advocate.

We invite you to join in the sociological conversation. Remember, the point of this site is to learn more about how sociology helps us understand everyday life, not to vent! Quality control is really important to us, so you can be sure when you visit you won’t have to sift through a lot of junk.

So, welcome! We invite you to visit regularly and share your sociological imagination with the world.

Karen Sternheimer



About the Authors

Headshot 002 Karen Sternheimer
Lead Writer & Editor
Karen Sternheimer teaches in the sociology department at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses primarily on youth and popular culture and she is currently writing a book on celebrity culture. Her commentary has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and the San Jose Mercury News. She has appeared on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC, The History Channel, and numerous radio programs. Editor of the Everyday Sociology Reader (W.W. Norton, 2010) and Childhood in American Society: A Reader (Allyn & Bacon, 2009), she is also the author of Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Social Mobility (Routledge, 2011), Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is not the Answer (Westview, 2009), Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions about Today’s Youth (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006) and It’s Not the Media: The Truth about Pop Culture’s Influence on Children (Westview, 2003). Among her hidden talents are coupon clipping and finding end-runs around LA area traffic.

New sally 1 Sally Raskoff
Sally Raskoff has been employed as a sociologist since the mid 1980s and is currently the Chair of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at Los Angeles Valley College. She has always been a technology nerd, but she has taken up weaving to balance her experiences and truly understand what the Luddites were talking about. Her broad interests in sociology and in life include sex/gender, race/ethnicity, social class, statistics, theory, methods, consumerism, and civic engagement. 

Peter_Kaufman_Bio_PicPeter Kaufman
Peter Kaufman
has been teaching sociology at the State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz since 1999. He received his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and his B.A. from Earlham College. He regularly teaches introduction to sociology, sociological theory, education and society, social interaction, social change, and sociology of sport. When he is not teaching, and not injured, he is an avid cyclist and swimmer. He is also the drummer in an all-faculty punk-rock cover band named Questionable Authorities. His motto for teaching and learning (and life) comes from Shunryu Suzuki’s classic book on Zen Buddhism, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

Teresa_Gonzales_Bio_PicTeresa Irene Gonzales
A native of Mexican-Chicago, Teresa Irene Gonzales is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Knox College. She received her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley and her B.A. from Smith College. Her research centers on the intersection of organizational ecology, urban studies, and community development within the United States. In other words, she studies why things are built where and who gets to decide on it. She believes in community-engaged pedagogy and scholarship, and strives towards a practice of reciprocity in research. She is still surprised that people pay her to read and write.

Past Contributors

Janis A. Prince Inniss
Janis Prince Inniss, Ph.D., M.M.F.T, is on the faculty of the University of South Florida (USF) online in-service training program for children’s mental health and that of Saint Leo University. Her work appears in The Politics of Black Women's Hair and the Everyday Sociology Reader. She is lead author of Serving Everyone at the Table: Strategies for Enhancing the Availability of Culturally Competent Mental Health Services, which examines the accessibility of mental health services for racially/ethnically diverse children and their families. Dr. Prince Inniss is tickled that she found a way to turn her childhood penchant for asking "why" into a legitimate means of employment. She is interested in the ways that people communicate, love in families, global ideas about race and ethnicity, and in seeing the underdog thrive.

Jonathan Wynn
Jonathan Wynn works at the intersection of urban and cultural sociology, and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He wrote The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York,(2011, University of Chicago Press) and his second book is called Music City: Festivals and Culture in Great American Cities (under contract, University of Chicago Press). His work has been published in City & Community, Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Forum, Contexts Magazine, and Ethnography. Jonathan Wynn is also the co-editor of the ASA Culture Section Newsletter.

Todd Schoeplflin
Todd Schoepflin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Niagara University.  He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Stony Brook University in 2004.  His research and teaching interests include qualitative methods, race and ethnicity, social psychology, media, and the scholarship of teaching sociology.  His main loves in life are family, baseball, and sociology.  His favorite albums are Revolver (The Beatles) and Kind of Blue (Miles Davis).

C.N. Le
C.N. Le is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department and Director of the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University at Albany, SUNY.  His research focuses generally on race/ethnicity and immigration and specifically on analyzing socioeconomic measures of assimilation among Asian Americans. Most of the time, he strives to find a sense of balance between competing forces —liberal vs. conservative, objective vs. subjective, etc. He also lives by the credo: "I don't know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Bradley R.E. Wright
Bradley Wright is an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, where he teaches social psychology and religion. He is a Christian, a husband, and a father, and he adores goofing around. His hobbies include photography, hang gliding, landscaping, and eating ice cream (listed in roughly ascending order of competence).

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