Now in its second edition, Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture goes beyond the news-grabbing headlines claiming that popular culture is public enemy number one to consider what really causes the social problems we are most concerned about. The sobering fact is that a "media made them do it" explanation fails to illuminate the roots of social problems like poverty, violence, and environmental degradation. Sternheimer's analysis deftly illustrates how welfare "reform," a two-tiered health care system, and other difficult systemic issues have far more to do with our contemporary social problems than Grand Theft Auto or Facebook. The fully-revised new edition features recent moral panics (think sexting and cyberbullying) and an entirely new chapter exploring social media. Expanded discussion of how we understand society's problems as social constructions without disregarding empirical evidence, as well as the cultural and structural issues underlying those ills, allows students to stretch their sociological imaginations.
Routledge Handbook of Celebrity Studies, edited by acclaimed social theorist Anthony Elliott, offers a remarkably clear overview of the analysis of celebrity in the social sciences and humanities, and in so doing seeks to develop a new agenda for celebrity studies. The key theories of celebrity, ranging from classical sociological accounts to critical theory, and from media studies to postmodern approaches, are drawn together and critically appraised. There are substantive chapters looking at fame, renown and celebrity in terms of the media industries, pop music, the makeover industries, soap stars, fans and fandom as well as the rise of non-Western forms of celebrity. The Handbook also explores in detail the institutional aspects of celebrity, and especially new forms of mediated action and interaction. From Web 3.0 to social media, the culture of celebrity is fast redefining the public political sphere.
Throughout this volume, there is a strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity with chapters covering sociology, cultural studies, psychology, politics and history. Written in a clear and direct style, this handbook will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience. The extensive references and sources will direct students to areas of further study.
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.
Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 editionThe original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.