The latest issue of Contexts (Winter 2015) is now in my hands in all its glossy, heavy-papered goodness. It’s the first issue with the new editorial team, led by Editors-in-Chief Syed Ali and Philip Cohen and Managing Editor Letta Page. A couple words about this issue’s Trends section.
This summer, I asked my friend, Penn State grad school buddy, and First Team All-Sociology researcher, Ed Walker, for some suggestions for people who were doing work that might be a good fit for the Trends section. The top name on his list was Chris Rea, a Ph.D. student at UCLA. “Commodifying Conservation,” the piece Chris wrote for us, is a fascinating story about the remarkable growth of for-profit conservation banks in California. If “for-profit conservation banks” sounds dry, think again. It’s a story about sustainability and how we put pricetags on nature. It’s a story that avoids simplistic narratives about evil corporations eating up nature and shows us how the market and the state have deeply interwoven interests. And it’s a story about neoliberalism — a word I wouldn’t let Chris use (but more on that in an upcoming podcast). It’s a great article and Chris is a guy worth keeping an eye on.
The other article in the section, “What happened to the ‘war on women’?”, is by Deana Rohlinger. When I agreed to edit the Trends section, I had a short list of people I knew I wanted to have write something for Contexts. Deana was near the top of the list. Like my own work, Deana’s research is located in the space between politics and mass media. She also tackles research questions with a range of methodological tools, combining quantitative and qualitative work. But most importantly, I knew Deana to be a very strong writer, capable of telling a good story. We find that in her contribution to this issue of Contexts. She tells a compelling story about how both Democrats and Republicans develop competing media strategies in an effort to rally their bases, but also to win over women voters. For Republicans, who have stood in steadfast opposition to women’s abortion rights, supporting birth control has become an attractive option. But the “unfortunate comments” of several members of the GOP threw a wrench into their ability to reach out to women and gave the Dems a new political tool. But don’t take my word for it. Check out Deana’s Contexts article as well as her new book from Cambridge Press, Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America. In an upcoming podcast that I’m working on with Skidmore College undergraduate, Maya Obstfeld, we talk to Deana about politics, her work, and writing.
For the Spring 2015 issue of Contexts, we have a very special marriage and family edition of Trends. We’ll have articles about different experiences of stay-at-home fatherhood and about the dramatically changing patterns of marriage and remarriage in Korea.