Disciplinary Futures: Sociology in Conversation with American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies

Kim, Nadia Y. and Pawan Dhingra. 2023. Disciplinary Futures: Sociology in Conversation with American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. NYU Press.
disciplinary futures
There is a growing consensus that the discipline of sociology and the social sciences broadly need to engage more thoroughly with the legacy and the present day of colonialism, Indigenous/settler colonialism, imperialism, and racial capitalism in the United States and globally. In Disciplinary Futures, a cross-section of scholars comes together to engage sociology and the social sciences by way of these paradigms, particularly from the influence of disciplines of American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. With original essays from scholars such as Yến Lê Espiritu, Sunaina Maira, Hōkūlani K. Aikau, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Ben Carrington, Yvonne Sherwood, and Gilda L. Ochoa, among others, Disciplinary Futures offers concrete pathways for how the social sciences can expand from the limiting frameworks they traditionally use to study race and racism, namely: the black-white binary, the privileging of the nation-state, the fixation on the US mainland, the underappreciation of post- and settler-colonial studies, the liberal assumptions, and the limited conception of what constitutes data. In turn, the contributors reveal that sociology has many useful questions, methodologies, and approaches to offer scholars of American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. Disciplinary Futures is an important work, one which renders these disciplines more intellectually expansive and thus better able to tackle urgent issues of injustice.

Union Booms and Busts: The Ongoing Fight Over the U.S. Labor Movement

Stepan-Norris, Judith and Jasmine Kerrisse. 2023. Union Booms and Busts: The Ongoing Fight Over the U.S. Labor Movement. Oxford University Press.
union booms and busts
The book is a comparative and historical analysis of the factors that helped or hindered workers in their attempts to build unions in the U.S.’s 11 basic industries, 1900-2015. For each industry, we analyze shifts in union power (union density), as affected by the state and macro context, replacement costs of workers, union and employer strategies, and the impact of employment, race, gender, and occupation.   Ultimately, we aim to reveal the lessons that these struggles may offer to today’s labor movement.  We invite you to make use of our publicly available data repository for your own research. The data that we collected includes industry-level information on union membership and density, strikes, elections, unfair labor practices, employment size, race, gender, and occupation of workers, and more.   If you want to purchase the book, the 30% discount code from Oxford is ASFLYQ6. Or you could ask your library to purchase it (instructions here). The first chapter is available here.

Blumer, Weber, Peirce, and the Big Tent of Semiotic Sociology: Notes on Interactionism, Interpretivism, and Semiotics

Bakker, J.I. 2023. “Blumer, Weber, Peirce, and the Big Tent of Semiotic Sociology: Notes on Interactionism, Interpretivism, and Semiotics.” Chapter in Fontdevila, Jorge and Andrea Cossu eds, Interpretive Sociology and the Semiotic Imagination. Bristol University Press, 2023. Project MUSE muse.jhu.edu/book/112239. This chapter proposes to refine the symbolic interactionist project by incorporating Peircean semiotics and neo-​ Weberian interpretation. Symbolic interactionism appears to have forgotten key sources of its American pragmatist roots. Peirce’s indirect influence on Mead and Blumer, for instance, is often undertheorized but should be made central to the foundational narratives of symbolic interactionism. This calls for more sophisticated understandings of meaning-​ making that incorporate Peirce’s semiotic triadic model and classifications of signs where symbols are just one kind of signs among others. Here, I take on these matters and expand on my pragmatic sociology (Bakker, 2011a) to introduce the emergent project of a semiotic sociology. In stepwise fashion, I lay foundations of a metaparadigmatic synthesis—​ a “big tent”—​ based on five key arguments that build upon each other, including Blumer as its anchor point, American symbolic interactionism, global interactionism, neo-​ Weberian interpretive analysis for cross-​ historical comparison, and Peircean semiotics as the culminating paradigm that pulls it all together. The Cold War is over (Menand, 2021).

The Green New Deal and the Future of Work

Calhoun, Craig and Benjamin Fong. 2022. The Green New Deal and the Future of Work.  Columbia University Press.
green new deal
Catastrophic climate change overshadows the present and the future. Wrenching economic transformations have devastated workers and hollowed out communities. However, those fighting for jobs and those fighting for the planet have often been at odds. Does the world face two separate crises, environmental and economic? The promise of the Green New Deal is to tackle the threat of climate change through the empowerment of working people and the strengthening of democracy. In this view, the crisis of nature and the crisis of work must be addressed together—or they will not be addressed at all.

Racism on Campus: A Visual History of Prominent Virginia Colleges and Howard University

Poulson, Stephen C. 2021. Racism on Campus: A Visual History of Prominent Virginia Colleges and Howard University. New York: Routledge Press.
Racism on Campus
Drawing on content from yearbooks published by prominent colleges in Virginia, this book explores changes in race relations that have occurred at universities in the United States since the late 19th century. It juxtaposes the content published in predominantly White university yearbooks to that published by Howard University, a historically Black college. The study is a work of visual sociology, with photographs, line drawings and historical prints that provide a visual account of the institutional racism that existed at these colleges over time. It employs Bonilla-Silva’s concept of structural racism to shed light on how race ordered all aspects of social life on campuses from the period of post-Civil War Reconstruction to the present. It examines the lives of the Black men and women who worked at these schools and the racial attitudes of the White men and women who attended them. As such, Racism on Campus will appeal to scholars of sociology, history and anthropology with interests in race, racism and visual methods.