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Finding New York City’s Culture Through Shopping

Since New York is still a walking city, and New Yorkers are only gradually getting used to buying shoes and groceries on the Internet when so many stores are close at hand, our main culture of consumption remains window shopping. It’s free, it’s convenient, and it enables us to see what is happening to our neighborhoods when they are challenged by chain store invasion, rampant gentrification, and ethnic turnovers. Until recently, many areas of the city were dotted with small mom and pop stores selling goods you could not find anywhere else—and often, at discount prices. Now, however, chains like Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, and H&M colonize the most heavily traf- ficked streets. They create a more standardized shopping experience than New York is known for—repeating nearly the same clusters of stores on Broadway in SoHo, where Prada’s pricey leather handbags face cheap cashmere sweaters down the street at Uniqlo, as on Lower Fifth Avenue near Union Square and 34th Street near Macy’s.




also in this issue
The Erosion and Rebirth of American Democracy

Polls show the continued deterioration of the United States’ image in the world. The main causes are the occupation of Iraq, torture, the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo, U.S. policy in the Middle East, and the government’s positions on global warming. However, comparable surveys show strong support for the values that America embodies and that President Bush has vowed to spread. It looks, according to a BBC report, “as though America itself is seen to be living up to those values less and less.”


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Too Few PhDs? The Replacement Rate in Sociology

For years, the academic community heard the complaint that there were “too many PhDs” in sociology and other social science disciplines, and that the number should be limited because of the lack of professional positions that use doctoral training. Yet, computations based on data from two National Science Foundation surveys, the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), the annual survey of the universe of new PhDs, and the Survey of Doctoral Recipients, a sample survey that uses the SED as its population universe may cast some doubt on this complaint.

Copyright © 2007 by the American Sociological Association. All rights reserved.