Printer Friendly Version Of American Sociological Association: 2008 Press Release

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October 23, 2008

The Sociological "Contexts" of Politics in 2008

The high drama of the 2008 presidential election has provided ample fodder for sociological analysis in the fall issue of the American Sociological Association's Contexts magazine, which features politically themed feature articles from leading sociologists who are available to comment on election-related topics.

Contact ASA Media Relations Officer Jackie Cooper (, 202-247-9871) for pre-release copies of the Contexts articles summarized below, or reach the authors directly for interviews.

The Two Faces of Voting in America
From the open voting of the 1800s to the "hanging chads" of 2000, sociologist Andrew Perrin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill traces the evolution of voting and discusses it as both a ritual and a calculating form of citizenship. Perrin is author of Citizen Speak: The Democratic Imagination in American Life.
Andrew Perrin: 919-962-6876, 919-951-8923 (cell),

Storytelling in Politics
The disparate stories of the presidential candidates have loomed large in the campaign for the 2008 election. Sociologist Francesca Polletta of the University of California-Irvine discusses different styles of political storytelling and the effectiveness of narratives used by Democrats and Republicans. Polletta is the author of It Was Like A Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics.
Francesca Polletta: 949-823-3929,

Muslims in America
Muslim Americans have recently returned to the spotlight amidst false rumors that Barack Obama is Muslim. Sociologist Jen'nan Ghazal Read of Duke University debunks misperceptions about American Muslims and provides a closer look at diversity within the group in terms of political and religious involvement, comparing their views on social issues to other Americans and to U.S. Christians.
Jen'nan Ghazal Read: 919-668-4030, 949-266-4249 (cell),

Gender Politics
Despite the prominence and visibility of women such as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential campaign, as a group women still trail men in terms of political representation in the United States. Sociologist Deborah Carr of Rutgers University examines the statistics and discusses what's driving the gender composition of political offices today at the state and federal level.
Deborah Carr: 732-309-1807 (cell),

Keyword: Terrorism
The topic of terrorism made a comeback in the 2008 presidential campaign. Not in reference to the September 11 attacks of 2001, but to Barack Obama's ties to a Chicago professor. Sociologist Ziad Munson of Lehigh University examines the origination of the term terrorism and the evolution of its use and how it is understood.
Ziad Munson: 610-758-3821, 610-216-5466 (cell),

Editor's Note: Members of the media may request a complimentary subscription to Contexts magazine at

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About Contexts
Contexts (, a magazine published by the American Sociological Association, provides the lay public with an accessible and thought-provoking look at modern life through the lens of the research and expertise of prominent U.S. sociologists. Edited by a team from the University of Minnesota's sociology department, the magazine offers provocative sociological ideas and research to examine everyday experiences through feature articles, book reviews, cultural analysis and engaging photography.

About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.