May/June 2011 Issue • Volume 39 • Issue 5

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Looking forward to the 2011 Annual Meeting in
Las Vegas

From Chicago to Las Vegas

Michael Ian Borer,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Sociologists don’t give much credence to the idea of fate. It’s too metaphysical and too hard to quantify. So I won’t use the term fate to describe the ASA Annual Meetings’ move from to Chicago to Las Vegas. Instead, I’ll say it’s fortuitous. The good fortune of the move lies in the fact that about 5,000 sociologists will come to Las Vegas, a city whose pop culture-fueled reputation precedes many persons’ visits. The meetings will give attendees a chance to witness a city that might be more relevant for understanding today’s most prominent social issues than Chicago.

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Welcome the New Contexts Editors:
Jodi O’Brien and Arlene Stein

Peter M. Nardi,
Pitzer College/The Claremont Colleges

The American Sociological Association has found the perfect editors for Contexts, the quarterly magazine that "makes sociology interesting" for the lay reader and professional sociologist alike. But "interesting" is too weak a word to describe Arlene Stein and Jodi O’Brien. The Contexts website describes the publication as "a smartly written, thought-provoking take on modern life in our communities—it’s an indispensable guide to understanding our dynamic society." There you have it: smart, thought-provoking, modern, indispensable, dynamic—adjectives that characterize the new editors perfectly.

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Chicago or Las Vegas:
Anticipate an Intellectual Event

Randall Collins, ASA President 2010-11

The theme for the ASA meeting this year is “Social Conflict: Multiple Dimensions and Arenas.”  The topic of social conflict is distinctive to sociology (and largely ignored by most other social sciences), along with our related concerns with inequality, action, and social change. The Program Committee has put together a menu to represent the best of the intellectual action, as well as the real-world dramatics of social conflict.

One of our three plenary sessions (Monday, August 22) will be devoted to “Fifty Years of Advances in Social Movement Research.”  Social movements has been the major area for studying how collective conflict (aka, contentious politics) is organized, mobilized, interpreted, and won and lost. It is one of the success stories of contemporary sociology and one of sociology’s best examples of integrating theory and research. Leading researchers from several generations will discuss what has been accomplished.

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