Contexts
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Contexts


Editor
Syed Ali Long Island University
Philip N. Cohen University of Maryland, College Park

eISSN: 15376052| ISSN: 15365042|Current volume: 14|Current issue: 2 Frequency: Quarterly

About Contexts

Contexts, peer-reviewed and published quarterly, offers a smartly written, thought-provoking take on modern life in our communities—it’s an indispensable guide to understanding our dynamic society.

Contexts takes our favorite newspapers and magazines one step further, answering the “Why does that happen?” question with the research and experience of the best sociologists in the United States. Both the educated lay reader and those in sociology and its related fields find the articles captivating.

The magazine includes feature articles, culture and book reviews, photography, as well as summaries of the latest findings from social science research and news within the field.

Who Should Read Contexts?

  • Anyone interested in sociological trends, social change, and the implications of sociological knowledge for policy and public debate
  • Teachers, students, journalists, civil servants and policy makers seeking out important developments in social research
  • Social and behavioral scientists interested in the cross-fertilization of ideas and creative new thinking
  • All sociologists who wish to remain current and engaged with findings across the field

In each issue of Contexts you’ll find:

  • The best sociological ideas and research
  • Fresh perspectives, clear, concise thinking and jargon-free reporting
  • A though-provoking look at modern life


The American Sociological Association (ASA), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. With nearly 15,000 members, ASA encompasses sociologists who are faculty members at colleges and universities, researchers, practitioners, and students. About 20 percent of the members work in government, business, or non-profit organizations. ASA hosts an annual meeting with more than 6,000 participants and publishes 10 professional journals and magazines.

As the national organization for sociologists, ASA, through its Executive Office, is well positioned to provide a unique set of services to its members and to promote the vitality, visibility, and diversity of the discipline. Working at the national and international levels, ASA aims to articulate policy and implement programs likely to have the broadest possible impact for sociology now and in the future.

Who Should Read Contexts?

  • Anyone interested in sociological trends, social change, and the implications of sociological knowledge for policy and public debate
  • Teachers, students, journalists, civil servants and policy makers seeking out important developments in social research
  • Social and behavioral scientists interested in the cross-fertilization of ideas and creative new thinking
  • All sociologists who wish to remain current and engaged with findings across the field

In each issue of Contexts you’ll find:

  • The best sociological ideas and research
  • Fresh perspectives, clear, concise thinking and jargon-free reporting
  • A though-provoking look at modern life
Section Editor - Books
Matt Wray Temple University
Section Editor - In Pictures
Katie Hyde Duke University
Section Editor - Mediations
Karen Sternheimer University of Southern California
Section Editor - Pedagogies
Gary Kinté Perry Seattle University
Section Editor - Trends
Tom Linneman College of William and Mary
Section Editor - Viewpoints
Syed Ali Long Island University
Editorial Board
Jody Agius Vallejo University of Southern California
Laura M. Carpenter Vanderbilt University
Hector Carrillo Northwestern University, USA
Monica J. Casper University of Arizona
Simon A. Cole University of California, Irvine, USA
Ted Conover New York University
Gil Eyal Columbia University
Sylvanna Martina Falcon University of California, Santa Cruz
James Farrer Sophia University, Japan
Dana R. Fisher University of Maryland
Mako L. Fitts Coe College
Lorena Garcia University of Illinois at Chicago
Sara Goldrick-Rab University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eric Anthony Grollman University of Richmond
Marcus Anthony Hunter Yale University
Szonja Szelényi Ivester University of California, Berkeley
Nikki Jones University of California, Berkeley
Joanna Kempner Rutgers University
Minjeong Kim Virginia Tech
Meredith A. Kleykamp University of Maryland
Caroline W. Lee Lafayette College
Andrew M. Linder Skidmore College
Jay Livingston Montclair State University
Yolanda Carmen Martin Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
Mark McCormack Durham University, UK
Gregory McLauchlan University of Oregon
Suketu Mehta New York University
Aldon D. Morris Northwestern University
Shehzad Nadeem Lehman College of the City University of New York
David M. Newman DePauw University
Nathan Scott Palmer University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Sangyoub Park Washburn University
Anju Mary Paul Yale-NUS College
Allison Pugh University of Virginia
Adam Dalton Reich Columbia University
Michelle Robertson St. Edward's University
Thomas Rotolo Washington State University
Stephen D. Rutter Routledge/Taylor & Francis
Virginia Rutter Framingham State University
Liana C. Sayer University of Maryland
Kristin Schilt The University of Chicago
Karen Sternheimer University of Southern California
Judith Taylor University of Toronto
James Michael Thomas University of Mississippi
Steven William Thrasher New York University
Zulema Valdez University of California - Merced
Sudhir Venkatesh Columbia University
Melissa M. Wilcox Whitman College
Christine L. Williams University of Texas, Austin
Enyu Zhang Seattle University

Contributing to Contexts

Contexts, the public face of sociology, makes sociological ideas accessible to non-specialists. Our audience includes professional sociologists, university students, educated “lay” readers, policy professionals, activists and anyone else interested in contemporary social analysis. Published quarterly, the magazine includes feature articles as well as shorter pieces. We welcome contributions from social scientists and others who write incisively and accessibly, free of jargon and in an engaging style. Please download our submissions guidelines. Contexts accepts proposals for full-length features as well as for our departments: mediations, photo essays, pedagogies, trends, and book reviews. Please direct your submissions and inquiries to the following email addresses: 

Please see our website for sample articles.

Letters to the Editor

We welcome your feedback! Please send all letters and comments to editor@contexts.org.

Photo/Image Submissions Information

We are always on the lookout for images for our front and back covers, and to accompany articles, essays and commentaries. Single images will be considered, as well as pairs, trios or sequences that represent related and contrasting elements. Most photographs and illustrations are printed in black and white, except for the front cover, which is in full color. If you would like to submit an image to Contexts, please contact: jen@contexts.org.

Guidelines for Contexts Photo Essay Submissions

  • Please edit your images prior to submission
  • Propose a selection of 8 to12 images that are placed into a suggested sequence
  • Provide captions for each image (even if you envision a final piece without
    captions)
  • Submit images via a website that can be reviewed online, or as high-resolution
    files sent through the mail on CD or DVD
  • Include a written introduction to your images in either of the following ways:
    • Summarize your project’s context, scope and sociological themes.
      (Please do not send a related publication in lieu of your proposal).
    • Draft a short essay (up to 1000 words and written with contexts style
      elements in mind) to accompany your visual essay
  • Include, if applicable, a separate file or album of additional (alternate) images for
    consideration. These should also be captioned for the review process.

Permissions

Contributors are responsible for securing permission from individuals who own (or are identifiable in) the photographs and other images they submit to Contexts.

Recognition and Compensation

Copyright for images is retained by contributors. All photographs selected for publication in the journal will appear with full credit to the individuals who have provided them. Individuals whose work is published in Contexts will receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which their work appears. Unfortunately, Contexts cannot compensate contributors whose texts or images are selected for publication.

Author Guidelines

(Updated August 19, 2011)

Contexts makes sociological ideas accessible to non-specialists. Our audience includes professional sociologists, university students, educated “lay” readers, policy professionals, activists and anyone else interested in contemporary social analysis. We welcome contributions from social scientists and others who write incisively and accessibly, free of jargon and in an engaging style. Published quarterly, the magazine includes feature articles as well as shorter pieces.

Feature Articles (3,000 words maximum)

We are mainly interested in two types of pieces, though we would consider other interesting proposals:

a) Articles that use sociological analysis to deepen or challenge conventional knowledge about a subject. Some examples:

- How have Tea Party activists been represented by the media, and what do these images and news frames leave out, according to sociologists?

- What do members of youth subcultures do when they grow up?

b) Debates, controversies, or trends in the profession, particularly if they are relevant beyond sociology. This might include such topics as:

- Are college students getting dumber?

- Can social scientists be people of faith?

Shorter Pieces

In addition to Feature articles, Contexts includes shorter essays and reports on subjects related to media and culture, education, social trends, visual sociology and books. Descriptions and submission information for these shorter pieces is located under the Department headings below.

Elements of Contexts Style

Academic journals publish articles in which authors “tell,” or report on findings. Magazine writing invites authors to “show”—to describe, set scenes, and allow interviewees to speak for “themselves.” Contexts is a scholarly-journalistic hybrid; we encourage you submit writing that “shows” rather than “tells.” Imagine that a typical reader is your college-educated aunt, or a savvy college junior, and try to make the article compelling and accessible to her or him! Here are some further suggestions, particularly for feature articles:

1. Set the Scene. The first few paragraphs should draw the reader in, providing a sense of the context of the story—by focusing on a particular event or person, who is emblematic of the larger story.

2. Tell a Story. To the best of your ability, populate your prose with living, breathing characters.

3. Make your writing jargon free, active, and flowing. Sentences should be active rather than passive; sign-posting should be implicit rather than explicit. In other words, insure that readers can follow your argument without using such academic conventions of “Now I will argue… “.

4. Attribute your sources. Contexts does not use formal academic citation. Instead, use journalistic forms of attribution rather than citations, footnotes, or endnotes. For example: “As sociologist Cecilia Ridgeway argued in a 2001 article….” Conclude with a list of suggested articles or books for readers who wish to pursue the topic further.

A sample of Context-style writing is available on this website. For additional models of good writing on intellectual/social issues, check out the archives of the (now defunct) magazine Lingua Franca at http://linguafranca.mirror.theinfo.org/, as well as selected pieces in magazines such as the New Republic, Miller-McCune, and The Atlantic.

Proposal and Review Process for Unsolicited Articles

Stage One: Send a 2-page proposal that includes a 50-word summary of the main argument, and the first few paragraphs to: editors@contexts.org. The editorial team will review your proposal within 2-3 weeks to determine if we are interested in pursuing it. If so, we will invite you to submit a completed manuscript.

Stage Two: When we receive your full manuscript, we will first review it in-house to determine if it is ready for external review. If it we deem that it is, it will be reviewed by two to three experts in the field.

Stage Three: Based on the reviews and our own assessment of the manuscript, we will determine whether to accept or reject the manuscript, or to invite a revision and resubmission. Revised manuscripts will be sent for another round of external reviews contingent on editorial discretion.

Timeline: We aim to complete the external review process and issue a decision within three months of the original date of submission of a full manuscript. Accepted manuscripts will be edited and published within one year—usually sooner—depending on the number of manuscripts in process.

Departments

Proposals for shorter pieces should be sent to the appropriate editor as listed below.

New and Noteworthy

A grab-bag of news items and research of note--culled from journals, blogs, and other sources. If you have ideas for items, please send them to Jennifer Hemler at jhemler@sociology.rutgers.edu.

Trends

Editor: Thomas J. Linneman (trends@contexts.org). Offers insightful analyses of a wide variety of trends: public opinion, culture and politics, demography, and trends within the field of sociology. Our goal is expose subtle nuances within broader trends, allowing the reader to think about important trends in ways.

Photo Essays

Editor: Katie Hyde (photos@contexts.org). Photo essays offer a nuanced, visual exploration of a sociological theme. Framed by a written essay, as well as detailed captions, the sequence of images elicits and addresses questions about society.

Culture & Society

Editor: Kari Lerum (culture@contexts.org) The features in this department explore dynamic interactions between contemporary and global medias, cultures, politics, institutions, and identities. We especially welcome proposals that emphasize the reflexive impact of "new media" (digitized, interactive) and critical analyses of potentially democratizing medias (e.g.,Youtube, Facebook, Wikipedia), as well as sociological analyses of "traditional media" (e.g., television, film, newspapers, magazines, books).

Teaching

Editor: Gary Perry (classroom@contexts.org). This department focuses on critical issues in higher education, classroom instruction that is oriented to addressing students as citizens in a global environment. Features include: discussions of pedagogy, service learning, and community action research, among other topics.

Books

Editor: Arvind Rajagopal (books@contexts.org). We accept books for review and welcome potential reviewers to suggest books—barring any conflicts of interest. Reviews should be opinionated and critical, though not inflammatory. This section will include book essays, short reviews, and book features.

- Review essays that focus on 2-3 books on a particular theme (ala The New York Review of Books)— 2000 words maximum

- Short reviews of a single book. We especially encourage sociologists to review works of sociology and sociologists to review general interest books—500 words maximum.

- Book lists: “Breakthrough Books,” “Forgotten Classics,” “What They’re Reading,” and other lists. We are more than happy to receive suggestions of other lists you’d like to see in the magazine. For a sample, see:

http://linguafranca.mirror.theinfo.org/Special/books.9603.html

Back Page

First-person reflections on the profession, economics, culture, politics, and other subjects. Send ideas to: Jodi O’Brien at jobrien@contexts.org.

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