Klosterman, Gans, Pekar, and Soc Images
As our Winter 2010 issue mails, I'm soooo glad we brought Contexts to Minnesota.
Our terrific culture editor Dave Grazian interviews Chuck Klosterman in a fascinating two-part podcast available now and a shorter print exchange in spring. I'm an avid Klosterman reader, so I've been scheming about how Contexts might engage his work sociologically. As we've discovered, however, it is a lot easier to talk about sociologists engaging folks like Klosterman than it is to actually pull it off. Dave was the perfect sociological interviewer -- he drew out Klosterman's big themes (authenticity, identity, celebrity...) as well as the populist vibe that pervades his work. And he got to questions of meaning and culture without the arch tone or condescension that other academics might have brought to such an interview. In my view, this is "cultural analysis," real and true. The feel of the podcast is terrific, with the bar background noise giving us the sense that we're eavesdropping on a couple of knowledgeable heads.
In this issue, we're also launching a new print feature based on Gwen Sharp and Lisa Wade's wonderful Sociological Images blog, a spirited exchange with Eric Utne, thoughtful essays by sociology students at Oregon State Penitentiary, and a rant by the editors about scientific evidence, peer review, and accessibility at Contexts. Next up? We're pulling together some great pieces on aging and discrimination for free electronic release March 1 and we're lining up Harvey Pekar and Herb Gans for the Spring issue.