• Cultural Sociology: An Introductory Reader (W.W. Norton & Co.)
A comprehensive introduction to “the best of the best” in cultural sociology With the undergraduate student in mind, Matt Wray pulls together a clever mix of classic and contemporary essays on the sociology of culture. With helpful introductions and head notes, Cultural Sociology: An Introductory Reader is an essential resource for understanding this fast-growing area of sociology. In addition to excerpts from classics by theorists such as Marx, Durkheim, Simmel, Weber, Adorno, Geertz, Goffman, and Bourdieu, this reader includes essays by the following sociologists:
Jeffrey C. Alexander • Shyon Baumann • Howard S. Becker • Paul DiMaggio • Gary Alan Fine • David Grazian • Wendy Griswold • Eva Illouz • Jason Kaufman • Michèle Lamont • Annette Lareau • Jennifer C. Lena • Omar Lizardo • Jay MacLeod • Andrew J. Perrin • Richard A. Peterson • Michael Schudson • John D. Skrentny • Ann Swidler • Stephen Vaisey
• The Philadelphia Sepsis Mortality Project
Death by sepsis results from the body’s response to severe infections. Sepsis, also known as septicemia, is a leading cause of death, with over 250,000 deaths recorded nationwide between 2000 and 2007. For the past decade, Philadelphia has had one of the highest sepsis mortality rates among large cities in the United States. The reasons for this persistently high rate are not well understood, nor are the reasons for wide geographic variation in sepsis mortality. This ongoing research project, run by undergraduates in the Department of Sociology at Temple University under the direction of Matt Wray, is devoted to finding explanations.
• Medico-legal Systems of Death Classification (with Joshua Klugman & Gretchen Condran)
Are official suicide rates reliable enough for social science research? In this analysis, we ask whether there is systematic variation in the reporting of suicide by medicolegal system and if so whether this biases estimated effects of social correlates on suicide. We find that elected coroners have slightly lower official suicide rates than medical examiners (MEs; all of whom are appointed) and appointed coroners. In addition, we find that omitting medicolegal system does not bias estimates of the social determinants of suicide. Contrary to arguments that MEs’ greater scientific training makes them more likely to underreport suicides, we conclude that appointed death investigators (MEs and appointed coroners) underreport suicide to a lesser degree than elected coroners, who are subject to greater public pressures that result in the misclassification of suicides. This researched received some excellent coverage in the Chris Shea’s Wall Street Journal blog.
• Death in Vegas: Suicide & Self-Destruction in the Neon Metropolis
• White People: A User’s Guide