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Sociology

Summer 2006

Can America compete in a 'Flat' World?

Many of you are familiar with Thomas Friedman’s argument, in The World is Flat, that technology has eliminated many barriers to competition and thus created today’s globally competitive economic environment. His dramatic examples of outsourcing show that key services, including high-level engineering and scientific tasks, can be effectively accomplished without regard to the workers’ physical location. This allows imaginative businesses to tap talent from around the globe, often at considerable savings.

Friedman, a foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, uses this evidence to reach some alarming conclusions about how America will fare in the future. After establishing the central thesis that location is … » More …

Spring 2009

Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival

About twelve years ago, I drank my first cup of fair trade coffee. I didn’t spend much time thinking about the implications—it just seemed like a decent idea to pay farmers a good price for their product.  But even the simple assumption that a fair trade or organic label guarantees farmers a better income or life can be questioned. Do farmers actually receive extra profit? Are they more successful than conventional producers? Do the labels mean anything to them? In Brewing Justice, Washington State University sociologist Daniel Jaffee explores those questions, and other complications of fair trade and organic coffee production, through the experiences of … » More …

Summer 2004

Competing Devotions: Career and Family Among Women Executives

To be or not to be a devoted mother, corporate executive—or both? These are the choices and challenges facing career women more than ever. In Competing Devotions: Career and Family Among Women Executives, former Washington State University sociology professor Mary Blair-Loy examines the lifestyles of two groups of women and the decisions they made regarding the delicate balance of raising children along with—or versus—the long hours they spend behind an executive’s desk.

The first group, made up of 56 predominantly white female finance executives, was called the career-committed group. The second group, the family-committed group, was made up of 25 white women who left full-time, … » More …

Spring 2004

All Abraham's Children: Changing Conceptions of Race and Lineage

This thoroughly documented study of race and identity within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints unravels various ways Mormons have constructed and negotiated their identity throughout history. Armand Mauss, professor emeritus of sociology at Washington State University, makes the intriguing argument that Mormonism provides a unique case in which religious prejudice or particularism actually undermines secular prejudice. While Mormon relations with other races have not been without difficulty, documentation provided here demonstrates that in specific cases, Mormons hold less prejudicial attitudes than other white Americans.

This is due, according to Mauss, to a theology linking Mormon lineage with other ethnic groups. Believing Native … » More …

Fall 2003

Opening Minds: A Journey of Extraordinary Encounters, Crop Circles, and Resonance

In Opening Minds: A Journey of Extraordinary Encounters, Crop Circles, and Resonance Simeon Hein (’93 Ph.D. Soc.) sets out to show that Western rationalism and the rise of technology have alienated us from our world and from each other, but that by tapping into the “quantum perspective,”; we can access hitherto unknown realities and achieve integration with the universe. Hein provides an insightful sociological critique of information technology and our uses of time, then launches into discussions of his own experiences with “the universal mind grid”; through resonant viewing (a form of telepathic perception), encounters with extraterrestrial beings, and some of the stranger aspects of … » More …