Sociology and Cultural Studies, General
Featured Items
The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood
The Corner
A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood
Paperback      ISBN: 0767900316

The crime-infested intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets is well-known--and cautiously avoided--by most of Baltimore. But this notorious corner's 24-hour open-air drug market provides the economic fuel for a dying neighborhood. David Simon, an award-winning author and crime reporter, and Edward Burns, a 20-year veteran of the urban drug war, tell the chilling story of this desolate crossroad.

Through the eyes of one broken family--two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough, Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of inner cities across the country and unflinchingly assess why law enforcement policies, moral crusades, and the welfare system have accomplished so little. This extraordinary book is a crucial look at the price of the drug culture and the poignant scenes of hope, caring, and love that astonishingly rise in the midst of a place America has abandoned.
The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion
The Sacred Canopy
Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion
Paperback      ISBN: 0385073054

This absorbing and original examination brilliantly argues that religion is a product of the society from which it springs--that it is the "sacred canopy" which every human society builds over its world to give it meaning.

In this book, Berger expands on theories of knowledge that he first explored (with Thomas Luckmann) in The Social Construction of Reality. With illustrations drawn from a variety of primitive, ancient, and contemporary religions.
God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams
God in the Wasteland
The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams
Paperback      ISBN: 0802841791

David F. Wells's award-winning book No Place for Truth - called "a stinging indictment of evangelicalism's theological corruption" by TIME magazine - woke many evangelicals to the fact that their tradition has slowly but surely capitulated to the values and structures of modernity. In God in the Wasteland Wells continues his trenchant analysis of the cultural corruption now weakening the church's thought and witness with the intent of getting evangelicals to rethink their relationship to the "world."
Wells argues that the church is enfeebled in part because it has lost its sense of God's sovereignty and holiness. "The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today," says Wells, "is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, his judgment is too benign, his gospel is too easy, and his Christ is too common." God has become weightless to the extent that the church no longer allows him to shape its character, outlook, and practice.
Evangelicals have become heavily invested in the mind-set of modernity - a mind-set that Wells correlates with the biblical concept of the "world." They have become enamored of advanced management and marketing techniques, have blurred the distinctions between Christ and culture, and have largely abandoned their traditional emphasis on divine transcendence in favor of an emphasis on divine immanence. In doing so, they have produced a faith in God that is of little consequence to those who believe. An extensive survey of students at seven evangelical theological seminaries - the results of which are included in this book - indicates that the next generation of evangelical leaders is as caught up in these trends as the laity.
Arguing that the church's diminished appetite for truth will not be restored without repentance and a fresh encounter with the holy God, Wells makes a compelling case for urgently needed reform in the evangelical church. Without such reform, he says, evangelical faith will be lost in and to the modernity that has invaded the church.

The History of Sexuality: An Introduction
The History of Sexuality
An Introduction
Paperback      ISBN: 0679724699

Michel Foucult offers an iconoclastic exploration of why we feel compelled to continually analyze and discuss sex, and of the social and mental mechanisms of power that cause us to direct the questions of what we are to what our sexuality is.

Fairy Tales: Traditional Stories Retold for Gay Men
Fairy Tales
Traditional Stories Retold for Gay Men
Paperback      ISBN: 0062513095

Using the magical and mythic language of classic stories from around the world, Fairy Tales takes familiar myths and folktales and turns them into stories about men coming out, learning to trust themselves, looking for and finding love, facing AIDS, and helping those they love.

Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
Tastes of Paradise
A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
Paperback      ISBN: 067974438x

Provides the history and anecdotes about what people eat, drink, and inhale for pleasure

Phantastica: A Classic Survey on the Use and Abuse of Mind-Altering Plants
Phantastica
A Classic Survey on the Use and Abuse of Mind-Altering Plants
Paperback      ISBN: 0892817836

Long out of print, this is a landmark study on narcotic and psychedelic substances by a world-renowned pharmacologist and toxicologist

- The first book to bring non-judgmental scientific insights to the use of drugs around the world

- Provides detailed information on all major drugs of the time, including opium, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, peyote, fly agaric, henbane, datura, alcohol, kava, betel, coffee, tea, cocoa, and tobacco

- A book credited with starting an era of ethnobotany that continues to the present day

The publication of Louis Lewin's Phantastica in 1924 began an era of ethnobotany that is still flourishing today. Until Lewin, books on the use of drugs were purely works of anthropology, concerned with how people used these plants, rather than how the plants produced their famous effects. Lewin, a world-renowned pharmacologist and toxicologist, was fascinated by both, and Phantastica was the first book to bring scientific insights to a survey of the use of drugs around the world. Lewin traveled extensively and acquired an astonishing variety of knowledge, reflected in this book, which provides detailed information on all major drugs of the time, including opium, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, peyote, fly agaric, henbane, datura, alcohol, kava, betel, coffee, tea, cocoa, and, of course, tobacco. For thirty years ethnobotanists have bemoaned the fact that Phantastica has been impossible to find; now this landmark work is once again available.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Paperback      ISBN: 067974195x

A direct and fundamentally optimistic indictment of the short-sightedness and intellectual arrogance that has characterized much of urban planning in this century, The Death and Life of Great American Cities has, since its first publication in 1961, become the standard against which all endeavors in that field are measured. In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs writes about what makes streets safe or unsafe; about what constitutes a neighborhood, and what function it serves within the larger organism of the city; about why some neighborhoods remain impoverished while others regenerate themselves. She writes about the salutary role of funeral parlors and tenement windows, the dangers of too much development money and too little diversity. Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and always keenly detailed, Jane Jacobs's monumental work provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.

Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Declineof America's Man-Made Landscape
Geography of Nowhere
The Rise and Declineof America's Man-Made Landscape
Paperback      ISBN: 0671888250
The Geography of Nowhere traces America's evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots.
In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern auto suburb in all its ghastliness. The Geography of Nowhere tallies up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that America is paying for its car-crazed lifestyle. It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. "The future will require us to build better places," Kunstler says, "or the future will belong to other people in other societies."
Return of the Tribal: A Celebration of Body Adornment : Piercing, Tattooing, Scarification, Body Painting
Return of the Tribal
A Celebration of Body Adornment : Piercing, Tattooing, Scarification, Body Painting
Paperback      ISBN: 0892816104

A photographic exploration of the modern revival of piercing, tattooing, scarification, and body painting that reveals its origins in tribal culture and practices.
Since earliest times, tribal cultures around the world have used body marks and modifications to indicate membership and rank within the group, identify with spiritual totems, express sacrifice and loss, and enhance physical attraction and sexual enjoyment. Today we are witnessing a renaissance of interest in body adornment that many interpret as a return to our tribal beginnings--a way to identify who we are in an urban world that has lost its sense of community. Return of the Tribal takes a non-judgmental look at a great variety of practices of body adornment and modification--from prehistoric and aboriginal to those of modern urban tribals in cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, and Amsterdam. From the beautiful to the bizarre, the author shows the many beautiful and bizarre ways people choose to alter their appearance.