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Issues in Sociology/Psychology/Culture

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Levitt, Steven D.
Freakonomics

Steven D. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives - how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of...well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

Pinker, Steven
The stuff of thought

What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? A look into how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter.

Babiak, Paul.
Snakes in suits

We'd like to think that if we met someone who was completely without conscience -- someone who was capable of doing anything at all if it served his or her purposes -- we would recognize it. In popular culture, the image of the psychopath is of someone like Hannibal Lecter or the BTK Killer. But in reality, many psychopaths just want money, or power, or fame, or simply a nice car.

Griffin, John Howard
Black like me

On October 28, 1959, John Howard Griffin underwent a transformation that changed many lives beyond his own; he made his skin black and traveled through the segregated Deep South. His odyssey of discovery was captured in journal entries, arguably the single most important documentation of 20th-century American racism ever written.

Lewis, Marc D.
Memoirs of an addicted brain

Marc Lewis describes his former experiences with drug addiction and his eventual healing from the perspective of his current position as a neuroscience researcher and professor of developmental psychology.

Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi.
Gang leader for a day

When Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty. A first-year grad student hoping to impress his professors with his boldness, he never imagined that as a result of the assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under JT's protection, documenting what he saw there.

Orenstein, Peggy.
Cinderella ate my daughter

Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source--the source--of female empowerment

Levy, Ariel
Female chauvinist pigs

If male chauvinist pigs of years past thought of women as pieces of meat, female chauvinist pigs of today are doing them one better, making sex objects of other women -and of themselves. With a wink and a nudge, they are welcoming back strippers, porn stars and Playboy Bunnies as the heroes of post-feminist culture.

Olfman, Sharna
The sexualization of childhood

Only a generation or two ago, childhood in the United States was understood to be a unique and vulnerable stage of development; a time for play and protection from adult preoccupations and responsibilities. In recent decades however, we appear to have jettisoned these norms, and the lines that separate the lifestyles of even very young children from adults are blurring.