1st Edition

Sociologists Backstage Answers to 10 Questions About What They Do

By Sarah Fenstermaker, Nikki Jones Copyright 2011
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    Published social science rarely gives real attention to the actual doing of research, making the process appear magical, or at least self-evident and simple. This book is intended to right the balance by illuminating the craft and the choices made as the research process unfolds for the sociologist. The metaphorical image of going "backstage" speaks to the reader’s experience with each of the seventeen interviews, which illuminate the choices and constraints of researchers as well as unanticipated developments, good and bad. The volume represents a range of interests, themes, research philosophies and approaches from a diverse group of contributors. Particularly suited for advanced undergraduate and graduate research methods students, the volume addresses virtually all of the most vexing methods questions through accessible and compelling first-hand descriptions of sociological research. The volume is an invaluable addition to the library of all social science researchers.

    From the Foreword by Howard Becker:

    "The stories in Sociologists Backstage tell how the contributors, who differ in so many ways, dealt with the situations they found themselves in as they did their research, and how who they were and what they had become in their lives intersected with those situations. The stories will fascinate you, and give you a lot to think about as you go ahead with your own research adventure."

    Section 1: Urban Sociology in the Post-Civil Rights Era  1. Mary Pattillo  2. Scott Brooks  3. Alford Young  4. Mitchell Duneier  Section 2: Global Ethnography and the Study of Transnational Labor Migrations  5. Milliann Kang  6. Hung Cam Thai  7. Nazli Kibria  8. Rhacael Parrenas  Section 3: Studying Gender, Crime and Violence in the Era of Mass Incarceration  9. Meda Chesney-Lind  10. Victor Rios  11. Mercer Sullivan  12. Valerie Jenness  Section 4: The Researcher As…  13. Karyn Lacy  14. France Winddance Twine  15. Denise Segura  16. Christine Williams  17. Verta Taylor and Leila Rupp


    Sarah Fenstermaker is Professor of Sociology and an affiliate of Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the Director of UC Santa Barbara's Institute for Social Behavioral and Economic Research. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Her research on women and work, domestic labor, family violence, and the workings of gender, race, and class have resulted in a long list of publications. She is the author of The Gender Factory: The Apportionment of Work in American Households, an edited volume (with A. Goetting), Individual Voices, Collective Visions: Fifty Years of Women in Sociology, published by Temple University Press, and Doing Gender, Doing Difference: Inequality, Power, and Institutional Change (with C. West), published by Routledge. Sarah is presently co-PI (with J.Mohr and J. Castro) of a Ford Foundation funded project, "Individuals and Institutional Cultures: Faculty as Change Agents," a national survey of the professoriate,

    Nikki Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Her areas of expertise include urban ethnography, urban sociology, race and ethnic relations and criminology and criminal justice, with a special emphasis on the intersection of race, gender, and justice. She is the author of Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence, which is published in the Rutgers University Press Series in Childhood Studies. She is also a William T. Grant Scholar (2007-2012).

    "Editors Fenstermaker and Jones...do a great service to the sociology graduate student community with this offering. Based on the premise that undergraduates are presented an unambiguous,sanitized perspective of sociology in the classroom, the book reveals messy, surprising, and intriguing aspects of qualitative field research....their personal familiarity with each scholar and his/her work deepens the dialogues significantly. This work, which has no published topical peers, is part of a sociological series for academic and general readers. It is highly recommended for graduate students and scholars of sociology, particularly those doing field research."E. S. Petersen, Kansas City Public Library, Recommended title, CHOICE

    "Sociologists Backstage is a moving collection of interviews that reveal intellectual journeys taken by researchers. Their personal stories that will make you laugh, nod approvingly and feel the moments of triumph and challenges doing sociological research.  A must read for graduate students and young scholars!"—Mary Romero, Sociology, Arizona State University

    "An original and engaging collection of interviews with 17 remarkable sociologists about their paths into sociology and their experiences carrying out ethnographic research.  By encouraging scholars to reflect on their aspirations and fears, their relations with subjects, and their hopes and regrets, Fenstermaker and Jones humanize the research process, capturing the excitement of discovery and moments of insight."—Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Ethnic and Women’s Studies, University of California, Berkeley

    "Sociologists Backstage provides a fascinating 'behind the scenes' look at sociologists and their research—a virtual extended confessional of how sociologists actually work—that is deeply edifying. Collectively, these well-written essays represent an important contribution to social science research."—Elijah Anderson, Sociology, Yale University