This collection assembles some of the country s foremost social scientists in one volume. It contains diverse investigations of metropolitan transformation, recent education policy, the (in)justice of disaster relief, the politics of aesthetics and design, immigration, the mass media, social movements, and the practice of social science itself, among others. Whatever their subjects, the writers investigate the promise and constraints of democratic practice in a time of disturbing growth in inequality and political disempowerment. Although they at times differ from one another, more often, they challenge popular received wisdom on a number of these topics. Cumulatively, the volume amounts to a critical sociological excavation of the United States from its leading social critics that will prove useful to specialists and general readers alike."
“This collection of fourteen essays on democracy and modern society examines recent trends in American politics, economics and culture in relation to their effects on the disenfranchisement of citizens and the destruction of cherished, if largely fictional, democratic principles. The papers focus on five key contemporary issues: urban form, public policy, immigration, ethno-racial stratification and mobility, mass media and social movements. Contributors are important academics in a variety of fields, including sociology, history, political science and urban planning, from major US universities.”
—Eithne O’Leyne, June 2011 Reference and Research Book News
"What an amazing collection of writers and ideas! Leading figures in the study of cities, poverty, education, media, immigration, and politics build on decades' worth of research to speak to the policy challenges of the present. Together, the contributors make a powerful case for an engaged sociology that refuses to be limited to small questions. To the contrary, they remind us that rethinking what a city is, what a community is, what poverty is, and what an American is may be essential to good policy."
—Francesca Polletta, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Irvine, Author of It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics and Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements
"This volume is a solid and robust renewal of the sociological vision at its very best. The authors insist on relevance, criticality, conceptual rigor and substantive clarity. American Democracy and the Pursuit of Equality will become a classic, and because authors reveal their hopefulness about social change, it is an excellent text for the classroom."
—Judith Blau, Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Co-Author of Sociology and Human Rights: A Bill of Rights for the Twenty-First Century and President of Sociologists Without Borders (US).