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Occam’s Press publishes clear, simple, and engaging writing about society and its people.

All Occam’s Press pieces are free to read!

The social sciences and humanities are chock-a-block with great and edifying stories about who we are, and why we do what we do, and where we are headed. In a little over a thousand words, we promote and re-tell current and classic research stories from the social sciences and humanities to reach a broader audience. Inspired by Occam’s razor, we get to the core of academic research in as few steps as possible. We aspire to tell stories that are a pleasure to read and educational, to boot.

Here are some of the pieces on social stratification and inequality that you can read right now on Occam’s Press:

An Unguarded Moment

Sociologists found that Halloween is an unguarded moment in America when some young adults publicly express, through make-up and dress, their inner racial thoughts.

Based on “Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Other” by Jennifer C. Mueller, Danielle Dirks, and Leslie Houts Picca, published in Qualitative Sociology in 2007. 30:315–335.

In the Last Place You Look

In the world’s richest nations, how do folks become food insecure, and how do they reconcile being food insecure with living in one of the world’s richest nations?

Based on K. A. Garthwaite, P. J. Collins, and Clare Bambra. “Food for thought: An ethnographic study of negotiating ill health and food insecurity in a UK foodbank,” published in Social Science & Medicine 132 (2015): 38-44; and Mohan Jyoti Dutta, LaReina Hingson, Agaptus Anaele, Soumitro Sen, and Kyle Jones. “Narratives of food insecurity in Tippecanoe County, Indiana: Economic constraints in local meanings of hunger,” published in Health Communication 31, no. 6 (2016): 647-658.

Mafia Equality

When we think of equality, we tend to envision lawful activities like education, business, and politics. We think of women as entrepreneurs, CEOs, and presidents. But social scientists Felia Allum and Irene Marchi find that the treasured ideal of emancipation is cherished by some women in organized crime. They ask: How do women become mafia clan leaders? And what does their leadership look like?

Based on the article by Felia Allum and Irene Marchi, “Analyzing the role of women in Italian mafias: the case of the Neapolitan Camorra,” published in Qualitative Sociology 41, no. 3 (2018): 361-380.

A Rich Malty Stout with a Hint of Sexism

Is the art of drinking artisanal beer another way to reinforce gender stereotypes?

Written by Adrianna Zabrzewska and based on Maggie Nanney, Nathaniel G. Chapman, J. Slade Lellock, and Julie Mikles-Schluterman’s article “Gendered Expectations, Gatekeeping, and Consumption in Craft Beer Spaces” published in Humanity and Society 44(4), 2020, pp. 449–468.

Pick Me Up

Far from being a hot-headed haven of selfishness and immaturity, pickup basketball is a welcoming and well-organized place. It provides informal mentoring on how to improve your game, how to get a job, and how you can deal with life’s everyday troubles.

Based on “Pickup Basketball in the Production of Black Community” by Francisco Vieyra in Qualitative Sociology in 2016 (39:101–123).

The Quilters

They rebel against a world in which women devote all their energy to others. They show that a woman’s self-expression and leisure time are as important as a man’s. They define and reinvent themselves independently of family and profession.

Written by Adrianna Zabrzewska based on a 2006 article by Marybeth C. Stalp, “Creating an Artistic Self: Amateur Quilters and Subjective Careers” published in Sociological Focus 39:3, pp. 193–216, DOI: 10.1080/00380237.2006.10571285

Doctor’s Orders

Compared to their wealthy compatriots, Canadian men on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder are more likely to choose an unhealthy lifestyle. And these men are less likely to survive one year after heart surgery. Why do these men in precarious health ignore doctor’s orders?

Based on Mathieu Savage, Alex Dumas, and Stephen A. Stuart. “Fatalism and short‐termism as cultural barriers to cardiac rehabilitation among underprivileged men.” Sociology of health & illness 35, no. 8 (2013): 1211-1226.

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