Bookbeat: April 1997

Private Lives, Public Conflicts: Battles Over Gay Rights in American Communities  Private Lives, Public Conflicts: Battles Over Gay Rights in American Communities

by James Button (Political Science), Barbara Rienzo and Kenneth Wald (Political Science)
(CQ Press, 1997)
Available through Amazon

The battle over rights for gays and lesbians is a major part of the culture war currently being waged in communities throughout the United States. Private Lives, Public Conflicts explores the cutting edge of civil rights - the grass-roots movement for legal protection on the basis of sexual orientation.

- Publisher


Throughout American history gay identity has remained hidden because of an atmosphere of pervasive hostility to homosexual expression. In the dominant Judeo-Christian tradition, "homosexual behavior was excoriated as a heinous sin, the law branded it as serious crime, and the medical profession diagnosed homosexuals and lesbians as diseased."...This environment made it extremely difficult to formulate gay identity or to locate a homosexual subculture... Under these oppressive conditions, it is surprising that a major gay political movement was ultimately able to emerge.

The New Language of Qualitative Method The New Language of Qualitative Method

by Jaber Gubrium, Department of Sociology, and James Holstein
(Oxford University Press, 1997)
Available through Amazon

In recent years scholars and researchers in all disciplines have moved away from traditional quantitative methods of research to more qualitative methods that emphasize questions of meaning and interpretation. Considering research methodologies as a set of idioms, The New Language of Qualitative Method examines alternate vocabularies for conveying social reality.

- Publisher


If we accept the tenet that knowledge is humanly produced, it's not hard to conceive of sites of method talk as knowledge factories - places where the work of knowledge construction takes place. Extending the metaphor, colleges and universities stand out as production sites, since nearly all social researchers have professional ties to these institutions. A good way to hear method talk, then, might be to visit a production site, to drop in on a first-rate, if make-believe, department of sociology where research is the order of the day.

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