Skip Navigation Linksbooks

​​About Us

Pop Culture Panics: How Moral Crusaders Construct Meanings of Deviance and Delinquency

Why was pinball banned in New York between 1942 and 1976? Why were comic books the target of Senate hearings in the 1950s? Why do some people want to ban Harry Potter? 

POP CULTURE PANICS explores these and other attempts by moral crusaders to "purify" society by limiting, banning, or reducing access to video games, movies, music, and other forms of popular culture. In the process, activists redefine the meanings of deviance and delinquency.

Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Social Mobility

"In this lively hundred-year history of  the American Dream and Reality, Karen Sternheimer shows how the Hollywood Dream Factory promoted that fantasy of opportunity and distorted the reality of inequality and social frustration. With a masterly understanding of social and economic trends and a skillful freading of the celebrity industry, she shows how the stories of stars shaped how Americans understood their own stories."

-Gary Cross, Pennsylvania State University


Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is Not the Answer

"Karen Sternheimer's new book is a treasure and should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in media research, sociology, social policy, and free expression. Her elegant, concise review of key scholarship proves beyond a doubt that popular culture does not cause destructive behavior and makes a passionate call for the need to address the real roots of social ills in our troubled times: poverty, inequality, and an ailing educational system. More than just an excellent read, Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture is an important book."

-Barna Donovan, Saint Peter's University


kids these days.jpg

Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions About Today's Youth

"Kids These Days makes a critically needed contribution to our understanding of modern youth and their distorted image in the popular media. It is both intellectually stimulating and accessible to a wide variety of readers, including young people themselves. There is an avalanche of perfectly awful, same-themed books by popular and academic authors, but Sternheimer takes a radically different approach and has produced a book that freshens this stifling, sterile climate with dramatically new information."

-Mike Males, University of California, Santa Cruz

its not the media cover.jpg

It's Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture's Influence on Children

"A clear, sane summary of what's wrong with 'blaming the media' for social ills, and a passionate argument for supporting and educating our young people rather than regulating and demonizing them. Sternheimer shows brilliantly how the comforting but unproven belief that fantasy violence causes real-world harm deflects attention from our own responsibility for economic inequality, grossly inadequate public education, and other real-world causes of youthful despair."

-Marjorie Heins, Director, Free Expression Policy Project

everyday sociology reader.jpgEveryday Sociology Reader

A lively mix of traditional readings, blog posts, and activities to help students connect sociology to their own lives.

Everyday Sociology Reader combines classic and contemporary readings by sociologists and seeks to meet students where they are, offering observations on popular culture, family life, news events, and other aspects of everyday life. Posts from the Everyday Sociology Blog and traditional readings have been chosen for their relevance and readability; all are written in an engaging manner in order to engage students new to sociology and sociological thinking.
childhood reader.jpgChildhood in American Society: A Reader

The thirty four readings in Childhood in American Society examine how how definitions of "normal" and "ideal" childhood change across place and time, and vary with differences of race, class, and gender. They challenge traditional development and socialization approaches to studying childhood, and  provide many examples based on ethnographies with children.

​​ ​