Contexts: Reframing Sociological Journalism (by Angie O’Brien)

Philip Cohen, the world-renowned sociologist and admired blogger, can add another accomplishment to his extensive CV: Contexts editor.

Contexts, a journal published by the American Sociological Association, is reputed by sociologists as an effective “catch-up” on the latest sociological news. It’s known for both in-depth features and concise summaries on the latest breakthroughs. However, Cohen plans to take the journal in a new direction.

Contexts is supposed to be the magazine that the sociologist uses to speak to the larger public. Additionally, it allows sociologists with different specialties to effectively communicate their research to each other at the general level.”

However, Contexts readership predominantly consists of sociologists. As editor, Cohen aims to broaden the journal’s readership.

“We would like to make it so that non-sociologists read it more often. Two ways we want to accomplish that are by revamping the website and putting more timely, short and generally-interesting content up there. Most of the subscribers are ASA members who get the magazine as a function of their membership. But, through the website, people can read a lot of [Contexts]. Some already do, such as students. However, we really want to open [Contexts] up and get more readers.”

Cohen’s plans include: easy-to-read listicles, larger social media presence, and videos.He is also offering a Contexts seminar in the spring open to UMD graduate students interested in writing for the journal. contexts-cover


Contexts can be accessed at

Angie is a 1st Year Graduate Student.

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