The Power Elite and the State: How Policy Is Made in America

G. William Domhoff

“Domhoff presents a network theory of social power and new empirical findings on key policy issues of the 20th century.”

Publisher: Aldine de Gruyter
Paperback: 315 pages

Using Murder: The Social Construction of Serial Homicide

Philip Jenkins

What becomes propaganda? Serial killers are not the only animals who get off on their crimes. The serial murder boom (approximately from 1977 to 1991) set off a flurry of spin control by various groups, all attempting to link the purported crime spree to broader social issues, mostly of their own designs. The FBI decided they were in charge. Newspapers and television had a new fear to manipulate. Feminist groups spoke of “femicide,” nonexistent “Satanic cults” were created by true-crime authors, and crime fiction created a new genre of romantic Americana, the serial-killer novel. It’s the stuff we buy into every day. GR

Publisher: Aldine de Gruyter
Paperback: 262 pages

Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places

Laud Humphries

“But where does the average Joe go to get a blow job?” In 1970, a sociologist took his tools into the public toilets of America and answered the question. Masturbators, watch queens, straights, hustlers, chickens and voyeurs are some of the covert deviants sampled in this famous piece of sociological folklore. Chapters cover risks, foreplay, closet queens, signaling and related social-science concerns. Complete with charts and interviews. GR

Publisher: Aldine de Gruyter
Paperback: 328 pages

Making It Work: The Prostitutes Rights Movement in Perspective

Valerie Jenness

The time: Mother’s Day, 1973. The place: San Francisco, California. The event: the founding, by former working-girl Margo St. James, of what has become the United States’ premier prostitutes’ rights organization, COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). While decriminalization of prostitution is COYOTE’s main goal, of equal importance has been their claim that “to deny a woman the option to work as a prostitute, under the conditions of her own choosing, is a violation of her civil rights.” In Making It Work, sociologist Valerie Jenness studied COYOTE in order to analyze “the reconstruction of a social problem and the normalization of deviance.” As such, she traces the history of prostitutes’ rights in the U.S. and its relationship to the gay-and-lesbian and women’s rights movements, as well as the effect of the AIDS epidemic upon it. Of particular interest is her chapter positioning COYOTE’s rhetoric within and against the larger discourses of contemporary feminism. While Making It Work is largely academic in nature, lay (ahem!) readers will find Jenness’ account of COYOTE and its flamboyant leader, St. James (who in 1996 missed being elected to a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by only the slimmest of margins), highly informative and entertaining reading. LP

Publisher: Aldine de Gruyter
Paperback: 150 pages