Sociological Review. August 2008, 56(3)

Dennis is anxious about 'virtual-vigilantism' - the dark side of growing decentralized surveillance (think cell-phone video). Combined with web2.0's ability to spread viral outrage, the danger of cruel and possibly dangerous web-lynchings is real. Possible solutions: get used to it... and stop being a jerk around cellphones.

Meah & Co. are chewing through the sex narratives of three generations of East Yorkshire families to examine transitions into adulthood and their connections to heterosexuality. Irreducible to the actual sex, heterosexual relations are presented as a broader family-monitored institution linked to adulthood.

Kaspersen & Gabriel take us through Elias's survival unit concept - an elementary social particle, lying at the end of a chain of dependencies, defined through the provision of safety, sustenance and the like. They're where the relational buck stops, so to speak, pointing us towards a consideration of conflict and war. Worth a read.

Backett-Milburn looks at Scottish women in low-paid food retailing, and their management of various obligations (domestic work, child and aged care etc.). Findings: jobs often needed to fit around caring duties, which were seen as primary. Where work grabs focus, home 'emergencies' will bring it back. Balancing moral identities (good mother, good daughter...) was a difficult and ongoing project. Finally the obligation mindset often also applies to work, provided the employer reciprocates.

Bourdieu's gender is très révolutionnaire. Yair links up his analyses to a preoccupation with 1789. The takeaway: without the ancien régime in mind you're missing a whole layer of Bourdieu.

Moor covers British brand consultancies (advertisers with a vaguer remit). Their attitude to research is ambivalent, there's a 'cult of creativity' (big egos), and their claims of being powerful cultural intermediaries might be a little overblown.

The Czech Republic's communist-party era educational inequalities and mobilities come into focus for Simonová. Increasing educational equality between men and women was the only obvious highlight. A brief increase in general mobility did occur, but it was a blip. The good bits probably had more to do with generally expanded education, and industrialization, than with any enlightened educational policy. Unlike trendy jeans and a decent selection of doughnut toppings, you'd think educational equality would be the sort of thing a state like that could have actually got right. Oh well...

Runciman is tired of Marx Weber and Durkheim: bring on Darwin. He points to an often automatic and ignorant dismissal of modern evolutionary thinking by sociologists (even if our models aren't quite as weak as the evolutionary types make out). There's a lot of value in the work of neo-Darwinian psychologists and philosophers, much of it directly applicable to sociological research. He cites a favorable example, where sociological work has evolutionary reasoning in play. The Viscount of Doxford has a point.