In the Spotlight

“Fracking” is a process for extracting natural gas by using hydraulically pressurized liquid to create cracks in deep-rock formations. In Oklahoma, many worry that fracking triggers earthquakes and contaminates ground water. On August 11, 2014, SSN’s Oklahoma chapter convened a lively discussion in Norman – with some highlights captured in a provocative news documentary.

Darrell M. West
Douglas Dillon Chair and Vice President of Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

More ostentatiously than at any time since the Gilded Age, super-wealthy tycoons are working to engineer electoral operations and push candidates, parties, and public officeholders to carry through favored policies. West reveals what is happening – and probes the downsides for democracy in the United States and beyond.

Christopher Jencks
Professor of Social Policy, Kennedy School, Harvard University

Disparities in market incomes have increased sharply in all large developed democracies, but the United States does the least to restrain runaway gains at the top and boost family incomes for the poor and middle class. Solutions are available – but only if Americans support government action.

Anna R. Haskins
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Cornell University

For youngsters across America, the first day of school is a moment of hope – but some 2.7 million children of fathers in prison may not be emotionally ready to learn. Black boys suffer the most according to an analysis of the school readiness of five-year-olds, setting the stage for U.S. racial inequalities to persist.

Peter Evans
Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, and Senior Fellow, Watson Institute, Brown University

Hard times can inspire new organizing strategies. As U.S. labor unions experiment with new organizing strategies at home, they are also building transnational coalitions to challenge global corporations.

Immigration reform is supported by businesses, churches, and most voters. In 2013 the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan reforms, but the GOP-led House has shunned compromise in favor of threats to deport all eleven million undocumented residents, including law-abiding workers, families, and young adults originally brought to this country as children. What are the roots and implications of this impasse? We asked nine SSN experts to weigh in.

In the News - View All -