Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Contexts, Vol. 17, Issue 3, (Summer 2018) pp. 12-21.

doi 10.1177/1536504218792521


Copyright ©2018 American Sociological Association; published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Grokking Modernity by Philip Schwadel

Resistance and the Art of Words by Rick Searle

A Planet Without Gender by Erica Deadman

Beware of Geeks with Good Intentions by Ijlal Naqvi

In this issue, our contributors take up these concerns in four short essays. Philip Schwadel applies theories of communicative functions to look at sci-fi ’s potential to shape our social understandings. Ijlal Naqvi returns to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation to argue that dreams of perfect social prediction will remain elusive and perhaps undesirable. Erica Deadman showcases how well LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness illustrates ideas from the sociology of gender. And Rick Searle looks at “micro-democracy” and the politics of Information in the recent Centenal Cycle books by sci-fi author (and trained sociologist!) Malka Older to find possibilities for alternative political futures.