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Seven Journals Social Epidemiologists Should Be Reading

At Sixes and Sevens
Elizabeth Barnett Pathak

You may feel you don’t have time to read more of anything – it’s hard enough to keep up on the burgeoning literature in your own little corner of the kingdom, right? But these aren’t your mom’s medline journals. And I’m not talking about searching – I’m talking about reading. Searching (tweaking those keywords in pubmed) is what we do when we already know what we want and where we are going, and we need the citations to back us up. Reading is what we do when we are open to discovering something new. Reading gives us the opportunity to diverge in our thinking – a necessary counterpoint to our relentless convergence and specialization.
Some of you are old enough to remember the days (before the internet, kids) when it was exciting to go to the library and sit down in a chair with the new issue of Social Science and Medicine. We knew we’d find at least one truly thought-provoking article that could send our theories in an unexpected direction.
Check out the list below (in alphabetical order) – how many of these journals have you read lately? Stumble across something that sounds interesting, take the time to read it, and then experience the eureka moment when you find a theory, a method, a connection, or a reference that can give your own research a jolt of adrenaline.
Now remember, this post isn't titled "The Only Seven Journals ...."  I welcome your additions to the list in the comments section below.
Founded in 1936, this is the #1 journal (2013 impact factor = 4.3) in the field of sociology. Sociology is a foundational discipline for social epidemiologists. ASR publishes theory papers, demography, medical sociology, and social inequalities research. ASR articles will sometimes end up indexed in Pubmed, but you will find plenty of interest here beyond those papers. From the editors:
The mission of the American Sociological Review is to publish original works of interest to the discipline of sociology in general, new theoretical developments, results of research that advance understanding of fundamental social processes, and important methodological innovations.
Cool article from the current issue:
Racial Inequality Trends and the Intergenerational Persistence of Income and Family Structure Read
Deirdre Bloome
American Sociological Review December 2014 79: 1196-1225, doi:10.1177/0003122414554947
Why geography? Social epidemiologists are often interested in geographical issues, but sometimes we can't move beyond the "neighborhood" in our thinking about space and place. Geography is a theory-rich discipline and Antipode, founded in 1969, is an important thought leader in critical spatial studies.  From the editors:

Antipode is an academic journal but also more than this. It publishes peer review essays on geographical issues such as place, space, landscape, scale, human- environment relations, uneven development, boundaries, borders and connections. Antipode explores how space, place, border, scale and landscape both shape and are shaped by unequal social relations. It is essential reading for critical social scientists.

Cool article from the current issue:
Disparity Despite Diversity: Social Injustice in New York City's Urban Agriculture System  Read
Kristin Reynolds
Antipode, January 2015, Volume 47, Issue 1(pages 240–259)
Article first published online: 25 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/anti.12098
I know. Environmental Health Perspectives is a fairly mainstream biomedical journal (published by the US government) and many of you already read it. But I include it in this list for those of you who are trapped in a social/behavioral silo. If you're going to regularly explore a "sciencey" journal - EHP is your best bet. Founded in 1972, the journal has maintained editorial autonomy and has a strong track record of supporting environmental justice research.  From the editors:
The mission of Environmental Health Perspectives is to serve as a forum for the discussion of the interrelationships between the environment and human health by publishing high-quality research and news of the field. With an impact factor of 7.03, we are the third-ranked journal in Public, Environmental, and Occupational Health. We publish articles from a wide range of scientific disciplines encompassing basic research; epidemiologic studies; risk assessment; relevant ethical, legal, social, environmental justice, and policy topics; longitudinal human studies; and in vitro and in vivo animal research with a clear relationship to human health. Because children are uniquely sensitive to their environments, Environmental Health Perspectives devotes a research section specifically to issues surrounding children’s environmental health.
Cool article from the current issue:
Preconception Maternal and Paternal Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants and Birth Size: The LIFE Study Read
Candace A. Robledo, Edwina Yeung, Pauline Mendola, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Jose Maisog, Anne M. Sweeney, Dana Boyd Barr, and Germaine M. Buck Louis
Environmental Health Perspectives, January 2015, Page 88.
Public health practice and interventions often focus on patterns of consumer behavior (e.g. consumption of food, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs). The Journal of Consumer Culture is a multidisciplinary journal with an impact factor of 1.97, and is ranked #1 (out of 38) in Cultural Studies and #12 (out of 138) in Sociology. From the editors:

Global in perspective and drawing on both theory and empirical research, the Journal of Consumer Culture reflects the need to engage critically with modern consumer culture and to understand its central role in contemporary social processes.  The Journal of Consumer Culture brings together articles from the many social sciences and humanities in which consumer culture has become a significant focus. It also engages with overarching contemporary perspectives on social transformation, all of which give an unprecedented importance to consumption in understanding social processes at both local and global levels.

Cool article from the current issue:
Deconstructing a global commodity: Coffee, culture, and consumption in Japan Read
Helena Grinshpun 
Journal of Consumer Culture November 2014 14: 343-364, first published on May 22, 2013 doi:10.1177/1469540513488405
With an international group of editors and an impact factor of 4.39, Progress in Human Geography is the #2 ranked journal in the field of geography (out of 76 total). From the editors:

Progress in Human Geography is the peer-review journal of choice for those wanting to know about the state of the art in all areas of human geography research - philosophical, theoretical, thematic, methodological or empirical. Concerned primarily with critical reviews of current research, Progress in Human Geography enables a space for debate about questions, concepts and findings of formative influence in human geography. Five major strands - Perspectives, Reviews, Opinions, Biographies and Key Publications - make Progress in Human Geography the most innovative, distinctive and wide-ranging journal of human geography today. They enable it to offer critically informed and diverse accounts of the intellectual traditions and contemporary developments that shape and direct human geographical research and teaching.

Cool article from the current issue:
Rural geography II: Discourses of food and sustainable rural futures Read
John McDonagh
Progress in Human Geography December 2014 38: 838-844, first published on January 23, 2014 doi:10.1177/0309132513514507
 
Race & Class publishes original research, commentaries, and reviews, with an international focus on racism and social class. Founded in 1959 and published quarterly, each issue focuses on a single theme. Race & Class is ranked #4 (out of 15) among ethnic studies journals. Noam Chomsky said:  "Combines scholarship, insight and sympathy for the hopes and problems of the poor and oppressed people throughout the world. It is an achievement as significant as it is rare."  From the editors:

Race & Class contains contributions from scientists, artists, novelists, journalists, politicians and black and Third World activists and scholars. It is the foremost English language journal on racism and imperialism in the world today, for the breadth of its analysis, its global outlook and its multidisciplinary approach. Topics covered in Race & Class include: globalisation, popular culture, postcolonialism, black politics, European fascism, debt, indigenous peoples, legacies of empire, culture and identity, the information revolution, migration and trafficking, militarism and empire, national security, religion and race, and xeno-racism.

Cool article from the current issue:
German policing at the intersection: race, gender, migrant status and mental health Read
Eddie Bruce-Jones
Race & Class January-March 2015 56: 36-49, doi:10.1177/0306396814556223
The first issue of Social Forces was published in 1922. This is a truly cross-disciplinary social science journal. The current issue contains articles related to the following broad topic areas: economic inequality, sexuality, gender and family, gender and labor markets, education, political sociology, social networks, and volunteering.  The editors say:
Published in partnership with the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Social Forces is recognized as a global leader among social research journals. The journal emphasizes cutting-edge sociological inquiry and explores realms the discipline shares with psychology, anthropology, political science,
history, and economics.
Cool article from the current issue:
Sexual Subjectivity among Adolescent Girls: Social Disadvantage and Young Adult Outcomes  Read
Simon Cheng, Laura Hamilton, Stacy Missari, and Josef (Kuo-Hsun) Ma
Social Forces (2014) 93 (2): 515-544 doi:10.1093/sf/sou084
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