• Are Trade Shocks to Blame for Our Extremist Politics?

    Researchers Hunt for the Missing Link Between Import Imbalances and Populist Anger

    By Christian Dippel, Robert Gold, Stephan Heblich, and Rodrigo Pinto

    Does economic competition from low-wage manufacturing countries like China make politics in Western countries more polarized?
        The short answer is yes. The harder, unanswered question is: How, exactly? ...

  • From the Wreckage of the '92 Riots, a Better Los Angeles Rises

    After 25 Years, a More Diverse, Civic-Minded City Is Embracing Its Shared Destiny

    By Roberto Suro and Gary Painter

    Luxury condominiums compete with foreign banks on the new skyline of Koreatown. On a Saturday night, 20-somethings crowd the sidewalks, huddling around food trucks, circling in and out of karaoke bars, biryani places, barbecue joints, and a high-rise driving ...

New at Zócalo

Why the Census Must Frame the Right Questions on Race and National Origin

Getting Precise Data Affects Billions in Federal Dollars and Shapes Public Policy

By Jennifer Lee

Like most Americans, I spent most of my life not appreciating the herculean effort the U.S. Census Bureau undertakes every 10 years.
    Since its inception in 1790, the U.S. Census has aimed to count every living person in the country, and the stakes are high. The results of the census determine the allocation of hundreds of billions of federal dollars, which affect every slice of American life.
    In order to do so, the Census must ask Americans the right questions—and give them the right options for their answers. It seems relatively simple, but—as I learned in 2013, when I became a member of the Committee on Population Statistics of the Population Association of ...

How Solving the Mystery of a Classic French Novel Could Curb Police Violence

A Sociologist Finds Clues in Camus’s The Stranger That Tension Triggers Excess Force

By Randall Collins

Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger contains one of the most famous acts of violence in all literature. A man kills someone he doesn’t know, without immediate provocation, in broad daylight. Though the incident is usually read for its philosophical or literary value, it’s also rich in sociological evidence. As a sociologist, the mystery that most interests me is why, after shooting his antagonist once, does Camus’s protagonist deliberately pump four more shots into the body? Camus never explains it. Sociology can, though, revealing some surprisingly applicable lessons in The Stranger when it comes to preventing contemporary police violence. ...

Video Highlights

  • Populist anger is shaking the world, epitomized by the U.K.’s vote to “Brexit” the EU and even the election of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. In the U.S., Donald Trump’s election has transformed populist anger into political power. Is a worldwide populist wave inevitable? ...

Connecting California/Joe Mathews

  • Why Nevada Should Get Hitched—to California

    The Golden and Silver States Share a Certain Moral Flexibility, and a Big Enemy in Washington

    Dearest Nevada,
        Marry me.
        My proposal may seem sudden, but ours shouldn’t be one of those late-night quickie weddings at a chapel off the Strip.
        I, California, want a real grown-up ...

  • Golden Gate Bridge Train Service? It’s Time to Get on Board

    California's Iconic Span Needs Rail Transit, Both for Symbolism and for Sonoma's Sake

    If California is as serious about public transit as its urban leaders claim, why isn’t there a commuter rail service running over the Golden Gate Bridge? ...

  • Stop Blaming California for Donald Trump

    It's Not the Golden State's Fault That Its Diversity and Success Sparked a Backlash

    Is California to blame for Donald Trump?
        That may seem a preposterous question to ask of a state that voted so decisively against the new American president that it was responsible, all by itself, for his loss of the popular vote. It seems even stranger given California’s near-total resistance to ...