Joseph E. Davis


Joseph E. Davis is Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and moderator of the Picturing the Human colloquy at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. His latest book is Chemically Imbalanced: Everyday Suffering, Medication, and our Troubled Quest for Self-Mastery.

The Basis of Everything

from Missing Character, Volume 26, Number 1

The growing damage to truthfulness reflects something more—not just a personal discrepancy but a deep social discrepancy as well.

Mental Medicine

from By Theory Possessed, Volume 25, Number 1

More disorder, more screening, more care: the familiar talking points, all dutifully repeated.

How to Be Yourself

from Authenticity, Volume 23, Number 3

How is an alignment of the authentic self and the college admissions process possible?

Social Physics Comes to the Workplace

from Questioning the Quantified Life, Volume 22, Number 2

Nowhere has the power of disembodied observation become more pervasive than in the workplace.

No Country for Old Age

from The Evening of Life, Volume 20, Number 3

The normative appeal of the new gerontology to individual autonomy and responsibility makes it even clearer that “failure” is precisely what is at stake.

Big Promises, Unfulfilled Expectations

from The Meaning of Cities, Volume 19, Number 2

The overselling of possible cures and even the eradication of diseases has yielded vast outlays for genetic and stem cell research.

Pink Pills and Economic Man

from Work in the Precarious Economy, Volume 18, Number 1

Mysteriously, biologically, men and women want, or want to want, “the same thing.”

Minding Our Minds

from Minding Our Minds, Volume 16, Number 2

Demands on our attention come from the informational environments and shared physical spaces we inhabit. At issue are ethical questions about the conduct of civic life.

The American Dream

from The American Dream, Volume 15, Number 2

How the American Dream—hope in the future—competes in these times with a pervasive pessimism.

From the Editors

from The American Dream, Volume 15, Number 2

What constitutes the public good of a liberal education?

Martin Luther King and the American Dream

from The American Dream, Volume 15, Number 2

MLK’s American Dream always appealed to the value of equality.

Science and Moral Life

from Science and Moral Life, Volume 15, Number 1

The successful marketing of the “new science of morality” suggests its considerable allure for the popular imagination.

Work and Dignity

from Work and Dignity, Volume 14, Number 3

Work is not just an economic matter. Beyond survival, a range of other human values and ideals are at stake.

The Roots of the Arab Spring

from The Roots of the Arab Spring, Volume 13, Number 3

While structures of power may change quickly, the building of a new social order is a longer and more precarious process.

From the Editors

from The Shifting Experience of Self, Volume 13, Number 1

The rate of change, the kinds of change, and the scope of change taking place today are impossible to understand without also looking at the ways they are affecting societies and how we understand and experience ourselves and others.

The Shifting Experience of Self

from The Shifting Experience of Self, Volume 13, Number 1

We know very little about what we are doing, why we do it, or how we feel about it.

The Shifting Experience of Self

from The Shifting Experience of Self, Volume 13, Number 1

Social and cultural change, from the rise of the “information economy” to changes in family life to the technological mediation of our relationships, is happening all around us.

From the Editors

from Does Religious Pluralism Require Secularism?, Volume 12, Number 3

Thinking more deeply about how we can inhabit the public sphere with others.

Painful Numbers

from The Phantom Economy, Volume 12, Number 2

While most people have felt the effects of the recession, there are acute disparities between people.

The Phantom Economy

from The Phantom Economy, Volume 12, Number 2

The highly abstract and immaterial phantom economy is inextricable from the “real economy.”

Adolescents and the Pathologies of the Achieving Self

from Youth Culture, Volume 11, Number 1

Adolescents can and often do live under considerable stress.

The Commodification of Self

from The Commodification of Everything, Volume 5, Number 2

The shaping and conditioning of our self-understanding by consumption is one form of the commodification of self. 

Healing the Fragmented Self

from Identity, Volume 1, Number 1

Despite predictions to the contrary, questions of subjectivity and multiple identities have reemerged with a new force and a new urgency.

Identity and Social Change: A Short Review

from Identity, Volume 1, Number 1

A review of the literature on identity and social change.

Interview with Sherry Turkle

from Identity, Volume 1, Number 1

“We live an increasingly fragmented, multi-roled existence.”

No Longer an Extraordinary Event

Our exploitive relationship to the natural order is greatly magnifying the possibility of spillover and increasing virus virulence.

What We're Reading This Summer

Summer reads from THR staff and friends.