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February 04, 2003

Contexts Magazine Wins American Publishers' "Best Journal" Award

WASHINGTON, DC--The American Sociological Association (ASA) and the University of California Press (UC Press) are pleased to announce that the quarterly magazine Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds has been named as "the best journal in the social sciences for 2002" by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). AAP, a New York City-based national publishing organization, gave this coveted award to Contexts here today at AAP's annual awards ceremony for magazines reviewed by its Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division. Introduced in 2002, Contexts is published for ASA by UC Press.

Contexts extends sociological research to both social scientists and general audience readers. With a grand purpose and careful execution by its founding association, publisher, and editorial staff, Contexts has taken shape as a "crossover" publication, in which the latest scholarship is combined with engaging, accessible content. Launched in February 2002, the magazine has a fast-growing international subscriber base.

Reacting to the AAP award, ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman remarked, "The ASA is absolutely thrilled that Contexts is being recognized within its first year of existence by such a significant award. Congratulations go to Claude Fischer for his thoughtful and creative editorial leadership and his incredibly hard work in launching a new journal."

Hillsman further commented that in its initial commitment to develop the magazine, ASA and former Executive Officer Felice J. Levine dove into the project "with eyes wide open about the demanding world of publishing. But since our earliest work developing this new magazine, sociologists have recognized the profound importance of its mission. We could not be more pleased to have our perspective legitimized by the professional publishing community."

Since its inception, Contexts has tested the limits of sociological inquiry, consistently redefining academic boundaries. Claude Fischer, of the University of California-Berkeley and the magazine's executive editor, said, "As an experiment with an overwhelmingly positive outcome, Contexts has successfully convinced the publishing world that a sociological journal can adapt to and meet the dynamic needs of the field's practitioners and audience, without sacrificing professional integrity."

In a similar vein, UC Press Journals Division Director Rebecca Simon, noted, "The AAP award is a wonderful affirmation of ASA's vision of Contexts as a forum where all social scientists and interested citizens can learn about and discuss the most vital issues of our society. We are very proud to have collaborated with the ASA in migrating sociological research from the 'ivory tower' into the real world."

Further information on Contexts can be found at The website includes a preview of current articles, timely press releases and subscription information. Eventually it will include searchable abstracts.

The American Sociological Association, which began Contexts' development in 1998, continues to forge new paths in sociology. The Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to advancing the field as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. With approximately 13,000 members, ASA serves sociologists who are faculty members at colleges and universities, researchers, practitioners, and students. ASA publishes ten sociological journals including Contexts magazine.

The University of California Press produces 32 journals annually, including Film Quarterly, Asian Survey, and the award-winning Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. As one of the oldest scholarly publishers in the United States, the Press commands a distinctive repertoire of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences, with concentrations in sociology, history, cultural studies, musicology, law and area studies.

The Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division of the Association of American Publishers is composed of university presses and professional societies, publishing in the areas of science, medicine, technology, business, law, and the humanities.

Media interested in setting up an interview regarding Contexts, should contact Johanna Ebner in the ASA Public Information Office at (202) 383-9005 x332 or To request a review copy of Contexts (ISSN: 1536-5042), contact Darcy Dapra of UC Press at (510) 642-9736 or e-mail

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About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.