Glassner, Barry 1952-

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Glassner, Barry 1952-


Born July 18, 1952, in Roanoke, VA; son of Myron (in business) and Eva (a teacher and homemaker) Glassner; married Jyoti Manseta (divorced); married Betsy Amster (an editor), June, 1987. Education: Northwestern University, B.S., 1974; received M.A.; Washington University, Ph.D., 1977.


Home—Los Angeles, CA. Office—Department of Sociology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089. Agent—Geri Thoma, Elaine Markson Literary Agency, Inc., 44 Greenwich Ave., New York, NY 10011. E-mail—[email protected].


Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 1978-88, began as assistant professor, became professor of sociology and department chair; University of Connecticut, Storrs, professor of sociology and department chair, 1988-91; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, professor of sociology and department chair, 1991—; writer.


American Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, American Civil Liberties Union, Klanwatch.


Best book citation, Choice, 1987.


(With J. Freedman) Clinical Sociology, Longman (New York, NY), 1979.

Essential Interactionism, Routledge & Kegan Paul (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Jonathan D. Moreno) Discourse in the Social Sciences: Strategies for Translating Models of Mental Illness, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1982.

(With others) Time and Aging: Conceptualization and Application in Sociological and Gerontological Research, General Hall (Bayside, NY), 1982.

(With David Sylvan) A Rationalist Methodology for the Social Sciences, Basil Blackwell (Boston, MA), 1985.

(With Julia Loughlin) Drugs in Adolescent Worlds: Burnouts to Straights, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.

Bodies, Putnam (New York, NY), 1988.

(With J. Moreno) Qualitative/Quantitative Distinction in the Social Sciences, Kluwer (Norwell, MA), 1989.

Career Crash: America's New Crisis-And Who Survives, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, Basic Books (New York), 1999.

(Editor, with Rosanna Hertz) Qualitative Sociology as Everyday Life, Sage (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1999.

(Editor, with Rosanna Hertz) Our Studies, Ourselves: Sociologists' Lives and Work, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.

The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know about Food Is Wrong, Ecco (New York, NY), 2007.

Editor, Qualitative Sociology.


Barry Glassner, a professor of sociology, focuses his research on American culture and the things that motivate people, including fears and what Americans prefer to eat. He is the author of several books, both academic and those meant for a more general readership. In The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, Glassner addresses the ways in which people behave when they are afraid, in particular looking at how fear can feed off of itself and spread like an epidemic. He looks at the 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, where most listeners were so prepared to believe in an alien invasion that they ignored the signs during the broadcast that they were listening to nothing more than a clever piece of entertainment. Then he refers to more modern examples, including current issues of insufficient health care and a decline in funding for schools. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that "virtually everyone will leave this book with a more realistic, guardedly optimistic world view."

Glassner's The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know about Food Is Wrong looks at the popular subject of what Americans eat and why their relationship with food is so unhealthy and unrealistic. Food is an inextricable part of American culture, from watching celebrity chefs on television to counting grams of fat or carbohydrates. Glassner suggests that the real issue is the amount of time Americans devote to thinking about food when they are not eating instead of taking the time to enjoy a meal when it is time to eat it. He also addresses social stances such as blaming obesity on fast food restaurants, pointing out that no one is forcing people to purchase fast food or to eat it. Kim Severson, in a contribution for the New York Times Book Review Online Web site, commented that "although his book delivers some convincing arguments, Glassner also makes many points that aren't all that shocking." Ingrid Levin, in a review for Library Journal, wrote: "Glassner succeeds in making a persuasive case that Americans take their concern over healthy eating to unnecessarily extreme levels."



Library Journal, November 1, 2006, Ingrid Levin, review of The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know about Food Is Wrong, p. 100.

Publishers Weekly, March 1, 2004, review of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, p. 29.


New York Times Book Review Online, (March 11, 2007), Kim Severson, "Fed Up."