John Baugher is a sociologist and the Associate Director for Contemplative Learning at the University of Virginia’s Contemplative Sciences Center, whose teaching and research are in the areas of social psychology, including death, dying, and bereavement. According to Baugher, there is pressure around this time of year to be joyful and upbeat, but the holiday season is often a time of sadness both from seasonal change and personal loss (e.g., a family member died in the spring or summer, and this will be the first Christmas without them).
Alex Bierman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, whose areas of expertise include mental health and religion. A co-editor of the Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health (Second Edition) and a former deputy editor of the Sociology of Religion journal, Bierman has published on religion and well-being, as well as stress and mental health.
Daniel Cook is a Professor of Childhood Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University-Camden. A former Chair of the ASA’s Section on Consumers and Consumption, Cook’s research focuses on the rise of children as consumers in the United States, presently and historically. In particular, he explores the various ways in which tensions between “the child” and “the market” play themselves out in areas of children’s consumer culture, such as advertising, food, rituals, clothing, and media. Cook is the author of the book, The Commodification of Childhood: The Children’s Clothing Industry and the Rise of the Child Consumer, as well as numerous studies including: “Knowing the Child Consumer: Historical and Conceptual Insights on Qualitative Children’s Consumer Research” and “The Disempowering Empowerment of Children’s Consumer ‘Choice’: Cultural Discourses of the Child Consumer in North America.”
Sharon Zukin is a Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and at the CUNY Graduate Center. The Chair of the ASA's Section on Consumers and Consumption, her areas of expertise include consumer society and consumer culture. Zukin authored the book, Point of Purchase: How Shopping Changed American Culture, which explores the forces that have made shopping so central to our lives: the rise of consumer culture, the never-ending quest for better value, and shopping's ability to help us improve our social status and attain new social identities.