Writer Calls for Combating ‘Legal Forms of Oppression’


Issues in Science and Technology is the award-winning journal of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The University of Texas at Dallas, and Arizona State University.

In the cover story for the fall 2016 Issues in Science and Technology, Dr. Mary C. Waters, M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, contends that the problems of mass incarceration and undocumented immigration have created legal forms of oppression that, although not formally racist, have a disproportionate impact on African-American and Latino communities in the United States.

In order to bring ex-felons and undocumented immigrants into the formal economy, Waters argues that the U.S. needs a social movement not based on civil rights — having legally excluded former prisoners and the undocumented from civil society — but on the human right for social inclusion.

A path to the middle class — precisely what America’s exclusionary policies preclude for ex-felons and undocumented immigrants — is the subject of a special editorial package on middle-skill jobs. Essays by Dr. Alicia Sasser Modestino, Dr. Jonathan Rothwell, Dr. Bianca K. Frogner, Susan M. Skillman and Dr. Andrew Reamer explore the skills and jobs that can create a high-quality labor force and boost economic productivity. The pieces include an overview of the parts of the economy where technical skills are becoming ever-more necessary; a close look at the ways that technology is transforming job requirements; a deep dive into the rapidly evolving health care industry; and a call for better information to help both workers and policymakers make informed decisions.

In another special section, two experts provide their takes on the revision to the failed Toxic Substances Control Act. David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, provides an overview of the changes in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and the uncertainties that remain in protecting the public from harmful chemicals. Keith B. Belton, Pareto Policy Solutions LLC, and James W. Conrad Jr., of Conrad Law & Policy Council, focus on how the new act puts risk assessment at the center of the regulatory regime.

Other pieces in the fall issue include:

  • Sam Weiss Evans looks at the challenges posed by dual-use research of concern — the kind of scientific research that could be either beneficial or dangerous.
  • Liu Yongmou, a professor at Renmin University in China, evaluates the role of technocracy in shaping how China confronts social and technological problems.

Issues in Science and Technology is the award-winning journal of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and MedicineThe University of Texas at Dallas, and Arizona State University

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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