On Halloween morning 2013, we were joined by the world’s leading authority on contemporary legends about poisoned Halloween candy, Joel Best, professor in UD’s department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. After debunking that urban legend, Joel talked one of the projects he worked on during his recent sabbatical: research into the contemporary legend about middle schoolers’ “sex bracelets” and “rainbow parties.” Both of these recurring stories, like the Halloween one, stem from our fear for children, their lives, their alleged sexual behavior; our fear for our children represents our fears for the future.
Next, we talked about the work he and his son Eric have done investigating and commenting on the growth of student loans and the implications of that growth for students, taxpayers, colleges, and the government. Their book, The Student Loan Mess, is due out in May 2014.
Listen to the interview
Joel Best, UD department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
About our guest
Joel Best joined UD’s faculty as a Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice in 1999. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has published more than twenty books on deviance and social problems.
- UD Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
- Professor Joel Best (Official UD page)
- Top award for sociologist who debunks conventional wisdom (UD Messenger, Volume 20, Number 2, August 2012
Recent UDaily stories:
- Joel Best to deliver Francis Alison inaugural lecture (2/11/13)
- Joel Best tells the graduates during doctoral hooding ceremony that the advanced degree grants them great independence (1/7/13)
- Bad statistics can affect decision-making and funding that help to shape policy (9/28/11)
- Books in Brief: Everyone’s a Winner (2/22/11)