From Publishers Weekly
In the 1990s,the immensely successful sitcom Seinfeld
brilliantly used humor to reveal America's obsession with moral behavior. Delaney, who teaches sociology at the State University of New York, Oswego, claims the show examines the same issues as sociology: race, ethnicity, deviance, crime, and personal relationships. True, Seinfeld
offered layered and sophisticated observations about social interactions. But Delaney's analysis is superficial. Obvious statements like "The police have a tough job" and "Social interaction plays an important role in an individual's life" are followed by plot summaries from various episodes. While Delaney aims for a chatty style, his personal comments are sophomoric: "There are a number of behaviors that are not criminal but perhaps should be. For example, 'picking your nose' in public, I believe, should be illegal." His tedious writing is rife with repetition. Seinfeld
is an ideal forum to illuminate social norms and anxieties, and worthy of serious academic critique; alas, this shallow offering isn't it. (Mar.)
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"Delaney offers a unique and entertaining look at many sociologically relevant social topics covered in the popular Seinfeld television sitcom....the book has a number of strengths....[he] does such an excellent job describing each segment, including giving the necessary background information, that even students who are unfamiliar with the show could easily follow along....the book is written in a very clear, understandable, and down-to-earth style that would most likely be a welcome relief for most students from the standard textbook format....finally, the book and its many Seinfeld examples are entertaining. At various points while reading I found myself laughing out loud....it would probably be extremely useful for popular culture, media and society, and similar courses."
Journal of the American Sociological Association
"This book is an engaging and entertaining way to learn basic sociological concepts and perspectives. Tim knows his sociology and knows his Seinfeld. He writes in a jargon-free, reader-friendly style, whether the reader is a student in an introductory sociology course, an advanced sociology student, or just a fan of Seinfeld. Tim is truly master of his domain. No yadda-yadda here. You’ll be amazed at what Seinfeld and Delaney can teach you about work, gender, sex, crime, family, religion, sports, aging, and death. I recommend this book to everyone interested in painlessly learning more about the sociologist’s take on life."
Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology
State University of New York at Oswego
"Delaney takes a brilliant approach to understanding sociology, one that students will both enjoy and understand. Through episodes of Seinfeld, Delaney illustrates sociology to the reader that any audience can identify with. Pairing sociological concepts with Seinfeld’s humor he creates Seinology. In doing this Tim Delaney takes us through the major fields in the discipline providing real examples of how sociology can be seen in daily activities. This book would make an excellent reader for any introduction to sociology or media class."
Cherylynn Bassani, Ph.D.
Researcher and Instructor
University of British Columbia