Loyola University Chicago

Department of Sociology


J. Talmadge Wright, PhD

Title/s:  Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Specialty Area: Homelessness, Social Inequality, Critical Social, Cultural Theory, Social-Physical Space, Gender, Mass Media and Popular Culture


CV Link: CV_Wright_Talmadge


‌Dr. Wright's current research uses a cultural sociological perspective to investigate the relationship between contemporary work and play focusing on the ritualistic and social character of digital gaming. Special emphasis is given to those who play first person shooter games (FPS) on-line, i.e. Counter-Strike and Massive Multi-player On-Line Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), i.e. World of Warcraft. These studies examine the meaning of on-line digital game playing for participants, the diversity of social relationships that emerge out of such play, and the role of digital game culture in the contemporary division of labor. This research also examines the relationship between consumption, gender, visual media, play and pleasure, and a critical understanding of social inequality and development.

The second project is an in-depth examination of media representations of homeless persons and the housing question n a small regional city of the San Francisco Bay Area. Stories about homeless persons and families were collected between 1995 and 2015 from Sonoma County’s Press Democrat newspaper, coded and compared for the types of representations, event analysis, constructed through the “framing” of charity, autonomy, control, and educational narratives.

Previously, Dr. Wright researched the usage of social space, survival strategies of homeless persons and city housing and redevelopment policies in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay region, and in Orange County, California. He has also published work on marketing, architectural design and popular culture, social theory and social-physical space.


PhD, Social Science
University of California, Irvine, 1985

MA, Social Science
University of California, Irvine, 1980

BA, Psychology
Sonoma State University, 1972

Selected Publications

“Interdisciplinarity, Post-Disciplinarity, and Anomic Specialization: Where Do We Locate Sociology?”co-authors David G. Embrick and Kelsey Henke, Humanity & Society, 39 (3): June. 2015. 267-273.

Producing the Social in Virtual Realms. In Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play: New Research in Digital Media and Technology. (2012). David Embrick, Talmadge Wright and Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Lexington Books. 63–84

Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play: New Research in Digital Media and Technology. (2012). David Embrick, Talmadge Wright and Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Lexington Press. This is the second volume designed to work with our first volume on play, technology and sociology.

Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play. (2010). David Embrick, Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. An edited volume which examines the relationship between sociology, play and digital technology.

Media and Violence: From Media Effects to Moral Panics. In Battleground: the Media, edited by Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. NY: Praeger Press. 2008. 549–557.

Themed Environments and Virtual Spaces: Video Games, Violent Play and Digital Enemies. In The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, edited by Scott A. Lukas. NY: Lexington Books. 2007. Referred publication. 247–270.

Learning to Play: Game Entry, Male Peer Friendship Networks and FPS Digital Games. Gamers in Society, Play in Culture, Third Annual Game Studies Seminar, University of Tampere Game Research Lab, Tampere, Finland, April 2007

: Video gaming and the pleasures and anxieties of symbolic violence. Midwest Sociological Society, Omaha, Nebraska. April 2006.

w/ co-author Anne Roschelle. Gentrification and Social Exclusion: Spatial Policing and Homeless Activist Responses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Urban Futures:Critical Commentaries on Shaping Cities, edited by Malcom Miles and Tim Hall. London: Routledge press. 2003, pg. 149–166.

w/ co-author Paul Breidenbach. Virtual Violence, Social Meaning and Gender: Competition and Cooperation Between FPS Game Players. Conference on the Challenge of Computer Games, Department of Media and Audio-Visual Culture, University of Lodz, Poland. October 2002.

w/ co-authors, Paul Briedenbach and Eric Boria. Creative Player Actions in FPS On-Line Video Games: Playing Counter-Strike. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research. V. 2, #2, December 2002.

Resisting Homelessness: Global, National, and Local Solutions. Contemporary Sociology. V. 29, #1, 27–43. Symposium—Utopian Visions: Engaged Sociologies for the 21st Century. 2000.

New Urban Spaces and Cultural Representations: Social Imagineries, Social Space, and Homelessness. Researching Urban Sociology, V.5. JAI Press. New Perspectives in Urban Sociology Series. 23–57. 2000.

Outstanding Scholarship Award for Out of Place: Homeless Mobilizations, Subcities and Contested Landscapes. Marxist Section, American Sociological Association. 1998.

Out of Place: Homeless Mobilization, Subcities and Contested Landscapes. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1997. This work explores the relationship between homeless group mobilizations, cultural representations and contested social spaces within the cities of Chicago, Illinois and San Jose, California.

Huth, Mary Jo and Wright, Talmadge (eds.). International Critical Perspectives on Homelessness. Praeger Publishers. An edited volume incorporating revised papers presented at several panels on homelessness at the XIII World Congress of Sociology in 1994, Bielefeld, Germany. 1997

w/ co-author Hutchinson, Ray.Socio-Spatial Reproduction and the Built Environment: Marketing Culture and Urban Change. Researching Urban Sociology, V.4. JAI Press. New Perspective in Urban Sociology Series. 187–214. 1997

New City Spaces, Social Exclusions, and Cultural Representations: Connecting Theory and Practice. Stadtentwicklung und Obdachlosigkeit in Berlin: Conference on City Restructuring and Homelessness. Sponsored by the J.F. Kennedy Institute, Freire Universität Berlin. Berlin, Germany. October 1997