Talmadge Wright

  • Lecturer in Sociology, Sonoma State University
  • Loyola University Chicago Professor Emeritus in Sociology

Contact Information

Email: wrightjo@sonoma.edu
Voicemail: 707.664.2708
Fax: 707.664.3928
Office: Stevenson 2084

Areas of Expertise

Homelessness, Social Inequality, Critical Sociological, Urban and Cultural Theory, Social-Physical Space, Gender, Social Movements, Mass Media and Popular Culture, Digital Gaming.

Academic Interests

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 in 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.

Courses Offered

  • SOCI 375: Sociological Theory

Selected Past Courses Taught:

Sonoma State University - Systemic Sociological Theory, Socialization, Family Systems, Methods: Urban Sociology, Mass Communication Theory and Research

Loyola University Chicago – (Undergraduate classes): Self and Society; Sociological Theory; Sociology of Play/Digital Gaming, Introduction to Sociology, Mass Media and Popular Culture, Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis, Social Inequality, Social Problems, Sociology Internships, Social Movements of the 1960s and Beyond, Social Theory and Social Research, Urban Seminar.

Loyola University Chicago – (Graduate classes): Sociology of Play, Inequality and Society, Housing and Homelessness, Qualitative Methods, Sociological Perspectives II, Topics in Contemporary Society: Mass Media, Topics in Contemporary Society: Homelessness, Urban Sociology, Urban Seminar, Modern Social Theory

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. 267-273. 2015
  • Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play. David G. Embrick and Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press. Refereed publication. 2012
  • “Producing the Social in Virtual Realms.” In Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play, edited byDavid G. Embrick, Talmadge Wright and Andras Lukacs. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press. 63-84. Refereed publication. 2012
  • “Social Justice, Ethics and Advocacy in Street Research,” In Professional Lives, Personal Struggles, edited by Martha Trenna Valado and Randall Amster. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press. 11-26.  Refereed publication. 2012
  • Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play. David G. Embrick and Andras Lukacs, co-editors. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press. Refereed publication. 2010
  • “Media and Violence: From Media Effects to Moral Panics.” In Battleground: the Media, edited by Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. NY: Praeger Press. 549-557. 200
  • “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. Refereed publication. 247-270. 2007.
  • “Gentrification and Social Exclusion: Spatial Policing and Homeless Activist Responses in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Anne Roschelle, co-author. In Urban Futures, edited by Malcom Miles and Tim Hall. NY: Routledge. Refereed publication. 149-166. 2003
  • “Creative Player Actions in FPS On-Line Video Games: Playing Counter-Strike.” Paul Briedenbach and Eric Boria, co-authors. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research. Vol. 2, #2. Http://www.gamestudies.org,  Refereed publication. 2002.
  • “Resisting Homelessness: Global, National, and Local Solutions.” Contemporary Sociology. V.29, #1, Symposium - Utopian Visions: Engaged Sociologies for the 21st Century. Refereed publication. 27-43. 2000
  • “New Urban Spaces and Cultural Representations: Social Imaginaries, Social-Physical Space, and Homelessness.” Researching Urban Sociology, V.5. JAI Press. New Perspectives in Urban Sociology Series. Refereed publication. 23-57. 2000.
  • "Out of Place": Homeless Mobilization, Subcities and Contested Landscapes. Albany: SUNY Press. This work explores the relationship between homeless mobilization and social space, within city contested landscapes, comparing Chicago, Illinois and San Jose, California. Refereed publication. 1997.