New Book- Coming to Terms with Chance

Congratulations to Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. on his new publication Coming to Terms With Chance: Engaging Rational Discrimination and Cumulative Disadvantage, published by Ashgate.

This book examines the application of probability and statistics to an ever-widening number of life decisions that serve to reproduce, reinforce, and widen disparities in the quality of life that different groups of people are able to enjoy. As a critical technology assessment, the book shows how individual decisions, informed by statistical models help to shape the opportunities and challenges people face in both market and non-market environments. The book identifies business and government practices that contribute to cumulative disadvantage and inequality. Ultimately, this book challenges the actuarial logic and instrumental rationalism that drives public policy. It also emphasizes the role that the mass media play in justifying its expanded use. Although its arguments and examples take as their primary emphasis the ways in which these decision systems affect the life changes of African Americans, the findings are also applicable to a broad range of groups burdened by discrimination.

The book’s scope is quite broad, ranging from genetic discrimination to predatory lending and targeted marketing schemes, at the same time noting the challenges involved in gathering statistical evidence in support of civil rights claims regarding disparate impacts. The book provides an extensive bibliography covering a broad range of disciplines, including sociology, political science, economics, law and communication studies. It emphasizes the role that surveillance studies, and the research efforts of this community may play in bring this discriminatory technology under control.

Ordering information is available online at Ashgate