This issue is devoted to a long essay in sociological theory. Its contention is that political institutions can be understood as "stand by" institutions, which means ones that are called upon to operate in emergencies and only sometimes as ongoing operating institutions. You elect a President so that he will preside over what is unanticipated, not what is anticipated, even though he runs on issues that are the focus of the days before the election. The reason for this is that political institutions are based on the everyday nominal roles that are assigned to people so as to make standing on line in a bakery or to get into a rock concert more managable. You are not "96"; that is only your place in line. Read the article to get your head around this contrary to common sense understanding of politics.
The purpose of this e-journal is to use in tandem the techniques of literary criticism and social structural analysis to illuminate American politics and the various institutions in American society and sometimes matters more global, like religion or war, by turning an eye on the events and objects and performances that are considered art and entertainment, those defined broadly enough to include whatever is covered in newspapers and other media. Another concern is to pick up the texture of social life, both in the United States and in general, through the analysis of those events, objects and performances that are to be found in everyday life.