ASA Presidential Address, Michèle Lamont (2017)
Michèle Lamont, ASA President, delivers the ASA Presidential Address “Addressing the Recognition Gap: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality” at the 112th Annual Meeting in Montréal. Address begins at 17:36.
ASA Awards Ceremony (2017)
Opening Plenary Session: Dignity and the Bridging of Group Boundaries
The notion of dignity is at the center of claim-making in contemporary society. This session brings together scholars who reflect on this theme in different national contexts. The conversation will concern definitions of dignity as it manifests itself in space and time, how to weaken group boundaries and broaden the community of actors who are recognized as having full cultural membership, and the particular cases of indigenous people and African Americans as crucial social divides in North-American societies.
Plenary Session: The Progressive Neo-Liberal Challenge to the Politics of Distribution and Recognition
This plenary session tackles questions related to distribution and recognition in the context of growing inequality. As a famous debate between political philosopher Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth acknowledges, there have often been tensions between the ‘class politics’ associated with the distribution of resources and the ‘identity politics’ associated with recognition. Under some circumstances, access to resources (distribution) may be contingent on recognition (of groups as full members of the community); in other cases, the salience of group identity may diminish commitments to redistribution. Speakers will revisit this debate by reflecting on how progressive neo-liberalism connects with populism to reconfigure distribution and recognition. Two economists will also discuss the negative impact of growing inequality on the well-being of specific groups as well as collective well-being. This session was supported by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).
Plenary Session: The Pursuit of Inclusion through Law, Policies, Narratives and Other Means
Across the globe, societies are pulled apart by conflicts driven by linguistic, religious and ethno-racial differences, poverty and inequality, nativity, and more. Yet, hope persists against all odds, fed by normative commitments for belonging, solidarity, and social justice. This plenary features social scientists who are asked to reflect on actual and potential political and societal tools for achieving a better future and more successful societies. They will discuss some of the main challenges we face, and ways to make symbolic and social boundaries more permeable for greater social inclusion. This session was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2016)
The ASA Awards Ceremony, conferring the 2016 association awards, precedes the Presidential Address delivered by ASA President Ruth Milkman.
Plenary Session. A New Cycle of Protest? Occupy Wall Street and Beyond
Five years ago, a new wave of social movements emerged in the United States and worldwide, beginning with the Occupy Wall Street movement which began in New York City and then spread across the nation and the globe. This, in turn, gave rise to a variety of other social movements, from Black Lives Matter, to the Fight for 15, and more. Panelists will discuss this new cycle of protest, its impact, and its future prospects.
Plenary. Protesting Racism
The Black Lives Matter movement swept the United States in the past few years, raising public awareness of police brutality and racism to unprecedented levels. Panelists, who include prominent leaders of this movement, will discuss the dynamics of this new social movement as well as the issues that led to its emergence and growth.
Open Plenary. Beyond the Battle of Seattle
In November 1999, the city of Seattle was the site of massive protests against the World Trade Organization, during its meeting there, an event that became known as the "Battle of Seattle." More recently, Seattle has emerged as one of the nation's most dynamic cities, and one that is unusually progressive. The city's voters elected an avowed Socialist to its City Council and led the nation in the "Fight for 15," an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Panelists will reflect on the Battle of Seattle and its legacy, as well as on recent developments in the city.
Plenary Session. The 21st Century U.S. Labor Movement
This panel will feature prominent labor leaders from traditional unions as well as independent organizers and leaders of labor-oriented community-based organizations. They will be asked to speak on the multiple challenges facing organized labor in the United States and the prospects for the future, with particular attention to campaigns to increase the minimum wage and to organize low-wage workers. Another focus will be the status of recent alliances between mainstream labor unions on the one hand, and worker centers and community-based organizations on the other.
ASA Awards Ceremony & Presidential Address 2015
The ASA Awards Ceremony, conferring the 2015 association awards, precedes the Presidential Address delivered by ASA President Paula England.
Abortion in America: A Discussion with the Only Doctor Providing Abortions in Mississippi and Three Sociologists
Abortion was enshrined as a legal right with the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision. Yet legislatures pass and courts permit some restrictions, large geographical areas have no abortion providers, and political conflict rages. After a brief introduction to relevant trends by demographer Phil Morgan, the featured speaker will be Dr. Willie Parker, the only doctor providing abortions in Mississippi. He will discuss the struggles entailed in doing this work, and what he has learned about the lives of the women that seek abortions. Following his talk, two sociologists will provide brief accounts of their relevant research. Zakiya Luna will discuss the reproductive justice movement, which engages in cross-movement organizing to achieve a world where people have access to abortion as well as support for having children and parenting with dignity. Sarah K. Cowan will highlight how abortions are discussed—or kept secret—in social networks, and how this can affect political opinion. Audience members will then join in a discussion with Dr. Parker and the panelists.
Using internet dating sites to find partners is now completely mainstream. Panelists will consider the sociology of how this system works. Two panelists will use their access to data from internet dating sites revealing what groups are on the site and who contacts and responds to whom. One panelist will show how race affects who is contacted or responded to among those seeking same-sex or other-sex partners. Another panelist will use new methods to uncover what people are looking for in partners, and how market constraints shape people’s search and contact strategies. Another panelist will report on a survey ascertaining which groups are more likely to have used the internet to find partners, and will put internet dating into a broader historical perspective focusing on macrosocial trends affecting mate choice and family formation.
Modern Romance: Dating, Mating, and Marriage
When American sociologists initially studied modern romance about a century ago, they discovered that most people were fiercely parochial. Americans generally dated and mated within their hometowns, and in big cities they often married someone who lived within a few blocks. This session explores the transformation of modern romance over the past century, paying particular attention to recent changes related to the Internet, globalization, the rising status of women, the acceptance of non-conventional sexual relationships, and the search for a soul mate. The panelists, who come from inside and outside the academy, will assess how singles manage the expanded options available to them today, and examine emerging attitudes about and experiences in committed relationships and marriages.
The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage: Public Opinion and the Courts
For better or worse, same-sex marriage has dominated discussions of gay rights in recent years. Public opinion has shifted in a direction favorable to marriage equality, significant social movement resources have focused on preventing or attaining the right of same-sex couples to marry, and an avalanche of court decisions have come down. Panelists will consider public opinion shifts, which social groups favor and oppose same-sex marriage, how social movements have organized and networked for and against same-sex marriage, and the import of recent court decisions.
The Rise of Nonmarital Births
An increasing proportion of American women and men have their first child, and sometimes subsequent children, outside of marriage. The upward trend began more than a half-century ago, and is more pronounced among those with who are less privileged. For example, there is almost no such trend among white college graduates. Nonmarital births are typically to couples in relationships or cohabiting unions that break up within a few years, leading to substantial complexity and instability in family patterns. Panelists will consider the trends, social forces encouraging nonmarital births, and their consequences for adults and children.
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2014)
The ASA Awards Ceremony, conferring the 2014 association awards, precedes the Presidential Address delivered by ASA President Annette Lareau.
Plenary Session. Family Life in Hard Times
Harsh economic times have an impact on families, but the reverberations are not always well understood. In this session, Arlie Russell Hochschild discusses her most recent project on the tensions between free market policies and family life. David Harding illuminates how the release of prisoners influences not only the prisoners themselves but their families. Marianne Cooper explores the emotional work connected to economic insecurity. Her ethnographic study highlights the ways in which anxiety about financial security preoccupies affluent families in Silicon Valley as well as families with economic strain. Matthew Desmond traces the influence of evictions on the lives of children. Frank Furstenberg will preside over this Monday plenary.
Plenary Session. The Impact of Inequality
Families and individuals in the middle and bottom ranges of the income ladder suffer widening inequality in a number of ways. As the ladder elongates, they are likely to feel relatively more deprived. They are more likely to marry or partner with others in the lower ranges of income, thereby compounding their relative disadvantages. Upward mobility is harder to achieve because the same degree of effort gets them a shorter distance up the ladder. They are likely to experience more geographic segregation by income -- resulting in lower-quality public services, inadequate access to public transportation and jobs, and fewer models of successful upward mobility around them.
Plenary Session. Social Class in Daily Life
Social class divisions are powerful forces in American society: they influence the rituals of daily life, they cast a long shadow over the life course, and they are thrown into sharper relief in times of crisis. This panel shows a range of ways in which class divisions matter. Jay MacLeod, author of the classic work, Ain’t No Makin’ It, will make a rare appearance at an ASA meeting to discuss the impact of class on life chances over the life course. Linda Burton will share the results of a thirty-year ethnographic study of low-income mothers. Her study highlights the interweaving of race and class in their lives. Eric Klinenberg, drawing on recent data on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, will show how the experiences of this natural disaster varied by class. William Julius Wilson will be the discussant on this Saturday plenary session.
Opening Plenary Session. Hard Times: The Concentrations of Income and Wealth
In recent decades we have seen a sharp rise in economic inequality. Nowhere has the increase in income inequality been documented as dramatically and as thoroughly as in the widely discussed work of Emmanuel Saez. The phenomenon of wealth inequality was brought to the forefront of sociologists’ attention by the work of Thomas Shapiro and Melvin Oliver, who established the profound implications of this phenomenon for the intergenerational perpetuation of racial stratification. Finally, Leslie McCall has established that, contrary to commonly held assumptions, Americans care deeply about economic inequality and the impact it has. These scholars will discuss the contours and implications of inequality in this plenary session, for which Thomas DiPrete serves as discussant.
Plenary Session. An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers — The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and now, his latest, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. He has been named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine and one of the Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.
He has explored how ideas spread in the Tipping Point, decision making in Blink, and the roots of success in Outliers. With his latest book, David and Goliath, he examines our understanding of the advantages of disadvantages, arguing that we have underestimated the value of adversity and over-estimated the value of privilege. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He has won a national magazine award and been honored by the American Psychological Society and the American Sociological Association. He was previously a reporter for The Washington Post.
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2013)
The ASA Awards Ceremony, conferring the 2013 association awards, precedes the Presidential Address delivered by ASA President Cecilia L. Ridgeway.
Plenary Session. Micro Processes as Mechanisms of Inequality
Processes at multiple levels of analysis typically work together to support or undermine durable patterns of inequality between individuals and between social groups. Our task is to locate the key junctures among these multilevel processes that provide the levers by which different sorts of inequalities among people and groups are systematically made or unmade in the contemporary context. As part of this effort, this session focuses our attention on the less familiar micro level of the individual in social context. The first set of speakers address micro-level mechanisms that play significant roles in creating, maintaining, and/or changing racial, gender, and class-based inequality. A final speaker looks across the micro-mechanisms that operate in these different types of inequalities to offer a more general analysis of the nature and significance of micro processes in the multilevel production, reproduction, and change of contemporary patterns of inequality.
Opening Plenary Session. Inequality and Contemporary Social Protest
In recent years, growing inequality in the U. S. has come head-to-head with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Not surprisingly, the resulting social tensions have sparked. In recent years, growing inequality in the U. S. has come head-to-head with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Not surprisingly, the resulting social tensions have sparked popular social protests from the left as well as the right. In this session, prominent political observers of these events discuss the social forces behind them.
A long time observer of inequality in America and an acute analyst of the power of collective action, Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of such well-known books Bait and Switch and Nickel and Dimed. Theda Skocpol is a distinguished political sociologist and scholar of social change and the author, most recently, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Adding his expertise to the discussion is political sociologist, Douglas McAdam, author of such works as Freedom Summer, Dynamics of Contention, and Putting Movements in Their Place: Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the U.S., 2000-2005.
Plenary Session. How is Inequality in the United States Changing?
The last few decades have witnessed increasing income inequality in the U.S. and substantial changes in the nature and patterns of gender, race, and class inequalities. What are the main features of these changes and what is driving them? What are the implications of such changes for the future? Major scholars in their fields address these questions separately for economic and class inequality, gender inequality, and racial inequality. The final distinguished speaker in the session asks whether a new narrative of change and stability should be developed. Are there common patterns or themes in the changes across these different types of contemporary inequality? If so, what is the best way to understand these patterns of change?
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2012)
The ASA Awards Ceremony, conferring the 2012 association awards, precedes the Presidential Address delivered by ASA President Erik Olin Wright. .
Plenary Session. Democracy
Many real utopian institutional designs and experiments are built around the problem of deepening democracy: how to organize decision-making in organizations, in the state, and in society in such a way that ordinary people are in a position to genuinely exercise real power. This plenary will concern different aspects of the problem of deepening and radicalizing democracy.
Opening Plenary Session. Equality
At the core of the idea of real utopias is the problem of realizing ideals of social justice, and in one way or another, these ideals are always bound up with questions about equality. Equality is also part of the normative context for one of the central preoccupations of sociology - understanding the causes and consequences of diverse forms of inequality, especially class, gender, and race. This first plenary, then, will examine various issues connecting equality and real utopias.
At the opening of the plenary, there will be a 30-minute spoken word performance on social justice and real utopias by students from the First Wave Spoken Word and Hip Hop Arts Learning Community, a cutting-edge multicultural artistic program for incoming students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Real Begets Real" -- a performance-based scholarship using the unfiltered narrative structure of spoken-word in which First Wave Scholars deconstruct social realities that challenge the success of a "real utopia" through the lens of personal experiences. Representing diverse urban communities in the USA, these artist-scholars seek to exemplify the possibility of "real utopias" by valuing partnerships, responding to realities and building collaboratively as they aspire to create a new space where individuality, personal and corporate responsibility contribute to a common good.
Plenary Session. Sustainability
Few problems pose a bigger challenge to contemporary capitalist societies than environmental sustainability. Global warming looms as potentially catastrophic, and there are good arguments that capitalism as a political-economic system is not only incapable of effectively dealing with this impending crisis, but is itself one of the core casual processes generating the problem. Yet, there is relatively little public discussion of rigorously argued real-utopian institutional designs for dealing effectively with climate change and other aspects of environmental sustainability. This will be the theme of the third plenary.
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2011)
Fifty Years of Advances in Social and Movement Research
The Changing Landscape of Sexual Politics in the Age of Obama
Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk: Working in Sociological Traditions
In this session, four senior scholars will discuss the experience of working within particular sociological traditions. Given the diverse traditions involved and the differences in the speakers' personalities, the papers will no doubt vary greatly. However, they may cover topics like what traditions are in the first place, how and whether one gets associated with a tradition, what are the advantages and disadvantages, merging or shifting one's tradition-identity, and so on. Beyond that loose agenda, the speakers are on their own. Our aim is to provide an entertaining but substantive opening to the meeting.
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2010)
T.H. Marshall's Citizenship and Social Class: A 60th Anniversary Retrospective
The Global Financial Crisis: Passengers to New Policies and a New Economic Citizenship?
Where is the "Public" in the Public University? How Disinvestment in Higher Education Threatens Democratic Citizenship
This plenary brings together three eminent scholar critics of higher education. They examine the political and financial crises in universities and the acceleration of privatization and corporatization of the public university. They also turn critical gazes on the consequences of privatization and corporatization for inclusion and participation in educational institutions and explore how the very notions of democracy and substantive citizenship have thereby been impoverished.
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2009)
Bringing Communities Back In: Setting A New Policy Agenda
Building Excellent, Diverse and Just Communities: A Conversation Among Artists, Academics, and Activists
Why Obama Won (and What That Says About Democracy and Change in America)
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2008)
Barriers and Bridges: A Dialogue on U.S. - Mexico Immigration
Future of the American Labor Movement
Globalization and Work: Challenges and Responsibilities
Reinventing the American Dream
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2007)
Competing Paths to Another World: Strategies and Visions
Democratic Transition: The Example of Chile
Popular Culture as Propaganda and Critique
The Erosion and Rebirth of American Democracy
The Future of American Politics
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2006)
Social Science and Human Rights
Transgressing Sex Segregation: The Law, Social Science and Social Policy
ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address (2005)
Comparative Perspectives on the Rightward Turn in US Politics
Social Implications and Aftermath of the Tsunami
The Shifting Political Terrain