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Sharon Zukin, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY
Half a century ago, Brooklyn was the borough of New York City where tight-knit communities of second-generation Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Scandinavian immigrants hunkered down in waterfront neighborhoods against the forces of postwar change.
They confronted the arrival of container shipping, which effectively closed down the port where so many had worked, and the removal of factories and outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, first to cheaper areas in New Jersey and then overseas. They also contended with the arrival of new African American migrants from southern states and Spanish-speaking families from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, who made the borough an even more multi-ethnic and multi-cultural living space, though not without arousing hostility and violence.
Cecilia L. Ridgeway, ASA President, Stanford University
No set of questions is more fundamental to sociology than those about inequality—what is it, why is it, how does it come about, and what can we do to change it? Indeed, my own sense of our discipline is that it has two foundational problems—the problem of social order and the problem of inequality—and we can rarely talk about one without talking about the other. As sociologists, we study social inequality not just to chart patterns of resource inequality but to understand the deeper problem of how inequality is made and, therefore, could potentially be unmade. What are the mechanisms? How do we uncover them? These questions take us to the heart of how social order in contemporary societies is made in a way that results in inequality and how we could make it differently.
Roberta Spalter-Roth, ASA Research on the Discipline and Profession and
Jean H. Shin, ASA Minority Affairs Program
Sociologists were a small but visible part of the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, which took place February 14–18 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. Three types of activities reflected this visibility: first was a plenary address, the second a research symposium, and the third included two section and committee meetings. At the meeting, seven sociologists were elected as AAAS Fellows by the on Social, Economic, and Political Sciences (Section K) (for more information, see the January 2013 issue of Footnotes www.asanet.org/footnotes/jan13/aaas_0113.html.
Margaret Weigers Vitullo, ASA Academic and Professional Affairs Program
Department chairs are frequently finding themselves looking for ways to reconcile the need to support faculty and student development with the reality of extremely limited department budgets. Over the past couple of months, the ASA Academic and Professional Affairs Program has been pilot testing a free monthly webinar series for ASA Department Affiliates that is designed to respond to both sides of this equation.