American Sociological Association

Sociological Insights: A Curated Collection of Videos

February 3, 2021

ASA's Sociological Insights, a curated collection of short videos, features sociologists sharing their expertise on some of the most pressing topics today. Gain insight into the drug market on the dark web, gender norms in the craft beer scene, and the political polarization of climate change, for example. The videos cover topics from racism to poverty, from religion to immigration, and from health care to criminal justice. 

Criminal Justice 

Disrupting Drugs on the Dark Web
How do we dismantle the increasingly active illegal drug market on the dark web? Scott Duxbury and Dana Haynie of Ohio State University show that arrest doesn’t work, but undermining trust of vendors in the network does.

Complaining While Black
How likely are citizen complaints against the police in Chicago to result in punishment? It depends on the race of the citizen, the race of the officer, and the degree of segregation in the local area reports Jacob Faber of New York University.

When Courts Embolden Police Misconduct
Do prosecutors and judges embolden racialized police misconduct? Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve of Brown University shows that indeed they do in Chicago. This has implications for criminal justice reform.

Shackling Children’s Futures
Mass incarceration in America means there are many children whose parents are in prison. Anna Haskins of Cornell University finds that parental incarceration has a negative effect on the educational outcomes of kids, thereby creating lifelong disadvantage. This can only be addressed through policy that considers the interconnection among the criminal justice system, the educational system, and families.


Studying While Hungry  
Approximately 50% of undergraduate students experience food insecurity during college, and 10% experience homelessness. How can one graduate college when studying under such conditions? Many don’t, says Sara Goldrick-Rab of Temple University. We need a system to support people while they are in college so their hard work will pay off with a degree.

One Misfortune Away 
What happened to the American dream that if you’re willing to work you shouldn’t be poor? Kathryn Edin of Johns Hopkins University shares the story of a hardworking woman whose spiral into poverty after a job loss exemplifies the vulnerability facing many in America today.

Children of the Storm 
What happened to the children who survived Hurricane Katrina? Lori Peek of the University of Colorado Boulder tells the story of one girl whose trajectory highlights the importance of systematically embedding child advocates into the organizations that are managing disaster planning, response, and recovery.


Polluting the Voiceless
David Pellow of University of California, Santa Barbara explains and illustrates how and why socially marginalized communities face a disproportionate burden of environmental harm. Environmental solutions have to involve not only technical and scientific expertise, but also grassroots democratic community empowerment. 

Climate Change and Polarized America
Why is climate so much more politically polarizing in the United States than other countries? Aaron McCright, Michigan State University, explains how partisanship in America moderates the typical relationship between scientific literacy and belief in the existence of environmental problems.


Do Men Matter More?
Have we reached an age of gender equality in the home? Not yet, says Aliya Hamid Rao of Stanford University. Family perceptions of job loss show male employment remains more highly valued than female employment even when female income is higher.

Bottling Gender 
Do you think beer is for men? Well, 40% of craft beer consumers are women, and Nathaniel Chapman of Arkansas Tech University and Megan Nanney of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University show that women are challenging traditional gender norms in the craft beer scene.

The Complexity of Gender Identity
Some people struggle for support from their families and medical providers because they have been assigned to a gender they don’t feel reflects who they really are. Arlene Stein of Rutgers University and stef shuster of Michigan State University explore the importance of expanding our view of gender to be non-binary and flexible.

Technology and Aging

Online Love in Later Years
Increasingly people in their seventies and eighties are finding love online. Technological innovation and social change have combined to encourage older people to see online dating as a viable pathway to love, says Pepper Schwartz of the University of Washington.

Digitally Connected Seniors
As people age and experience health difficulties and more limited mobility, their social networks shrink. Increasingly, Barry Wellman of NetLab Network and Annabel Quan-Haase of the University of Western Ontario tell us, loneliness is being mitigated when seniors use digital options to engage in both intra- and intergenerational communications.

Other Issues

Guns: Weapons or Tools?
Are guns weapons or tools? It depends who you ask. Harel Shapira of the University of Texas at Austin explains how gun owners are socialized to view guns as tools for self-defense.

The Gospel of the Flag
any Americans want the same things, such as no gun violence, but their ideas about how to accomplish these outcomes vary greatly depending on religious cultural frameworks. Andrew Whitehead of Clemson University explores differences between Christian nationalism and private religiosity to help us make sense of our social world.

Learning to Hate 
People aren’t born to hate, but acts of violence like the Oklahoma City bombing are nevertheless perpetrated by those espousing hateful ideology. Peter Simi of Chapman University describes the cultural environments that help to produce hate.

Shaping Health Care in America
Healthcare has been an issue at the center of politics in America for a century. Paul Starr of Princeton University takes us through the development of the organized medical profession to help us understand why only certain options have gotten serious consideration over time.

Strangers in a Familiar Land
Cameron Lippard of Appalachian State University introduces us to Mexican migrants living in rural America who are harvesting Christmas trees under temporary work visas. While their families may feel more comfortable in rural communities than in urban areas, they still experience discrimination.


Get Involved


ASA needs you to serve the discipline

Join a Section

Explore ASA's community of specialists in the discipline

Join ASA

Join or renew your membership