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  1. Risk and Emotion Among Healthy Volunteers in Clinical Trials

    Theorized as objective or constructed, risk is recognized as unequally distributed across social hierarchies. Yet the process by which social forces shape risk and risk emotions remains unknown. The pharmaceutical industry depends on healthy individuals to voluntarily test early-stage, investigational drugs in exchange for financial compensation. Emblematic of risk in late modernity, Phase I testing is a rich site for examining how class and race shape configurations of emotion and risk.

  2. Comment: On the Association between Sequences in GIMSA

    We can think of three basic principles of classificatory judgment for comparing things and people. I call these judgments nominal (oriented to essence), cardinal (oriented to quantities), and ordinal (oriented to relative positions). Most social orders throughout history are organized around the intersection of these different types. In line with the ideals of political liberalism, however, democratic societies have developed an arsenal of institutions to untangle nominal and ordinal judgments in various domains of social life.

  3. Soldiers of the Cross: Calvinism, Humanitarianism, and the Genesis of Social Fields

    Field theory largely treats the cultural dimensions of social fields as an emergent property of their objective structures. In this article, I reconsider the role of culture in fields by studying how the logics that govern their emergence develop. As a study case, I examine the rise of the field of transnational humanitarianism by focusing on the early endeavors of the International Committee of the Red Cross (established 1863).

  4. On the Sociology of Occasions

    This article fills a long-standing gap, proposing a framework for what Goffman called for in 1967’s Interaction Ritual: a sociology of occasions. Occasions are omnipresent throughout the sociological literature yet are often only casually analyzed. The author proposes a perspective that solidifies occasions as a basic unit of sociological analysis. This proposal offers a framework based on (1) four resources, (2) three patterns, and (3) five properties. These simple and interlocking tools situate the occasion as a valuable and adaptable sociological focus.

  5. Income Inequality Leads Millennials to Start Families before Marriage

    Rising income inequality, and the resulting scarcity of certain types of jobs, is a key reason a growing number of young Americans are having babies before getting married.

  6. Dignity and Dreams: What the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Means to Low-Income Families

    Money has meaning that shapes its uses and social significance, including the monies low-income families draw on for survival: wages, welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This study, based on in-depth interviews with 115 low-wage EITC recipients, reveals the EITC is an unusual type of government transfer. Recipients of the EITC say they value the debt relief this government benefit brings. However, they also perceive it as a just reward for work, which legitimizes a temporary increase in consumption.

  7. Lifetime Socioeconomic Status, Historical Context, and Genetic Inheritance in Shaping Body Mass in Middle and Late Adulthood

    This study demonstrates that body mass in middle and late adulthood is a consequence of the complex interplay among individuals’ genes, lifetime socioeconomic experiences, and the historical context in which they live. Drawing on approximately 9,000 genetic samples from the Health and Retirement Study, we first investigate how socioeconomic status (SES) over the life course moderates the impact of 32 established obesity-related genetic variants on body mass index (BMI) in middle and late adulthood.

  8. Ordinalization: Lewis A. Coser Memorial Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting 2014

    We can think of three basic principles of classificatory judgment for comparing things and people. I call these judgments nominal (oriented to essence), cardinal (oriented to quantities), and ordinal (oriented to relative positions). Most social orders throughout history are organized around the intersection of these different types. In line with the ideals of political liberalism, however, democratic societies have developed an arsenal of institutions to untangle nominal and ordinal judgments in various domains of social life.

  9. Health Insurance Status and Symptoms of Psychological Distress among Low-income Urban Women

    Although numerous studies have considered the effects of having health insurance on access to health care, physical health, and mortality risk, the association between insurance coverage and mental health has been surprisingly understudied. Building on previous work, we use data collected from a two-year follow-up of low-income women living in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio to estimate a series of latent fixed-effects regression models assessing the association between insurance status and symptoms of psychological distress.

  10. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.