Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.
Despite significant public, political, and media attention to the issue of criminal violence in the United States, we know surprisingly little about the trends in violent crime for different racial/ethnic groups in recent decades. For example, what are the disparities in homicide between whites, African Americans, and Hispanics? Have these disparities changed over the past 20 years? If so, why? This lack of knowledge is largely due to data limitations, as ethnic identifiers are rarely collected in many official crime statistics.
ASA speaks with sociologist Christopher Dum at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Dum talks about what it means to “do sociology,” how he uses sociology in his work, highlights of his work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and his advice to students interested in entering the field.
We’ve never seen a presidential election season like this one. So much is noteworthy, including the first female U.S. presidential candidate, but there is a strong need to address an issue that has not been sufficiently underscored: how Donald Trump’s campaign is fueled by the articulation of misogyny and xenophobia.
In 2013, in Portland, Oregon, the fat positive revolution “got bigger.” A volunteer-run organization called Nolose (National Organization for Lesbians of SizE), centered on ending fat oppression and catalyzing a fat and queer positive culture, organized a conference to continue a conversation of fat acceptance at home and around the world. Part of the conference proceedings was the initiation of a project entitled “I need fat acceptance because…”, a platform on which individuals could express their reasons for needing and supporting a fat acceptance and fat positive ideology.
With access to more personal data than ever before, police have the power to solve crimes more quickly, but in practice, the influx of information tends to amplify existing practices, according to sociological research at the University of Texas at Austin.
Despite having only about 5 percent of the world's population, the United States was the attack site for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966-2012, according to research presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
by Julie Wiest, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Contemporary Philadelphia is known for many things: cheesesteaks, cream cheese, the Rocky movie franchise, that Always Sunny television show, and its many universities. In scholarly circles, it’s renowned as the cradle of American history. But the city—the site of the upcoming ASA 2018 annual meeting—is perhaps less known for its longstanding influence on criminal justice systems worldwide.
According to a memo obtained by The New York Times on October 21, the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX based on “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The proposed definition would allow only a binary classification that is immutable and based on genitalia at birth. ASA sent a letter to the Secretary of DHHS expressing strong objection to this proposal which fails to reflect the findings from extensive sociological literature on this subject.