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  1. Study Uses Internet and Social Media to Show How Fracking Documentary Influenced Public Perception and Political Change

    Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change.

    But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.

  2. What Does It Mean to Span Cultural Boundaries? Variety and Atypicality in Cultural Consumption

    We propose a synthesis of two lines of sociological research on boundary spanning in cultural production and consumption. One, research on cultural omnivorousness, analyzes choice by heterogeneous audiences facing an array of crisp cultural offerings. The other, research on categories in markets, analyzes reactions by homogeneous audiences to objects that vary in the degree to which they conform to categorical codes. We develop a model of heterogeneous audiences evaluating objects that vary in typicality.

  3. "No Fracking Way!" Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.

  4. Interreligious Contact, Perceived Group Threat, and Perceived Discrimination: Predicting Negative Attitudes among Religious Minorities and Majorities in Indonesia

    This study examines the relationship between interreligious contact and negative attitudes toward the religious outgroup among minority Christians and majority Muslims in Indonesia. It answers two research questions: Does interreligious contact reduce negative outgroup attitudes equally for minority Christians and majority Muslims? Are mediation by perceived group threat and moderation by perceived discrimination equally important for religious minorities and majorities?

  5. Emerging Scripts of Global Speech

    As work regimes become global, social communication increasingly occurs across locations far apart. In the absence of a common national, ethnic, or organizational culture across continents, what makes communication possible among social worlds technologically integrated in real time? Taking India’s global call centers as the focus of analysis, this article attempts to solve the riddle of communication by showing how transnational business practices rely on the transmutation of cultural communication into global communication through the processes of neutralization and mimesis.

  6. The Social Imagination of Homosexuality and the Rise of Same-sex Marriage in the United States

    The author argues that the increase in support for same-sex marriage in the United States must be interpreted in light of the changing social imagination of homosexuality. The author measures the social imagination at the micro level by comparing the frequencies and semantic contexts in which two cohorts use metaphors and analogies to talk about same-sex marriage. Younger informants articulate them in ways that characterize homosexuality as identity, whereas older informants characterize homosexuality as behavior.
  7. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    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.

  8. Youth Cyberbullying Most Common Among Current or Former Friends and Dating Partners

    Youth cyberbullying is dramatically more likely to occur between current or former friends and dating partners than between students who were never friends or in a romantic relationship, suggests a new study that was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

  9. ‘I Miss You So Much’: How Twitter Is Broadening the Conversation on Death and Mourning

    Death and mourning were largely considered private matters in the 20th century, with the public remembrances common in previous eras replaced by intimate gatherings behind closed doors in funeral parlors and family homes.

    But social media is redefining how people grieve, and Twitter in particular — with its ephemeral mix of rapid-fire broadcast and personal expression — is widening the conversation around death and mourning, two University of Washington (UW) sociologists say.

  10. Why Prisons Continue to Grow, Even When Crime Declines

    The U.S. prison population continued to rise even after the crime rate began declining in the mid-1990s because judges were faced with more repeat offenders, a new study suggests.

    Using data from Minnesota, an Ohio State University sociologist found that the U.S. criminal justice system felt the reverberations from the increase in violent crime and imprisonment that occurred from the 1960s to the early 1990s.