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  1. Study: Banks Hired Risk Officers to Mitigate Risk in Years Before Collapse. It Didn’t Go So Well

    New research suggests a significant number of national and international American banks hired new Chief Risk Officers to mitigate risk but may have actually helped lead the industry into widespread insolvency.

    Starting in the 1990s, many major banks hired Chief Risk Officers (CROs) in a response to new laws and regulations put in place following financial meltdowns in the 1980s. In an effort to comply, banking officials elevated risk analysts to corner offices to show they were serious about tackling risk.

  2. Paul Starr on the Shaping of the American Health Care System

    Health care continues to be a "toxic issue" at the center of American politics but, according to sociologist Paul Starr, it didn't have to be. In an ASA-produced video, Dr. Starr takes a sociological look at the history of health care to see how the medical industry played a role in sending the U.S. in its current course eschewing other options that would have provided universal access. Starr is Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and author of The Social Transformation of American Medicine.

  3. On Air: Sociologists Discuss Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

    The fight over campus speech has a long history, but recent events suggest it is at least as vitriolic as ever. Headlines are illustrative of how volatile campuses can be with mass protests leading to cancellations of speeches by invited speakers and threats made against academics such as Johnny Williams, a sociology professor at Trinity College. What constitutes acceptable speech on campus? When does it become hate speech? What rights should and do professors, students, and invited speakers have?

  4. Agents with Principles: The Control of Labor in the Dutch East India Company, 1700 to 1796

    Agents with Principles: The Control of Labor in the Dutch East India Company, 1700 to 1796
  5. Hope in the Sweatshops of Buenos Aires

    Dreaming and hustling in La Salada, Latin America’s largest low-cost garment marketplace.

  6. Walmart’s Consumer Redlining

    When Walmart opened its first two stores in Washington D.C. in late 2013, Mayor Vincent Gray said that the massive retailer would help to solve the problem of “food deserts” in the city.

  7. Ecometrics in the Age of Big Data: Measuring and Assessing "Broken Windows" Using Large-scale Administrative Records

    The collection of large-scale administrative records in electronic form by many cities provides a new opportunity for the measurement and longitudinal tracking of neighborhood characteristics, but one that will require novel methodologies that convert such data into research-relevant measures. The authors illustrate these challenges by developing measures of "broken windows" from Boston’s constituent relationship management (CRM) system (aka 311 hotline).

  8. Seeing Like the Fed: Culture, Cognition, and Framing in the Failure to Anticipate the Financial Crisis of 2008

    Seeing Like the Fed: Culture, Cognition, and Framing in the Failure to Anticipate the Financial Crisis of 2008
  9. How to Do Ethnography Right

    Selected essays from the Contexts forum on ethnographic best practices explore the practice of ethnographic "masking," IRBs and legal counsel, and gaining access to vulnerable populations.

  10. Enchanting Self-discipline: Methodical Reflexivity and the Search for the Supernatural in Charismatic Christian Testimonial Practice

    Social science has long operated under the assumption that enchantment, seeking out this-worldly manifestations of the supernatural, impedes the cultivation of self-discipline. How, then, to account for a Christian brotherhood whose testimonial practice is at once enchanting and disciplining of the self?