American Sociological Association

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  1. The Uses of Ambiguity in Sociological Theorizing: Three Ethnographic Approaches

    Claims of causality and generalizability are the primary means through which sociologists triumph over ambiguity. Yet ambiguity also has significant uses in the process of theorizing.
  2. Review Essays: How to Think like an Economic Sociologist

    According to Google Scholar, over his long and distinguished career Mark Granovetter has written a remarkable number of “blockbuster” publications, with two very influential articles at the top of the list: “The Strength of Weak Ties” (Granovetter 1973) and “Economic Action and Social Structure” (Granovetter 1985). These have generated more than 43,000 (!!) and 34,000 (!) citations, respectively. Even without Google Scholar’s “big data,” however, almost all sociologists would recognize Granovetter’s seminal contributions to network analysis and economic sociology, among other topics.
  3. Conformers, Adaptors, Imitators, and Rejecters: How No-excuses Teachers’ Cultural Toolkits Shape Their Responses to Control

    In the past, sociologists have provided keen insights into the work of teaching, but classic studies by scholars like Dan Lortie and Willard Waller are now decades old. With the current emphasis on teacher evaluation and accountability, the field is ripe for new sociological studies of teaching. How do we understand the work of teaching in this new context of control? In this article, I use the case of an urban, ‘‘no-excuses’’ charter school to examine how teachers responded to the school’s intensive effort to socialize them into a uniform set of disciplinary practices.
  4. Surviving at the Street Level: How Counselors’ Implementation of School Choice Policy Shapes Students’ High School Destinations

    Given the dominance of residentially based school assignment, prior researchers have conceptualized K–12 enrollment decisions as beyond the purview of school actors. This paper questions the continued relevance of this assumption by studying the behavior of guidance counselors charged with implementing New York City’s universal high school choice policy.
  5. All That Is Solid: Bench-Building at the Frontiers of Two Experimental Sciences

    The belief that natural sciences are more scientific than the social sciences has been well documented in the perceptions of both lay and scientific populations. Influenced by the Kuhnian concept of "paradigm development" and empirical studies on the closure of scientific controversies, scholars from divergent traditions associate scientific development with increased consensus and stability. However, both the macro/quantitative and micro/qualitative approaches are limited in key ways.

  6. Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States

    Using General Social Survey data, we examine perspectives on science and religion in the United States. Latent class analysis reveals three groups based on knowledge and attitudes about science, religiosity, and preferences for certain religious interpretations of the world. The traditional perspective (43 percent) is marked by a preference for religion compared to science; the modern perspective (36 percent) holds the opposite view. A third perspective, which we call post-secular (21 percent), views both science and religion favorably.

  7. Paradoxes of Social Policy: Welfare Transfers, Relative Poverty, and Redistribution Preferences

    Korpi and Palme’s (1998) classic “The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality” claims that universal social policy better reduces poverty than social policies targeted at the poor. This article revisits Korpi and Palme’s classic, and in the process, explores and informs a set of enduring questions about social policy, politics, and social equality.

  8. Policy Entrepreneurs and the Origins of the Regulatory Welfare State: Child Labor Reform in Nineteenth-Century Europe

    Industrial child labor laws were the earliest manifestation of the modern regulatory welfare state. Why, despite the absence of political pressure from below, did some states (but not others) succeed in legislating working hours, minimum ages, and schooling requirements for working children in the first half of the nineteenth century? I use case studies of the politics behind the first child labor laws in Germany and France, alongside a case study of a failed child labor reform effort in Belgium, to answer this question.
  9. Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? Political Articulation and the Canadian Comparison, 1932 to 1948

    Why is there no labor party in the United States? This question has had deep implications for U.S. politics and social policy. Existing explanations use "reflection" models of parties, whereby parties reflect preexisting cleavages or institutional arrangements. But a comparison with Canada, whose political terrain was supposedly more favorable to labor parties, challenges reflection models.

  10. “On Culture, Politics, and Poverty”

    The Great Recession, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter: all have helped raise public consciousness around issues of economic disadvantage. Leading figures from both major political parties have debated these issues, and the popular media has reported on a wide variety of stories relating to poverty and inequality. Everyday conversations among millions of Americans now include casual references to the 1%—and the 99%.