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  1. 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
  2. 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.

  3. Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime

    Largely overlooked in the theoretical and empirical literature on the crime decline is a long tradition of research in criminology and urban sociology that considers how violence is regulated through informal sources of social control arising from residents and organizations internal to communities. In this article, we incorporate the “systemic” model of community life into debates on the U.S. crime drop, and we focus on the role that local nonprofit organizations played in the national decline of violence from the 1990s to the 2010s.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

  10. 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.