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  1. Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents

    Contemporary Sociology, Volume 46, Issue 1, Page 29-30, January 2017.
  2. The Hazards of Expert Control: Chief Risk Officers and Risky Derivatives

    American Sociological Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, Page 511-541, June 2017.
    Abstract
  3. Less Theory. More Description.

    Sociology must worry less about theoretical innovation and more about empirical description.
  4. 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.

  5. Shadow Plays: Theory’s Perennial Challenges

    This article argues that theory holds its ground when it confronts itself with the empirics of its claims and this confrontation is geared to the project of increasing analytical specificity. This means (1) shedding as much light as possible on the very process whereby a type of outcome gets generated or takes shape and (2) identifying the factors that condition the likelihood of this process. From this perspective, sound theorizing is predicated on both empirical grounding and analytical specificity.
  6. Puzzling in Sociology: On Doing and Undoing Theoretical Puzzles

    One typical way to motivate a sociological argument is to present the research question as a puzzle. Unlike in physical sciences, sociologists work backward to construct theoretical puzzles from their data. Sociologists risk puzzling for puzzles’ sake, and in so doing, they reify categories and concepts that are not necessary or useful to their empirical material at hand. This essay examines mostly qualitative sociologists’ conventions for puzzling and suggests alternatives rooted in thick description of empirics.
  7. ASA Task Force on Contingent Faculty Interim Report

    The ASA Task Force on Contingent Faculty was appointed to address the changes in faculty employment and working conditions, career prospects for graduate students, and the consequences for higher education that have resulted from the increased reliance on contingent faculty. Contingent faculty, both part-time and full-time non-tenure track, have increased dramatically. By 2011 a majority of faculty were employed part-time.  Contingent faculty are least common at Ph.D.

  8. 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.

  9. 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
  10. Hope in the Sweatshops of Buenos Aires

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