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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  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. Childhood Disadvantage and Health Problems in Middle and Later Life: Early Imprints on Physical Health?

    Drawing from cumulative inequality theory, we examine the relationship between childhood disadvantage and health problems in adulthood. Using two waves of data from Midlife Development in the United States, we investigate whether childhood disadvantage is associated with adult disadvantage, including fewer social resources, and the effect of lifelong disadvantage on health problems measured at the baseline survey and a 10-year follow-up.

  4. Cancer Diagnosis and Mental Health among Older White Adults: Moderating Role for Social Networks?

    Cancer is a life-changing condition for many American seniors, and a growing body of literature is assessing the mental health implications of living with the disease. This article builds from the well-known buffering hypothesis with insights from recent cancer research to investigate whether social networks moderate the association between cancer and mental health for older men and women.

  5. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  6. Beyond "Just Being There": Teaching Internationalization at Home in Two Qualitative Methods Units

    Study-abroad and international-student programs are commonly understood to transform their participants into "global citizens" possessing "cross-cultural competencies." Similar benefits are anticipated from "internationalization at home"—defined as any on-campus, internationally related activity—whereby international students engage with and thus enrich the lives of domestic students. In this article, we reflect on a research project tied to two coursework units, in which largely domestic undergraduate students undertake qualitative research with or about international students.

  7. An Assessment of Student Perceptions and Responses to Frequent Low-stakes Testing in Introductory Sociology Classes

    Common concerns for many instructors of introductory college courses are that their students do not prepare for or attend class, are minimally engaged, and exhibit poor reading comprehension and writing skills. How can instructors respond to these challenges? Research finds that frequent testing improves the learning outcomes of students. Can it motivate better studying habits and expand their engagement with the class?

  8. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  9. "It Didn't Seem Like Race Mattered": Exploring the Implications of Service-learning Pedagogy for Reproducing or Challenging Color-blind Racism

    Prior research measuring service-learning program successes reveals the approach can positively affect students’ attitudes toward community service, can increase students’ motivation to learn and ability to internalize class material, and can change their view of social issues. Studies also suggest that college students sometimes enter and leave a field site in ways that contribute to the reproduction of inequality.

  10. Michael Burawoy on “Sociology as a Vocation”

    “What does it mean to live for sociology, today?” Michael Burawoy asks in his timely essay, “Sociology as a Vocation.”  Drawing on insights from Max Weber’s classic lectures on science and politics, Burawoy argues that sociology is uniquely positioned to reinvigorate civil society and the university in the face of the relentless growth of marketization across the globe.

    —Michael Sauder, editor, Contemporary Sociology

     

    Sociology as a Vocation

    Michael Burawoy