American Sociological Association

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  1. Americans Support Local Food Markets to Feel Part of Something Bigger Than Themselves

    More Americans than ever before are supporting their local food markets, and it's not just because they believe the food is fresher and tastes better.

  2. Consumers Increasingly Face Companies’ Creative Smoke and Mirrors, Study Finds

    Heavily marketed as a safer, healthful alternative to smoking, electronic cigarettes are under fire from California health officials who have declared "vaping" a public health threat, hoping to head off the type of deceptive manipulation that tobacco companies succeeded with for decades, according to researchers. 

  3. Consuming Mexican Labor: From the Bracero Program to NAFTA

    That, historically, capital accumulation has required a supply of cheap, flexible labor is one of the most well-documented and widely accepted empirical findings in social science.

  4. Review Essays: Sociology’s Messy Eating: Food, Consumer Choice, and Social Change

    In 2002, the historian Warren Belasco remarked that while “food is important . . . food scholars may still evoke a sense of surprise” (Belasco 2002, pp. 2, 5). The sociological importance of food should be obvious: one need not be a Marxist to recognize that food production forms an essential infrastructure for other sorts of social activities, nor a Weberian to perceive the role of eating in status and social closure. And yet, at the time of Belasco’s writing, identifying one’s primary research area as “food” to colleagues at an ASA meeting could evoke a cocked eyebrow and an awkward pause.
  5. The Role of Social Media in Collective Processes of Place Making: A Study of Two Neighborhood Blogs in Amsterdam

    The wide use of social media has facilitated new social practices that influence place meaning. This paper uses a double case study of two neighborhood blogs in gentrifying communities, to explore the role of social media in sharing place associations and community formation. Drawing on Collins’ theory of interaction ritual chains, this research project investigates how the intertwining of online and offline interaction around the blogs creates interaction chains whereby the place associations of participants in the blog become more aligned, creating an alternative place narrative.

  6. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Consumers’ Economic Expectations

    Consumers’ expectations about the future of their own finances and the macroeconomy are used to forecast consumption, but forecasts do not typically account for differences by race and ethnicity. In this report, the author asks (1) whether there is consistent racial and ethnic variation in consumers’ economic expectations, (2) if differences can be explained by economic experiences, and (3) how the scope of expectations matters.
  7. Encultured Biases: The Role of Products in Pathways to Inequality

    Recent sociological work shows that culture is an important causal variable in labor market outcomes. Does the same hold for product markets? To answer this question, we study a product market in which selection decisions occur absent face-to-face interaction between intermediaries and short-term contract workers. We find evidence of “product-based” cultural matching operating as a pathway to inequality.
  8. Do Green Behaviors Earn Social Status?

    Do green behaviors earn social status among liberals and conservatives? Although evidence shows that high-status consumers incorporate ecological concerns into their consumption choices, politically polarized views on environmentalism in the United States complicate the relationship between green behaviors and status. A vignette experiment shows that across political ideology, people grant status to green consumption. Results from semistructured interviews suggest that green consumers are seen as wealthy, knowledgeable, and ethical, although these status beliefs vary with political ideology.
  9. Medicalization, Direct-to-Consumer Advertising, and Mental Illness Stigma

    In late 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidelines that allowed pharmaceutical companies to air prescription drug ads on television. These guidelines have expanded the pharmaceutical industry’s role as one of the major “engines” of medicalization. One arena in which there has been a dramatic increase in direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of pharmaceuticals is the marketing of psychotherapeutic drugs, especially for depression.

  10. Why Are Women Penalized in Product Markets?

    Previous research using data from eBay found that women receive lower prices than men when selling the exact same products. The current project explores why this gender gap obtains and why some products have larger gender price gaps than others. To answer these questions, we exploit the variation in the gender price gap across products found in the earlier eBay data together with new survey data on the perceptions people have about seemingly male-typed and female-typed products and about people’s uncertainty about the prices of products.