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  1. Introducing Michèle Lamont, ASA’s 2017 President

    Ann Swidler, University of California-Berkeley

  2. Capturing Culture: A New Method to Estimate Exogenous Cultural Effects Using Migrant Populations

    We know that culture influences people’s behavior. Yet estimating the exact extent of this influence poses a formidable methodological challenge for the social sciences. This is because preferences and beliefs are endogenous, that is, they are shaped by individuals’ own experiences and affected by the same macro-structural conditions that constrain their actions. This study introduces a new method to overcome endogeneity problems in the estimation of cultural effects by using migrant populations.

  3. Ideals as Anchors for Relationship Experiences

    Research on young-adult sexuality in sub-Saharan Africa typically conceptualizes sex as an individual-level risk behavior. We introduce a new approach that connects the conditions surrounding the initiation of sex with subsequent relationship well-being, examines relationships as sequences of interdependent events, and indexes relationship experiences to individually held ideals. New card-sort data from southern Malawi capture young women’s relationship experiences and their ideals in a sequential framework.

  4. Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: Evidence from the Micro-Context

    We argue that residential exposure to ethnic diversity reduces social trust. Previous within-country analyses of the relationship between contextual ethnic diversity and trust have been conducted at higher levels of aggregation, thus ignoring substantial variation in actual exposure to ethnic diversity. In contrast, we analyze how ethnic diversity of the immediate micro-context—where interethnic exposure is inevitable—affects trust.

  5. The (Re)genesis of Values: Examining the Importance of Values for Action

    Dual-process models of culture and action posit that fast, automatic cognitive processes largely drive human action, with conscious processes playing a much smaller role than was previously supposed. These models have done much to advance our understanding of behavior, but they focus on generic processes rather than specific cultural content. As useful as this has been, it tells us little about which forms of culture matter for action.

  6. Is Popular More Likeable? Choice Status by Intrinsic Appeal in an Experimental Music Market

    There is widespread agreement from many areas of status research that evaluators’ judgments of performances can be distorted by the status of the performer. The question arises as to whether status distorts perceptions differently at different levels of performance quality. Using data from the Columbia Musiclab study, we conduct a large-scale test of whether the effect of popularity on private perceptions of likeability is contingent on songs’ intrinsic appeal.

  7. Fitting In or Standing Out? The Tradeoffs of Structural and Cultural Embeddedness

    A recurring theme in sociological research is the tradeoff between fitting in and standing out. Prior work examining this tension tends to take either a structural or a cultural perspective. We fuse these two traditions to develop a theory of how structural and cultural embeddedness jointly relate to individual attainment within organizations. Given that organizational culture is hard to observe, we develop a novel approach to assessing individuals’ cultural fit with their colleagues based on the language expressed in internal e-mail communications.

  8. Cultural Sentiments and Schema-Consistency Bias in Information Transmission

    The negative outcomes associated with cultural stereotypes based on race, class, and gender and related schema-consistency biases are well documented. How these biases become culturally entrenched is less well understood. In particular, previous research has neglected the role of information transmission processes in perpetuating cultural biases.

  9. The Trauma of the Routine: Lessons on Cultural Trauma from the Emmett Till Verdict

    Cultural traumas are socially mediated processes that occur when groups endure horrific events that forever change their consciousness and identity. According to cultural sociologists, these traumas arise out of shocks to the routine or the taken for granted. Understanding such traumas is critical for developing solutions that can address group suffering.

  10. What Are Dual Process Models? Implications for Cultural Analysis in Sociology

    In this paper we introduce the idea of the dual process framework (DPF), an interdisciplinary approach to the study of learning, memory, thinking, and action. Departing from the successful reception of Vaisey (2009), we suggest that intradisciplinary debates in sociology regarding the merits of “dual process” formulations can benefit from a better understanding of the theoretical foundations of these models in cognitive and social psychology.