American Sociological Association

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  1. Interwar Romania and the Greening of the Iron Cage: The Biopolitics of Dimitrie Gusti, Virgil Madgearu, Mihail Manoilescu, and Ştefan Zeletin

    This study examines the reconfiguration of the colonial matrix of power along biopolitical lines in interwar Romania. I reconstruct a shifting field of human sciences and governmentality whose cognitive interest resided in identifying the proper template for national subject-making and social modernization. This undertaking was predicated on diagnosing economic, political, and cultural blockages hindering the transformation of Romanian peasants into active political subjects.
  2. Going Out: A Sociology of Public Outings

    In this article we propose a framework for description and analysis of public life by treating “outings” as a unit of sociological analysis. Studying outings requires bracketing a concern with bounded places and isolated encounters. Instead, descriptions of outings track people as they organize trips “out,” including their preparations, turning points, and post hoc reflections. We emphasize how people understand and contextualize their time in public by linking situated moments of public life to the outing’s unfolding trajectory and to people’s biographical circumstances.
  3. Toward a Cultural-Structural Theory of Suicide: Examining Excessive Regulation and Its Discontents

    Despite its enduring insights, Durkheim’s theory of suicide fails to account for a significant set of cases because of its overreliance on structural forces to the detriment of other possible factors. In this paper, we develop a new theoretical framework for thinking about the role of culture in vulnerability to suicide. We argue that by focusing on the cultural dynamics of excessive regulation, particularly at the meso level, a more robust sociological model for suicide could be offered that supplements structure-heavy Durkheimian theory.
  4. Wage Stagnation and Buyer Power: How Buyer-Supplier Relations Affect U.S. Workers’ Wages, 1978 to 2014

    Since the 1970s, market restructuring has shifted many workers into workplaces heavily reliant on sales to outside corporate buyers. These outside buyers wield substantial power over working conditions among their suppliers. During the same period, wage growth for middle-income workers stagnated. By extending organizational theories of wage-setting to incorporate interactions between organizations, I predict that wage stagnation resulted in part from production workers’ heightened exposure to buyer power.
  5. Scents and Sensibility: Olfaction, Sense-Making, and Meaning Attribution

    How are smells invested with meaning and how do those meanings structure interactions and group relations? I use cultural theories of meaning-making to explore these questions, situating my inquiry in the world of commercially marketed perfumes. Using blind smell tests in focus groups, I examine how individuals make sense of certain fragrances absent direction from manufacturers or marketing materials. I find that most participants can correctly decode perfume manufacturers’ intended message, target users, and usage sites.
  6. Mass Mobilization and the Durability of New Democracies

    The “elitist approach” to democratization contends that “democratic regimes that last have seldom, if ever, been instituted by mass popular actors” (Huntington 1984:212). This article subjects this observation to empirical scrutiny using statistical analyses of new democracies over the past half-century and a case study. Contrary to the elitist approach, I argue that new democracies growing out of mass mobilization are more likely to survive than are new democracies that were born amid quiescence.
  7. Velvet Rope Racism, Racial Paranoia, and Cultural Scripts: Alleged Dress Code Discrimination in Urban Nightlife, 2000–2014

    Using news stories appearing between June 1, 2000, and June 15, 2014, I explore the nature of African Americans’ allegations of racial discrimination in the use of dress codes at urban nightclubs. In this qualitative analysis I outline the nature of these incidents and the extent to which they represent what I refer to as “velvet rope racism”. I focus on how these incidents are negotiated between patrons and nightclub management, observing that owners who face allegations of racial discrimination turn to cultural scripts to make counterclaims to allegations.

  8. The Art of Trans Politics

    Emmanuel David on contemporary artist Cassils’s embodied struggle and trans politics.
  9. Who Is Presidential? Women’s Political Representation, Deflection, and the 2016 Election

    In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the first woman to gain the presidential nomination from a major political party in the United States, yet she was unsuccessful. The current study explores barriers to being elected as president for women generally and Hillary Clinton specifically. Using the propositions and tools of affect control theory, we demonstrate how women’s political representation shapes cultural sentiments about women and the president.
  10. 2017 Presidential Address: Addressing Recognition Gaps: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality

    This Presidential Address offers elements for a systematic and cumulative study of destigmatization, or the process by which low-status groups gain recognition and worth. Contemporary sociologists tend to focus on inequality in the distribution of resources, such as occupations, education, and wealth. Complementing this research, this address draws attention to “recognition gaps,” defined as disparities in worth and cultural membership between groups in a society. I first describe how neoliberalism promotes growing recognition gaps.