Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.
Despite significant public, political, and media attention to the issue of criminal violence in the United States, we know surprisingly little about the trends in violent crime for different racial/ethnic groups in recent decades. For example, what are the disparities in homicide between whites, African Americans, and Hispanics? Have these disparities changed over the past 20 years? If so, why? This lack of knowledge is largely due to data limitations, as ethnic identifiers are rarely collected in many official crime statistics.
ASA speaks with sociologist Christopher Dum at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Dum talks about what it means to “do sociology,” how he uses sociology in his work, highlights of his work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and his advice to students interested in entering the field.
My impression of Marx’s understanding of theory and praxis is that the transition from capitalism to socialism is contingent on the historical circumstances at any given point in time. The logic of capital creates certain preconditions that set the stage for the transition, but the transition is by no means guaranteed to unfold, or unfold in a clearly predictable manner. One of the preconditions is the concentration of capital into the hands of few and the general tendency toward increasing relative poverty of workers.
ASA President Michèle Lamont recently wrote President Andrzej Duda, Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland criticizing a new Polish law that significantly harms academic freedom. The law punishes those who study Poland's past and reach a well researched conclusion that is opposite to the Polish government's narrative.
Lamont urges that no charges be filed against Professor Gross. Gross has written about Poles complicity in the persecution of Jews during WWII.
With access to more personal data than ever before, police have the power to solve crimes more quickly, but in practice, the influx of information tends to amplify existing practices, according to sociological research at the University of Texas at Austin.
Despite having only about 5 percent of the world's population, the United States was the attack site for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966-2012, according to research presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
by Julie Wiest, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Contemporary Philadelphia is known for many things: cheesesteaks, cream cheese, the Rocky movie franchise, that Always Sunny television show, and its many universities. In scholarly circles, it’s renowned as the cradle of American history. But the city—the site of the upcoming ASA 2018 annual meeting—is perhaps less known for its longstanding influence on criminal justice systems worldwide.
The ASA Committee on Publications encourages applications for the editorships of Contemporary Sociology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Socius, Sociological Methodology, and Teaching Sociology.
The official terms for the new editors (or co-editors) will begin in January 2020, with the transition starting in summer 2019. Terms are for three years with the possibility of reappointment for for up to an additional two years.