Color is a central feature of social life, yet its value in sociological theory is ambiguous. This paper establishes an approach to a social theory of color by focusing on color perception. Using theories from materiality studies and cultural sociology, I argue that color perception is an unstable and contestable phenomenon shaped by social and material factors. My argument is empirically grounded in a case study of a blockbuster museum show called Gods in Color. The show toured 21 cities in Europe and North America from 2003 to 2015.
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.
While group differences in violence have long been a key focus of sociological inquiry, we know comparatively little about the trends in criminal violence for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in recent decades. Combining geocoded death records with multiple data sources to capture the socioeconomic, demographic, and legal context of 131 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, this article examines the trends in racial/ethnic inequality in homicide rates since 1990.
The American Sociological Association (ASA) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The judgement allows the university to continue using race as a factor in admissions decisions.
Over seven million Americans are either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, with their criminal records often following them for life and affecting access to higher education, jobs, and housing. Court-ordered monetary sanctions that compel criminal defendants to pay fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution further inhibit their ability to reenter society. In A Pound of Flesh, sociologist Alexes Harris analyzes the rise of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system and shows how they permanently penalize and marginalize the poor.
What should activist-scholars teach in the social problems classroom? In this conversation, I challenge the assertion that advancing a sociology of social problems is an overly academic enterprise of little use to students and other publics. I introduce the potential of a pedagogical framework for promoting social problems literacy: a set of skills that promotes critical, sociological understandings of social problems toward aims of supporting civic engagement and activism.
One finding animates studies of life in poor urban communities: young men yearn for respect, or the admiration and deference of their peers. Given the threat of violence in their communities, young men learn to defend their bodies. They can gain status through fighting. They can also earn their “stripes” through verbal insults and with the clothes they wear. When mainstream institutions block access to these young men, they invest deeply in these alternative status systems. It’s here where young men can “be known.”
ASA talks to Dr. Alford Young, Jr., specialist in Race and Urban Poverty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This mini interview was conducted at the ASA 2015 Annual Meeting where we asked ASA members why they #lovesociology.