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  1. Quantification, Inequality, and the Contestation of School Closures in Philadelphia

    Public education relies heavily on data to document stratified inputs and outcomes, and to design interventions aimed at reducing disparities. Yet despite the promise and prevalence of data-driven policies and practices, inequalities persist. Indeed, contemporary scholarship has begun to question whether and how processes such as quantification and commensuration contribute to rather than remediate inequality.
  2. Featured Essay: Frontlash/Backlash: The Crisis of Solidarity and the Threat to Civil Institutions

    Jeffrey C. Alexander argues for an understanding of the polarizing and excluding forces of Trumpism as sociologically ‘‘normal’’ to the ongoing dynamics of civil spheres.
  3. Elusive Events

    The purpose of What Is an Event? by Robin Wagner-Pacifici is to “build a model for the analysis of events in general” (p. 3). To this end, it develops an “analytical apparatus, termed political semiosis,” the “basic features” of which are “performatives, demonstratives, and representations” (Chapter 1). At the forefront of this endeavor is the attempt to understand how “events take shape” (pp. 10, 83, 91, 109, 140) given the “grounds from which they erupt” (p. 48) and the “ruptures” that set them off (p. 105).
  4. Comment on Barbara Risman’s review of Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy

    The habit of contesting criticisms in print is one I have never acquired, in part because I am committed to the democracy and pace of scholarly debate. Nothing attracted me more to the sociological life than the opportunity to wrestle with ideas. But that is why I feel compelled to respond to Risman’s apoplectic interpretation of Cheap Sex. The reader learns next to nothing about what is actually in the book. Her remarks display far less interest in wrestling with ideas than in ad hominem assaults and sarcastic guesses at my character, values, and motives.
  5. Is Recreational Sex a Social Problem? Or, What’s Wrong with Kids Today?

    Decades have passed since we liberated normative sex from the confines of heterosexual marriage. But the divorce of sexual activity from romantic relationships among young people is still the topic of much debate. Both American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, by Lisa Wade, and Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy, by Mark Regnerus, address what’s happening with sex and relationships today; and although they identify similar trends, their analyses could not be more different.
  6. At the Foot of the Grave: Challenging Collective Memories of Violence in Post-Franco Spain

    Understanding the development and meaning of collective memory is a central interest for sociologists. One aspect of this literature focuses on the processes that social movement actors use to introduce long-silenced counter-memories of violence to supplant the “official” memory. To examine this, I draw on 15 months of ethnographic observations with the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) and 200 informal and 30 formal interviews with locals and activists.
  7. “Keeping Us in Our Place”: Low-Income Moms Barred From College Success

    Mothers, trying to graduate their way out of poverty, describe controlling state policies and university cultures of exclusion that seem aligned in barring them from social mobility.
  8. Towards a Dynamic Theory of Civil Society: The Politics of Forward and Backward Infiltration

    This article develops a conceptual framework to theorize the processes of mutual penetration between civil society, the state, and the economy, where incumbents and challengers continuously formulate new strategies against each other. We criticize the prevailing Weberian and Tocquevillian concepts of civil society, and then, drawing on research in social movements and comparative political economy, propose a new framework: the politics of forward and backward infiltration.
  9. Scaling Down Inequality: Rating Scales, Gender Bias, and the Architecture of Evaluation

    Quantitative performance ratings are ubiquitous in modern organizations—from businesses to universities—yet there is substantial evidence of bias against women in such ratings. This study examines how gender inequalities in evaluations depend on the design of the tools used to judge merit.
  10. The Advantaged Cause: Affect Control Theory and Social Movements

    The role of grievances in drawing public concern and activist support is a surprisingly understudied topic in modern social movement literature. This research is the first to parse issues into core components to understand whether some grievances are more successful than others in evoking reactions that can benefit social movements.