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.
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.
A new study reveals that individuals in their 60s who give advice to a broad range of people tend to see their lives as especially meaningful. At the same time, this happens to be the age when opportunities for dispensing advice become increasingly scarce.
The American Sociological Association (ASA) filed an amicus curiae brief in March, 2015 with the Supreme Court of the United States in the same-sex marriage cases pending before the court. The ASA’s brief highlights the social science consensus that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as children raised by different-sex parents.
In May, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of two sociologists—Andrew Cherlin and Eileen Crimmins—among this year’s 84 new members. These newly elected NAS members were recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Members in the Academy, considered one of the highest honors in American science, help write reports on key scientific issues to help inform policymakers’ decisions.
ASA speaks with retired sociologist Jose Calderon at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Calderon 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.
ASA speaks with sociologists Manisha Desai and Zakia Salime at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Desai and Salime talk about what it means to “do sociology,” how they use sociology in their work, highlights of their work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and their advice to students interested in entering the field.
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.