American Sociological Association

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  1. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    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.

  2. 2012 Presidential Address: Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias

    This address explores a broad framework for thinking sociologically about emancipatory alternatives to dominant institutions and social structures, especially capitalism. The framework is grounded in two foundational propositions: (1) Many forms of human suffering and many deficits in human flourishing are the result of existing institutions and social structures. (2) Transforming existing institutions and social structures in the right way has the potential to substantially reduce human suffering and expand the possibilities for human flourishing.

  3. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  4. What Is the Relation between Theory and Practice, and Did Marx Discuss Engineering Society?

    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.

  5. Prepare for a Vote: Understanding the Proposed Revision to the ASA Code of Ethics

    At the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Executive Officer Sally Hillsman, met with the Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) and suggested that it was time to revise the Code of Ethics. Revisions were last made to the Code 20 years ago, and a great deal of change had taken place. Regulatory and technological advances have had striking impacts on the field. At the time, the Department of Health and Human Services was about to announce changes to The Common Rule, which governs the vast majority of human subjects research efforts.

  6. ASA Signs on to Letter Supporting Federal Data Sources

    The ASA signed on to a letter expressing our strong support for the critical Federal data sources that inform and strengthen our nation’s world-leading economic, educational, democratic and civic institutions and successes. Our Federal statistical and data systems provide information that is uniquely accurate, objective, relevant, timely, and accessible. 

  7. What’s the Harm? The Coverage of Ethics and Harm Avoidance in Research Methods Textbooks

    Methods textbooks play a role in socializing a new generation of researchers about ethical research. How do undergraduate social research methods textbooks portray harm, its prevalence, and ways to mitigate harm to participants? We conducted a content analysis of ethics chapters in the 18 highest-selling undergraduate textbooks used in sociology research methods courses in the United States and Canada in 2013. We found that experiments are portrayed as the research design most likely to harm participants.
  8. Testing a Digital Inequality Model for Online Political Participation

    Increasing Internet use is changing the way individuals take part in society. However, a general mobilizing effect of the Internet on political participation has been difficult to demonstrate. This study takes a digital inequality perspective and analyzes the role of Internet expertise for the social structuration of online political participation. Analyses rely on two nationally representative surveys in Switzerland and use cluster analysis and structural equation modeling. A distinct group of political online participants emerged characterized by high education and income.
  9. The Algorithmic Rise of the “Alt-Right”

    As with so many technologies, the Internet’s racism was programmed right in—and it’s quickly fueled the spread of White supremacist, xenophobic rhetoric throughout the western world.
  10. What is Critical Realism? And Why Should You Care?

    Critical realism (CR) is a philosophical system developed by the Indo-British philosopher, Roy Bhaskar, in collaboration with a number of British social theorists, including Margaret Archer, Mervyn Hartwig, Tony Lawson, Alan Norrie, and Andrew Sayer. It has a journal, a book series, an association, an annual meeting and, in short, all the usual trappings of an intellectual movement. The movement is centered in the UK but has followers throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Antipodes.