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  1. Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents

    Contemporary Sociology, Volume 46, Issue 1, Page 29-30, January 2017.
  2. The Hazards of Expert Control: Chief Risk Officers and Risky Derivatives

    American Sociological Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, Page 511-541, June 2017.
    Abstract
  3. Less Theory. More Description.

    Sociology must worry less about theoretical innovation and more about empirical description.
  4. Shadow Plays: Theory’s Perennial Challenges

    This article argues that theory holds its ground when it confronts itself with the empirics of its claims and this confrontation is geared to the project of increasing analytical specificity. This means (1) shedding as much light as possible on the very process whereby a type of outcome gets generated or takes shape and (2) identifying the factors that condition the likelihood of this process. From this perspective, sound theorizing is predicated on both empirical grounding and analytical specificity.
  5. Puzzling in Sociology: On Doing and Undoing Theoretical Puzzles

    One typical way to motivate a sociological argument is to present the research question as a puzzle. Unlike in physical sciences, sociologists work backward to construct theoretical puzzles from their data. Sociologists risk puzzling for puzzles’ sake, and in so doing, they reify categories and concepts that are not necessary or useful to their empirical material at hand. This essay examines mostly qualitative sociologists’ conventions for puzzling and suggests alternatives rooted in thick description of empirics.
  6. Review Essays: A Brilliant Work in General Theory

    Richard Swedberg reviews Processual Sociology by Andrew Abbot.
  7. 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.
  8. ASA President Writes Letter in Defense of Jan Tomasz Gross

    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.

  9. Review Essays: A Comparative Approach to Social Differences

    Rogers Brubaker is well known in the sociology of race and ethnicity for the critique of “groupist” tendencies in his now-classic Ethnicity without Groups. In Grounds for Difference, Brubaker extends his comparative and constructionist lens beyond ethnicity; he argues that in recent decades sociological theories of social difference have been challenged by the return to scholarly and popular prominence of three age-old social forces: inequality, biology, and religion.
  10. Definitions and the Development of Theory in Social Psychology

    Formal definitions specify what is necessary and sufficient for the identification of a particular term. These formal definitions use precise language and do not admit contradictions; they are exact class. There are multiple advantages of exact class definitions. They enable us to confidently use deductive arguments so we can ensure that the terms in the premises match the terms in the conclusion. They prevent sloppiness and circularity of logic. They also help us look beyond common sense or what we think we already know.