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  1. Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Health Inequalities: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications

    Link and Phelan (1995) developed the theory of fundamental causes to explain why the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and mortality has persisted despite radical changes in the diseases and risk factors that are presumed to explain it. They proposed that the enduring association results because SES embodies an array of resources, such as money, knowledge, prestige, power, and beneficial social connections that protect health no matter what mechanisms are relevant at any given time.

  2. Fuck Nuance

    Nuance is not a virtue of good sociological theory. Although often demanded and superficially attractive, nuance inhibits the abstraction on which good theory depends. I describe three “nuance traps” common in sociology and show why they should be avoided on grounds of principle, aesthetics, and strategy. The argument is made without prejudice to the substantive heterogeneity of the discipline.
  3. Proposals Invited for Five ASA Journal Editorships

    The ASA Committee on Publications encourages applications for the editorships of Contemporary Sociology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Socius, Sociological Methodology, and Teaching Sociology.

    The official terms for the new editors (or co-editors) will begin in January 2020, with the transition starting in summer 2019. Terms are for three years with the possibility of reappointment for for up to an additional two years.

  4. 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.

  5. Featured Essay: The Arrival of Social Science Genomics

    “The genetics revolution may be well underway,” write Dalton Conley and Jason Fletcher in The Genome Factor, “but the social genomics revolution is just getting started” (p. 11). They are not alone in their excitement for recent developments bringing together social science and genetic research. Decades from now, folks may well look back at this time as the start of a golden age for the field.
  6. Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary

    This article explores how the efficiency of Internet search is changing the way Americans find romantic partners. We use a new data source, the How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey. Results show that for 60 years, family and grade school have been steadily declining in their influence over the dating market. In the past 15 years, the rise of the Internet has partly displaced not only family and school, but also neighborhood, friends, and the workplace as venues for meeting partners.

  7. Beyond Social Contagion: Associative Diffusion and the Emergence of Cultural Variation

    Network models of diffusion predominantly think about cultural variation as a product of social contagion. But culture does not spread like a virus. We propose an alternative explanation we call associative diffusion. Drawing on two insights from research in cognition—that meaning inheres in cognitive associations between concepts, and that perceived associations constrain people’s actions—we introduce a model in which, rather than beliefs or behaviors, the things being transmitted between individuals are perceptions about what beliefs or behaviors are compatible with one another.
  8. The Role of Social Media in Collective Processes of Place Making: A Study of Two Neighborhood Blogs in Amsterdam

    The wide use of social media has facilitated new social practices that influence place meaning. This paper uses a double case study of two neighborhood blogs in gentrifying communities, to explore the role of social media in sharing place associations and community formation. Drawing on Collins’ theory of interaction ritual chains, this research project investigates how the intertwining of online and offline interaction around the blogs creates interaction chains whereby the place associations of participants in the blog become more aligned, creating an alternative place narrative.

  9. Identifying the Urban: Resident Perceptions of Community Character and Local Institutions in Eight Metropolitan Areas

    What does the term “urban” signify as a descriptor of contemporary communities in the United States? We investigate this question using data from the Soul of the Community survey, examining how people within eight metropolitan areas characterize their communities. A substantial disjunction exists between where within their regions respondents live and how they describe those areas.

  10. Neoliberalism

    Johanna Bockman unpacks a hefty term, neoliberalism. She cites its roots and its uses, decoding it as a description of a “bootstraps” ideology that trumpets individualism and opportunity but enforces conformity and ignores structural constraints.