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  1. International Human Rights and Domestic Income Inequality: A Difficult Case of Compliance in World Society

    Much research finds that human rights treaties fail to improve domestic practices unless governments are held accountable in some fashion. The implication is that noncompliance can be attributed to insincere commitments and willful disobedience. I challenge this claim for a core but overlooked treaty: the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Few analysts have studied the ICESCR because its terms are difficult to implement and suitable measures for judging compliance are hard to find.

  2. Ideology and Threat Assessment: Law Enforcement Evaluation of Muslim and Right-Wing Extremism

    Does ideology affect assessment of the threat of violent extremism? A survey of law enforcement agencies in the United States in 2014 offers a comparison suggesting a small but statistically significant effect: Political attitudes were correlated with assessment of threats posed by Muslim extremists, and threat assessment was not correlated with the number of Muslim Americans who had engaged in violent extremism within the agency’s jurisdiction.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. From “Ridiculous” to “Glad to Have Helped”: Debriefing News Delivery and Improved Reactions to Science in Milgram’s “Obedience” Experiments

    Commentators on Milgram’s classic and controversial experiments agree that better integration of theories of “obedience to authority” with current archival research on participants’ viewpoints is essential in explaining compliance. Using conversation analysis, we examine an archived data source that is largely overlooked by the Milgram literature, yet crucial for understanding the interactional organization of participants’ displayed perspectives. In hundreds of interviews conducted immediately after each experiment, participants received one of two types of debriefing: deceptive or full.
  7. Bringing the Global Home: Students Research Local Areas through Postcolonial Perspectives

    This article describes a class that draws on postcolonial insights to create a global sociological imagination. Postcolonial approaches can make visible how global connections have shaped our local environments even if these relations are not always immediately visible. Specifically, students in this class highlight how global relations, such as the slave trade, settler colonialism, racial formations, or migrations, constitute the local. If we start to reconnect global ties, how do we interpret local inequalities differently?
  8. The Structure of Comparison in the Study of Revolution

    The social scientific study of revolution has been deviled by a lack of progress in recent years, divided between competing views on the universality of patterns in revolution. This study examines the origins of these epistemologies. Drawing on an insight that different modes of comparison yield different types of knowledge, I argue that the network structure of how cases are compared constrains or enables the development of a field’s theoretical sensibilities.
  9. How to Read The Wealth of Nations (or Why the Division of Labor Is More Important Than Competition in Adam Smith)

    This article challenges the idea that competition was central to Adam Smith’s thinking by scrutinizing the concept’s role in Smith’s work, particularly The Wealth of Nations. We will understand Smith’s perspective better if we avoid reading later developments of the concept, particularly in economics, back into Smith’s times and writings. Conversely, I argue that the division of labor is the governing idea providing the basic organizational structure of Wealth of Nations.
  10. The Anti-oppressive Value of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality in Social Movement Study

    Social movements can be important mechanisms of social change for vulnerable populations as the formal mechanisms of policy and legislation tend to be in the hands of the powerful in society. Academic scholarship can play an important role in challenging or reinforcing social power dynamics. This reality makes it important to critically interrogate social movement knowledge production and use anti-oppressive frameworks for social movement scholarship.