ASA speaks with sociologist Michèle Lamont at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Lamont talks about what it means to “do sociology,” how she uses sociology in her work, highlights of her work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and her advice to students interested in entering the field.
Corporations gather massive amounts of personal data to predict how individuals will behave so that they can profitably price goods and allocate resources. This article investigates the moral foundations of such increasingly prevalent market practices. I leverage the case of credit scores in car insurance pricing—an early and controversial use of algorithmic prediction in the U.S. consumer economy—to unpack the premise that predictive data are fair to use and to understand the conditions under which people are likely to challenge that moral logic.
Scholars in sociology and social psychology typically represent creativity as an imaginative and deliberate mental activity. Such a perspective has led to a view of creativity as disconnected from the body and the senses as well as from nonanalytic cognition. In this article, we demonstrate that creativity is more grounded in bodily and sensory experience and more reliant on a combination of cognitive processes than has been typically recognized.
Because of economically induced changes in record label contracts, recording artists are now required to cowrite their songs. Despite this obligation, many recording artists are unskilled as writers. For their professional songwriter teammates, using face-work to save the recording artist from the embarrassment of being an unskilled songwriter can be at odds with status maintenance in the larger social community if the collaboration results in a bad song.
The sociological literature on creativity would suggest that collaboration between newcomers and more experienced members of an art world results in the fruitful combination of novelty and usefulness, though not without some conflict.
In this article, I study role enactment and status relationships in university design studio classrooms. I analyze conversations that take place during discussions of student creative work, and I interpret them in the context of previous studies of learning, classroom discourse, and creativity. I found that professors and students jointly establish and maintain a complex and hybrid participation structure in which they enact dialogic status: they simultaneously perform both an authority relationship and a peer relationship.
Who gets to define what counts as art when a genre is in flux? In the present analysis, I find that legitimated artists may also be able to act as intermediaries, such as critics and gatekeepers. In doing so, these artists-as-intermediaries, under certain conditions, can shift the meaning of the genre as it transitions. Using the current transition of drag performance from scene-based to industry-based genre as a case, I present a multistage qualitative analysis of televised and digital drag performance.
This article reviews conceptualizations from three academic areas: the sociology of art, the psychology of creativity, and research on the cultural and creative industries. These are compared with findings from a critical discursive study with UK practitioners. The meanings and associations these maker artists attach to creativity are discussed as a practitioner concept. For the practitioners, the association of creativity with art carries a promise of transcendence and escape from ordinary life but also a potential challenge to their own entitlement and claims to a creative status.
For years, sociologists who study society and the environment have focused on resolving the debate regarding the relationship between economic development and environmental degradation. Studies from a family of critical perspectives tend to find that economic development is antithetical to environmental protection, whereas a suite of more optimistic perspectives has uncovered more hopeful findings. We attempt to resolve these differences by situating this debate within the larger framework of the anthro-shift.