American Sociological Association

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  1. One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion

    Debates about science and religion—whether they conflict and how they factor into public opinion, policies, and politics—are of longstanding interest to social scientists. Research in this area often examines how elites use science and religion to justify competing claims. But, how do members of the public more generally incorporate science and religion into their worldviews? The assumption that science and religion inherently conflict with one another has come under increasing scrutiny and recent studies reveal that science and religion are more compatible than previously assumed.

  2. Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings

    Contemporary social research often has located religion’s public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people’s religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context.

  3. The Doors of the Church are Now Open: Black Clergy, Collective Efficacy, and Neighborhood Violence

    Prior research has documented the historical significance of the black church beyond serving parishioners’ religious and spiritual needs. Specifically, several black churches are involved in community organizing, social service activities, and political action. Scholars, however, have paid less attention to its role as a potent social institution in community crime control and prevention efforts.

  4. Manufacturing Gender Inequality in the New Economy: High School Training for Work in Blue-Collar Communities

    Tensions between the demands of the knowledge-based economy and remaining, blue-collar jobs underlie renewed debates about whether schools should emphasize career and technical training or college-preparatory curricula. We add a gendered lens to this issue, given the male-dominated nature of blue-collar jobs and women’s greater returns to college. Using the ELS:2002, this study exploits spatial variation in school curricula and jobs to investigate local dynamics that shape gender stratification.

  5. Fifty Years since the Coleman Report: Rethinking the Relationship between Schools and Inequality

    In the half century since the 1966 Coleman Report, scholars have yet to develop a consensus regarding the relationship between schools and inequality. The Coleman Report suggested that schools play little role in generating achievement gaps, but social scientists have identified many ways in which schools provide better learning environments to advantaged children compared to disadvantaged children. As a result, a critical perspective that views schools as engines of inequality dominates contemporary sociology of education.

  6. Choice, Preferences, and Constraints: Evidence from Public School Applications in Denver

    Does ‘‘choosing a home’’ still matter for ‘‘choosing a school,’’ despite implementation of school choice policies designed to weaken this link? Prior research shows how the presence of such policies does little to solve the problems of stratification and segregation associated with residentially based enrollment systems, since families differ along racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines in their access to, and how they participate in, the school choice process. We examine how families’ nearby school supply shapes and constrains their choices.

  7. "Oil and Water"? Latino-white Relations and Symbolic Integration in a Changing California

    Existing research on race relations between racial/ethnic groups in the United States highlights how personal contact can lead to increased harmony or conflict between groups and may reduce intergroup prejudice. This study engages this literature and draws from more than 20 months of ethnography and 66 interviews in a Spanish/English dual-language school in Los Angeles to qualitatively examine Latino-white relations in diverse settings.

  8. Instrumental and Expressive Education: College Planning in the Face of Poverty

    Nearly all young people in the United States aspire to a college degree, but many fail to complete college in a timely manner. Does this lack of attainment reflect abandoned college plans? I analyze mixed-methods data from a five-year study of 700 low-income mothers at two Louisiana community colleges. Hurricane Katrina displaced respondents and interrupted their college educations; respondents had to decide whether, how, and why to return to school. Few women earned degrees during the study, but survey data indicate that the rate of reenrollment and intentions to complete were high.

  9. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers’ Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  10. Neighborhood Attainment over the Adult Life Course

    This study uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, in conjunction with neighborhood-level data from the U.S. decennial census and American Community Survey, to examine the trajectory of individuals’ neighborhood characteristics from initial household formation into mid-to-late adulthood. Multilevel growth curve models reveal both different starting points and different life course trajectories for blacks and whites in neighborhood economic status and neighborhood racial composition.