American Sociological Association

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  1. The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications

    The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning—which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition—that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness.

  2. Accounting for Women’s Orgasm and Sexual Enjoyment in College Hookups and Relationships

    This article investigates the determinants of orgasm and sexual enjoyment in hookup and relationship sex among heterosexual college women and seeks to explain why relationship sex is better for women in terms of orgasm and sexual enjoyment. We use data from women respondents to a large online survey of undergraduates at 21 U.S. colleges and universities and from 85 in-depth interviews at two universities. We identify four general views of the sources of orgasm and sexual enjoyment—technically competent genital stimulation, partner-specific learning, commitment, and gender equality.

  3. Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms

    This article presents culture as a vehicle of labor market sorting. Providing a case study of hiring in elite professional service firms, I investigate the often suggested but heretofore empirically unexamined hypothesis that cultural similarities between employers and job candidates matter for employers’ hiring decisions. Drawing from 120 interviews with employers as well as participant observation of a hiring committee, I argue that hiring is more than just a process of skills sorting; it is also a process of cultural matching between candidates, evaluators, and firms.

  4. Political Fit as a Component of Neighborhood Preference and Satisfaction

    We examine the role party identification plays in moderating people's perception of place. Do people rely on heuristics to gauge neighborhood partisan composition? If so, those estimates may influence their perception of fit and neighborhood satisfaction. We find that in the absence of concrete, detailed information, people make quick judgments. Republicans, compared to Democrats and non‐partisans, are more likely to develop impressions based on the specific location characteristics presented here.

  5. 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.

  6. The Connection between Neighboring and Volunteering

    Sociological theory predicts that volunteers are likely to be more socially integrated into their communities than nonvolunteers. In this study, we test this theory by examining three dimensions of relations to neighbors—contact, social engagement, and the perception that neighbors trust each other. We hypothesize reciprocal relations between volunteering and these three measures.

  7. Residential Stratification is the Linchpin of Racial Stratification

    Three decades of research have amply confirmed Pettigrew's (1979) prescient observation that residential segregation constitutes the “structural linchpin” of racial stratification in the United States. Although the centrality of segregation as a stratifying force in American society remains, however, patterns of segregation have changed substantially since the 1970s.

  8. Why do People get Tattoos?

    As increasingly diverse groups of people get tattoos, popular perceptions are often out of synch with the individual meanings behind them

  9. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  10. Frame-Induced Group Polarization in Small Discussion Networks

    We present a novel explanation for the group polarization effect whereby discussion among like-minded individuals induces shifts toward the extreme. Our theory distinguishes between a quantitative policy under debate and the discussion’s rhetorical frame, such as the likelihood of an outcome. If policy and frame position are mathematically related so that frame position increases more slowly as the policy becomes more extreme, majority formation at the extreme is favored, thereby shifting consensus formation toward the extreme.