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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  3. Field and Ecology

    This article offers a theoretical comparison between field and ecology, as developed by Pierre Bourdieu and the Chicago School of sociology. While field theory and ecological theory share similar conceptualizations of actors, positions, and relations, and while they converge in their views on structural isomorphism, temporality, and social psychology, they are quite different on several other scores: power and inequality, endogeneity, heterogeneity, metaphorical sources, and abstraction.

  4. Markets, Nature, and Society: Embedding Economic & Environmental Sociology

    Social scientists have drawn on theories of embeddedness to explain the different ways legal, political, and cultural frameworks shape markets. Often overlooked, however, is how the materiality of nature also structures markets. In this article, I suggest that neo-Polanyian scholars, and economic sociologists more generally, should better engage in a historical sociology of concept formation to problematize the human exemptionalist paradigm their work upholds and recognize the role of nature in shaping markets and society.

  5. None of the above: Strategies for Inclusive Teaching with "Representative" Data

    This conversation explores emerging debates concerning teaching to and about marginalized populations often left out of "representative" data sets. Based on our experiences studying, teaching, and belonging to some of these unrepresented populations, we outline some strategies sociologists may use to transform the limitations of data sets traditionally labeled as representative into tools for delivering core sociological concepts.

  6. Enhancing Student Compositional Diversity in the Sociology Classroom

    It is well documented that interaction between diverse students encourages positive learning outcomes. Given this, we examine how to enhance the quantity and quality of student diversity in university classrooms. Drawing on sociological theory linking life experiences with ways of knowing, we investigate how to increase classroom diversity by considering when, where, and how courses are scheduled and delivered.

  7. Teaching Around the World: Sociology on the Semester at Sea Ship

    Michelle M. Camacho, Fellow, American Council on Education

  8. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  9. The Graduate Teaching Seminar Project Using TRAILS

    A vigorous discipline of sociology requires the creation of meaningful research knowledge and the training of professional sociologists able to pass on that knowledge effectively. In spring 2015, four ASA Department Affiliate institutions participated in a pilot project to integrate TRAILS, ASA’s Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, into their graduate teaching seminars.

  10. Graduate Student Teacher Training: Still Relevant (and Missing?) 20 Years Later

    Twenty years ago, Pescosolido and Milkie (1995) reported that 50 percent of U.S. and Canadian sociology graduate programs offered formal teacher training. Despite pronouncements that offerings have increased substantially, no similarly thorough and direct investigation has been published since. In this time of dramatic change and increasing scrutiny of higher education, graduate teacher training is arguably more important than ever before. Thus, we seek to provide a new baseline of teacher training in the discipline. Using a 2013 survey of U.S.