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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 2012 Presidential Address: Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias

    This address explores a broad framework for thinking sociologically about emancipatory alternatives to dominant institutions and social structures, especially capitalism. The framework is grounded in two foundational propositions: (1) Many forms of human suffering and many deficits in human flourishing are the result of existing institutions and social structures. (2) Transforming existing institutions and social structures in the right way has the potential to substantially reduce human suffering and expand the possibilities for human flourishing.

  4. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  5. What Is the Relation between Theory and Practice, and Did Marx Discuss Engineering Society?

    My impression of Marx’s understanding of theory and praxis is that the transition from capitalism to socialism is contingent on the historical circumstances at any given point in time. The logic of capital creates certain preconditions that set the stage for the transition, but the transition is by no means guaranteed to unfold, or unfold in a clearly predictable manner. One of the preconditions is the concentration of capital into the hands of few and the general tendency toward increasing relative poverty of workers.

  6. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

    Stanley Cohen revisits Foucault's _Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison_.
  7. Using Racial and Class Differences in Infant Mortality to Teach about White Privilege: A Cooperative Group Activity

    A considerable amount of research across the past several decades has documented the emergence of a new racial ideology of “color-blindness” as well as evidence that white college students have difficulty recognizing the racial privileges that are obscured by this color-blindness. To address this, we developed a cooperative group White Privilege Activity that used racial and class differences in infant mortality to help students recognize the existence of white privilege.
  8. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  9. Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

    At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits.
  10. The Civic Side of Diversity: Ambivalence and Belonging at the Neighborhood Level

    Although diversity has become a cherished ideal for Americans, a growing literature suggests that many are also ambivalent about lived experiences of diversity. Focusing on three historically homogeneous neighborhoods in Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles, this paper explores the “civic talk” used to express this ambivalence through interrelated frames of social order and civic engagement. In all three neighborhoods, long‐term residents and neighborhood association members speak fluently about race, class, and other forms of diversity in their neighborhoods.