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  1. 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.

  2. The Public Life of Secrets: Deception, Disclosure, and Discursive Framing in the Policy Process

    While secrecy enables policy makers to escape public scrutiny, leaks of classified information reveal the social construction of reality by the state. I develop a theory that explains how leaks shape the discursive frames states create to communicate the causes of social problems to the public and corresponding solutions to redress them. Synthesizing cultural sociology, symbolic interactionism, and ethnomethodology, I argue that leaks enable non–state actors to amplify contradictions between the public and secret behavior of the state.

  3. Individualism as a Discursive Strategy of Action: Autonomy, Agency, and Reflexivity among Religious Americans

    This paper reconceptualizes "individualism" as a discursive strategy of action through which everyday Americans attempt to manage the cultural dilemma of engaging in externally imposed social obligations within a broader individualistic culture.

  4. The Racial Gap in Childhood Blood Lead Levels Related to Socioeconomic Position of Residence in Metropolitan Detroit

    Childhood lead poisoning in the United States remains a persistent, prevalent environmental public health problem, especially for children living in central-city neighborhoods. These neighborhoods typically are racially segregated, are in proximity to current and/or legacy lead emission sources, consist of older housing, and contain disproportionately African American or black children of low-income families.

  5. Caring for Them Like Family: How Structure and Culture Simultaneously Influence Contemporary African American Middle- and Upper-Middle-Class Mothers Kin and Community Child Care Choices

    Scholars examining kin and community care have often sought to identify the relative importance of structural and cultural factors on the use and availability of these networks, but research has yielded unclear results in the case of child care. Cultural theories focus on how values, beliefs, and practices lead to differences in kin and community care; structural theories focus on how educational attainment, income, inherited power or inequality, and family structure lead to such differences.

  6. "I Have More in Common with Americans Than I Do with Illegal Aliens": Culture, Perceived Threat, and Neighborhood Preferences

    In this article, I explore different forms of perceived threat posed by the presence of minority groups and how threat impacts residential segregation and neighborhood preferences. I extend previous research by exploring non-Hispanic white residents’ preferences regarding black and Latino neighbors using qualitative data from in-depth interviews with white adults conducted in multiple neighborhoods in Buffalo, New York, and Ogden, Utah. My findings suggest that white residents perceive threat differently for blacks and Latinos.

  7. Pivot Points: Direct Measures of the Content and Process of Community-based Learning

    This research is an initial investigation into the ways community-based learning increase the cognitive skills central to the exercise of the sociological imagination. In addition to identifying a means to reveal that learning had occurred, we looked for evidence that the students were mastering sociological content, especially the concepts and habits of the sociological imagination.

  8. 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.

  9. Student Neighborhoods, Schools, and Test Score Growth: Evidence from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Schools and neighborhoods are thought to be two of the most important contextual influences on student academic outcomes. Drawing on a unique data set that permits simultaneous estimation of neighborhood and school contributions to student test score gains, we analyze the distributions of these contributions to consider the relative importance of schools and neighborhoods in shaping student achievement outcomes.

  10. Deconcentration without Integration: Examining the Social Outcomes of Housing Choice Voucher Movement in Los Angeles County

    This article reports on the social experiences of tenants moving from low-income neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles to a racially mixed, lower poverty suburb—the Antelope Valley—using Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Voucher tenants experience significant social exclusion and aggressive oversight. Local residents use racial shorthand to label their black neighbors as voucher holders and apply additional scrutiny to their activity. They aggressively report voucher tenants to the housing authority and police, instigating inspections that threaten tenants’ voucher status.