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  1. Race, Class, and the Framing of Drug Epidemics

    by Rebecca Tiger in the Fall 2017 Contexts

    As America’s opiate epidemic rages on, calls for “treatment not punishment” dominate the national media. The hypocrisy of this response is not lost on a range of commentators: the reported move away from criminalization, they argue, is yet another example of racist drug policy. White people get treatment and poor people of color get punishment. Again.

  2. What’s the Harm? The Coverage of Ethics and Harm Avoidance in Research Methods Textbooks

    Methods textbooks play a role in socializing a new generation of researchers about ethical research. How do undergraduate social research methods textbooks portray harm, its prevalence, and ways to mitigate harm to participants? We conducted a content analysis of ethics chapters in the 18 highest-selling undergraduate textbooks used in sociology research methods courses in the United States and Canada in 2013. We found that experiments are portrayed as the research design most likely to harm participants.
  3. Difficult People: Who Is Perceived to Be Demanding in Personal Networks and Why Are They There?

    Why do people maintain ties with individuals whom they find difficult? Standard network theories imply that such alters are avoided or dropped. Drawing on a survey of over 1,100 diverse respondents who described over 12,000 relationships, we examined which among those ties respondents nominated as a person whom they “sometimes find demanding or difficult.” Those so listed composed about 15 percent of all alters in the network. After holding ego and alter traits constant, close kin, especially women relatives and aging parents, were especially likely to be named as difficult alters.
  4. Negotiating the Diagnostic Uncertainty of Genomic Test Results

    Clinicians order next-generation genomic testing to address diagnostic uncertainty about the cause of a patient’s symptoms. Based on video-recorded observations, we examine geneticists as they return exome sequencing results to families. We find that in consultations, clinical geneticists’ interpretations of genomic findings frequently go beyond the laboratory report. The news delivery offers parents insight into the basis of clinicians’ judgment but also invites parents’ involvement in the determination of genetic causality.

  5. Dynamic Network Actor Models: Investigating Coordination Ties through Time

    Important questions in the social sciences are concerned with the circumstances under which individuals, organizations, or states mutually agree to form social network ties. Examples of these coordination ties are found in such diverse domains as scientific collaboration, international treaties, and romantic relationships and marriage. This article introduces dynamic network actor models (DyNAM) for the statistical analysis of coordination networks through time.
  6. New Survey Questions and Estimators for Network Clustering with Respondent-driven Sampling Data

    Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is a popular method for sampling hard-to-survey populations that leverages social network connections through peer recruitment. Although RDS is most frequently applied to estimate the prevalence of infections and risk behaviors of interest to public health, such as HIV/AIDS or condom use, it is rarely used to draw inferences about the structural properties of social networks among such populations because it does not typically collect the necessary data.
  7. (Where) Is Functional Decline Isolating? Disordered Environments and the Onset of Disability

    The onset of disability is believed to undermine social connectedness and raise the risk of social isolation, yet spatial environments are seldom considered in this process. This study examines whether unruly home and neighborhood conditions intensify the association between disability onset and several dimensions of social connectedness. I incorporate longitudinal data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, which contains environmental evaluations conducted by trained observers (N = 1,558).
  8. Contexts: Loving and Leaving

    Contexts
    Fall 2017 Vol. 16 No. 4

    Feature articles include "Virginia is for Lovers", "Marijuana’s Moral Entrepreneurs, Then and Now", "Commuter Spouses and the Changing American Family", "The Queer Work of Militarized Prides", "Accountability after Genocide", and "Race, Class, and the Framing of Drug Epidemics."

  9. Social Skill Dimensions and Career Dynamics

    All work is social, yet little is known about social skill dimensions or how social skill experiences accumulate across careers. Using occupational data (O*NET) on social tasks, the authors identify social skills’ latent dimensions. They find four main types: emotion, communication, coordination, and sales. O*NET provides skill importance scores for each occupation, which the authors link to individual careers (Panel Study of Income Dynamics). The authors then analyze cumulative skill exposure among three cohorts of workers using multitrajectory modeling.
  10. No Laughter among Thieves: Authenticity and the Enforcement of Community Norms in Stand-Up Comedy

    Why might observers label one social actor’s questionable act a norm violation even as they seem to excuse similar behavior by others? To answer this question, I use participant-observer data on Los Angeles stand-up comics to explore the phenomenon of joke theft. Informal, community-based systems govern the property rights pertaining to jokes. Most instances of possible joke theft are ambiguous owing to the potential for simultaneous and coincidental discovery.