American Sociological Association

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  1. A Design and a Model for Investigating the Heterogeneity of Context Effects in Public Opinion Surveys

    Context effects on survey response, caused by the unobserved interaction between beliefs stored in personal memory and triggers generated by the structure of the survey instrument, are a pervasive challenge to survey research. The authors argue that randomized survey experiments on representative samples, when paired with facilitative primes, can enable researchers to model selection into variable context effects, revealing heterogeneity at the population level.

  2. Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings

    Contemporary social research often has located religion’s public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people’s religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context.

  3. Addicted to Hate: Identity Residual among Former White Supremacists

    The process of leaving deeply meaningful and embodied identities can be experienced as a struggle against addiction, with continuing cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses that are involuntary, unwanted, and triggered by environmental factors. Using data derived from a unique set of in-depth life history interviews with 89 former U.S. white supremacists, as well as theories derived from recent advances in cognitive sociology, we examine how a rejected identity can persist despite a desire to change.
  4. Varieties of American Popular Nationalism

    Despite the relevance of nationalism for politics and intergroup relations, sociologists have devoted surprisingly little attention to the phenomenon in the United States, and historians and political psychologists who do study the United States have limited their focus to specific forms of nationalist sentiment: ethnocultural or civic nationalism, patriotism, or national pride.

  5. Moving a Mountain: The Extraordinary Trajectory of Same-Sex Marriage Approval in the United States

    Most public opinion attitudes in the United States are reasonably stable over time. Using data from the General Social Survey and the American National Election Studies, I quantify typical change rates across all attitudes. I quantify the extent to which change in same-sex marriage approval (and liberalization in attitudes toward gay rights in general) are among a small set of rapid changing outliers in surveyed public opinions. No measured public opinion attitude in the United States has changed more and more quickly than same-sex marriage.
  6. Who are the “Illegals”? The Social Construction of Illegality in the United States

    Immigration scholars have increasingly questioned the idea that “illegality” is a fixed, inherent condition. Instead, the new consensus is that immigration laws produce “illegality.” But can “illegality” be socially constructed? When initially judging who is an “illegal immigrant,” common observers and even authorities typically do not rely on an individual’s documentation.
  7. 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.

  8. The Public Stigma of Mental Illness What Do We Think; What Do We Know; What Can We Prove?

    By the 1990s, sociology faced a frustrating paradox. Classic work on mental illness stigma and labeling theory reinforced that the “mark” of mental illness created prejudice and discrimination for individuals and family members. Yet that foundation, coupled with deinstitutionalization of mental health care, produced contradictory responses. Claims that stigma was dissipating were made, while others argued that intervention efforts were needed to reduce stigma.

  9. Does Violent Protest Backfire? Testing a Theory of Public Reactions to Activist Violence

    How do people respond to violent political protest? The authors present a theory proposing that the use of violence leads the general public to view a protest group as less reasonable, a perception that reduces identification with the group. This reduced identification in turn reduces public support for the violent group. Furthermore, the authors argue that violence also leads to more support for groups that are perceived as opposing the violent group. The authors test this theory using a large (n = 800) Internet-based survey experiment with a politically diverse sample.

  10. Trends in the Association between a College Education and Political Tolerance, 1976–2016

    In this data visualization, we use data from the General Social Survey to explore long-running trends in the association between a college education and political tolerance toward five groups. For tolerance toward militarists, anti-religionists, communists, and gay men, we show that the tolerance gap between college-educated and non–college educated individuals has narrowed, and this is largely attributable to increased tolerance among the non–college educated.