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  1. The Heavy Hands of the State

    The modern state is that ensemble of fields of struggle among actors, agencies, and institutions over the capacity and right to monopolize not only the legitimate means of physical violence, as Max Weber famously argued, but also the means of symbolic violence over a given territory and its inhabitants. So argues Pierre Bourdieu, whose critical sociology of symbolic power is globally one of the most widely acknowledged approaches in sociology today.
  2. Featured Essay: Frontlash/Backlash: The Crisis of Solidarity and the Threat to Civil Institutions

    Jeffrey C. Alexander argues for an understanding of the polarizing and excluding forces of Trumpism as sociologically ‘‘normal’’ to the ongoing dynamics of civil spheres.
  3. Getting to Know You: Welfare Fraud Investigation and the Appropriation of Social Ties

    State-level public assistance agencies completed nearly a million SNAP fraud investigations in fiscal year 2016. These investigations hinge on compiling incriminating information about clients. Drawing on interviews with welfare fraud workers in five U.S. states, this article shows how fraud investigators creatively exploit clients’ social networks to extract such information, and thus use clients’ social ties against them. Investigators gain some information through elective cooperation, when people voluntarily implicate others.
  4. ASA Sends Letter to the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Regarding the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    In a February 15, 2019, letter to David B. Cornstein, the U.S. Embassor to Hungary, ASA wrote:

    Dear Ambassador Cornstein,   
     
    We, the American Sociological Association, representing more than 12,000 professionals in our field, are writing to express our concern and to register opposition to the proposed changes in governance of the world-renowned Hungarian Academy of Sciences, including the Social Science Research Institute in which many Hungarian sociologists are employed.    

  5. Agency and Change in Healthcare Organizations: Workers’ Attempts to Navigate Multiple Logics in Hospice Care

    How do major healthcare policy changes affect the delivery of care? Healthcare policy changes often have unintended consequences that affect workers’ practices and patient experiences. Medicare, which pays for the vast majority of hospice end-of-life care, recently changed a policy to curb long hospice stays. Starting in 2011, all patients who were enrolled in hospice for 180 days or more were required to have a face-to-face visit with a physician or qualified nurse practitioner.
  6. Agency and Change in Healthcare Organizations: Workers’ Attempts to Navigate Multiple Logics in Hospice Care

    There is no doubt that the organization of healthcare is currently shifting, partly in response to changing macrolevel policies. Studies of healthcare policies often do not consider healthcare workers’ experiences of policy change, thus limiting our understanding of when and how policies work. This article uses longitudinal qualitative data, including participant observation and semistructured interviews with workers within hospice care as their organizations shifted in response to a Medicare policy change.
  7. Toward a Sociology of Colonial Subjectivity: Political Agency in Haiti and Liberia

    The authors seek to connect global historical sociology with racial formation theory to examine how antislavery movements fostered novel forms of self-government and justifications for state formation. The cases of Haiti and Liberia demonstrate how enslaved and formerly enslaved actors rethought modern politics at the time, producing novel political subjects in the process. Prior to the existence of these nations, self-determination by black subjects in colonial spaces was impossible, and each sought to carve out that possibility in the face of a transatlantic structure of slavery.
  8. Towards a Dynamic Theory of Civil Society: The Politics of Forward and Backward Infiltration

    This article develops a conceptual framework to theorize the processes of mutual penetration between civil society, the state, and the economy, where incumbents and challengers continuously formulate new strategies against each other. We criticize the prevailing Weberian and Tocquevillian concepts of civil society, and then, drawing on research in social movements and comparative political economy, propose a new framework: the politics of forward and backward infiltration.
  9. Performative State-Formation in the Early American Republic

    How do proto-state organizations achieve an initial accumulation of power, such that they are in a position to grow (or shrink) as an organization, maintain their prestige (or lose it), and be viewed, by elite and populace, as something real and consequential that can be argued about, supported, or attacked?
  10. The Commons: Separating Tragedy and Triumph at a City Park

    Littering in a city park is often considered a capricious act of neglect associated with simple carelessness. Using Ostrom's model, Governing the Commons, this research finds that littering is correlated with specific park activities. This article advances our understanding of the Commons and littering by considering the concept of “pollution,” as well as understanding patterns of litter for a communal city.