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  1. Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists

    The terms terror, terrorism, and terrorist do not identify causally coherent and distinct social phenomena but strategies that recur across a wide variety of actors and political situations. Social scientists who reify the terms confuse themselves and render a disservice to public discussion. The U.S. government's own catalogs of terrorist events actually support both claims.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Not in Your Backyard! Organizational Structure, Partisanship, and the Mobilization of Nonbeneficiary Constituents against “Fracking” in Illinois, 2013–2014

    In the interest of enlarging their constituencies, social movements often broaden mobilization efforts beyond the directly aggrieved, beneficiary populations. The authors examine this process through an analysis of a movement against unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD or “fracking”) in Illinois. Using data on more than 37,000 public comments submitted during a regulatory review of fracking, the authors examine the composition of the antifracking movement’s constituency.
  5. Where Are All of the Women? Untangling the Effects of Representation, Participation, and Preferences on Gender Differences in Political Press Coverage

    The author examines why female politicians continue to be underrepresented in the press by measuring how structural inequalities, engagement in traditional and disruptive dialogue, and gender preferences influence the amount of press coverage U.S. House representatives receive.
  6. Biases of Online Political Polls: Who Participates?

    With a large portion of the population online and the high cost of phone-based surveys, querying people about their voter preference online can offer an affordable and timely alternative. However, given that there are biases in who adopts various sites and services that are often used as sampling frames (e.g., various social media), online political polls may not represent the views of the overall population. How are such polls biased? Who is most likely to participate in them?
  7. Visualizing the Increasing Effect of Racial Resentment on Political Ideology among Whites, 1986 to 2016

    The author constructs an over-time coefficient plot to allow visualized evaluation of the role played by indicators of racial resentment on political ideology among Whites since 1986. The visualization makes clear that the role of racial resentment in the formation of political ideology is one that (1) has been a consistently significant factor in U.S. politics for 30 years and (2) was increasing in importance prior to the candidacy of Donald Trump.
  8. Visualizing Belief in Meritocracy, 1930–2010

    In this figure I describe the long trend in popular belief in meritocracy across the Western world between 1930 and 2010. Studying trends in attitudes is limited by the paucity of survey data that can be compared across countries and over time. Here, I show how to complement survey waves with cohort-level data. Repeated surveys draw on a representative sample of the population to describe the typical beliefs held by citizens in a given country and period.
  9. The Societalization of Social Problems: Church Pedophilia, Phone Hacking, and the Financial Crisis

    This article develops a theory of “societalization,” demonstrating its plausibility through empirical analyses of church pedophilia, media phone-hacking, and the financial crisis. Although these strains were endemic for decades, they had failed to generate broad crises. Reactions were confined inside institutional boundaries and handled by intra-institutional elites according to the cultural logics of their particular spheres. The theory proposes that boundaries between spheres can be breached only if there is code switching.
  10. The Social Sources of Geopolitical Power: French and British Diplomacy and the Politics of Interstate Recognition, 1689 to 1789

    Why did France influence the geopolitical system of eighteenth-century Europe more effectively than did Britain? Explanations pointing to states’ military and economic power are unable to explain this outcome. I argue that durable geopolitical influence depends on states’ symbolic capacities to secure recognition from competitor states, in addition to their coercive and economic capacities. And I show that states are liable to secure recognition to the extent that their agents embody social dispositions congruent with those of competitor agents.