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  1. The Hazards of Expert Control: Chief Risk Officers and Risky Derivatives

    In a new podcast, Kim Pernell (University of Toronto) talks about her research on "The Hazards of Expert Control: Chief Risk Officers and Risky Derivatives," co-authored with Jiwook Jung and Frank Dobbin, appearing in the June 2017 issue of the American Sociological Review.

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    Article abstract and online access

  2. Study: Banks Hired Risk Officers to Mitigate Risk in Years Before Collapse. It Didn’t Go So Well

    New research suggests a significant number of national and international American banks hired new Chief Risk Officers to mitigate risk but may have actually helped lead the industry into widespread insolvency.

    Starting in the 1990s, many major banks hired Chief Risk Officers (CROs) in a response to new laws and regulations put in place following financial meltdowns in the 1980s. In an effort to comply, banking officials elevated risk analysts to corner offices to show they were serious about tackling risk.

  3. Review Essays: Karl Polanyi in an Age of Uncertainty

    Although Karl Polanyi’s masterwork, The Great Transformation, was originally published in 1944, it was not until the sharp turn toward the neoliberalism of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the late 1970s and early1980s that his work and his ideas began to be widely discovered by sociologists and social scientists more generally.1 Unlike the upsurge of Marxism in the1960s, it was not attention to exploitation that provoked the turn toward Polanyi.
  4. Review Essays: Sociology’s Messy Eating: Food, Consumer Choice, and Social Change

    In 2002, the historian Warren Belasco remarked that while “food is important . . . food scholars may still evoke a sense of surprise” (Belasco 2002, pp. 2, 5). The sociological importance of food should be obvious: one need not be a Marxist to recognize that food production forms an essential infrastructure for other sorts of social activities, nor a Weberian to perceive the role of eating in status and social closure. And yet, at the time of Belasco’s writing, identifying one’s primary research area as “food” to colleagues at an ASA meeting could evoke a cocked eyebrow and an awkward pause.
  5. Paul Starr on the Shaping of the American Health Care System

    Health care continues to be a "toxic issue" at the center of American politics but, according to sociologist Paul Starr, it didn't have to be. In an ASA-produced video, Dr. Starr takes a sociological look at the history of health care to see how the medical industry played a role in sending the U.S. in its current course eschewing other options that would have provided universal access. Starr is Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and author of The Social Transformation of American Medicine.

  6. Review Essays: Inequality and Polarization in America

    Doug McAdam and Karina Kloos’s Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Postwar America provides a powerful and timely analysis of the causes and consequences of growing political polarization and economic inequality. Arguing that social movements have contributed to a reconfiguration of politics, McAdam and Kloos show how the sharp right turn of the Republican Party has generated policies that greatly increase economic inequality.
  7. Agents with Principles: The Control of Labor in the Dutch East India Company, 1700 to 1796

    Agents with Principles: The Control of Labor in the Dutch East India Company, 1700 to 1796
  8. Whitewashing the Working Class

    Six essays consider the emotion, economic power, racial animus, alienation, anti-elitism, and exploitation of the “white working class”–and how it all fit into the 2016 election.

  9. Hope in the Sweatshops of Buenos Aires

    Dreaming and hustling in La Salada, Latin America’s largest low-cost garment marketplace.

  10. Walmart’s Consumer Redlining

    When Walmart opened its first two stores in Washington D.C. in late 2013, Mayor Vincent Gray said that the massive retailer would help to solve the problem of “food deserts” in the city.