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  1. Modern Social Hierarchies and the Spaces between: How Are Subjective Status Inconsistencies Linked to Mental Well-Being?

    Higher socioeconomic status is linked to higher mental well-being, but modern individuals inhabit multiple hierarchies and reference groups—and thus well-being may be determined between as much as within socioeconomic statuses. Drawing on proprietary national data collected by Gallup in 2017, I find that inconsistency between one’s perceived standing in society and one’s standing in more local hierarchies based in neighbors or friends is quite common.
  2. Toward a Cultural-Structural Theory of Suicide: Examining Excessive Regulation and Its Discontents

    Despite its enduring insights, Durkheim’s theory of suicide fails to account for a significant set of cases because of its overreliance on structural forces to the detriment of other possible factors. In this paper, we develop a new theoretical framework for thinking about the role of culture in vulnerability to suicide. We argue that by focusing on the cultural dynamics of excessive regulation, particularly at the meso level, a more robust sociological model for suicide could be offered that supplements structure-heavy Durkheimian theory.
  3. Scents and Sensibility: Olfaction, Sense-Making, and Meaning Attribution

    How are smells invested with meaning and how do those meanings structure interactions and group relations? I use cultural theories of meaning-making to explore these questions, situating my inquiry in the world of commercially marketed perfumes. Using blind smell tests in focus groups, I examine how individuals make sense of certain fragrances absent direction from manufacturers or marketing materials. I find that most participants can correctly decode perfume manufacturers’ intended message, target users, and usage sites.
  4. Racial Disparities in Context: Student-, School-, and County-Level Effects on the Likelihood of Obesity among Elementary School Students

    Childhood obesity rates in the United States have risen since the 1980s and are especially high among racial minorities. Researchers document differentials in obesity rates by race, socioeconomic status, school characteristics, and place. In this study, the authors examine the impact of race on the likelihood of obesity at the student, school, and county levels and the interactions between student race and school racial composition. The data are from 74,661 third to fifth grade students in 317 schools in 38 North Carolina counties.
  5. Velvet Rope Racism, Racial Paranoia, and Cultural Scripts: Alleged Dress Code Discrimination in Urban Nightlife, 2000–2014

    Using news stories appearing between June 1, 2000, and June 15, 2014, I explore the nature of African Americans’ allegations of racial discrimination in the use of dress codes at urban nightclubs. In this qualitative analysis I outline the nature of these incidents and the extent to which they represent what I refer to as “velvet rope racism”. I focus on how these incidents are negotiated between patrons and nightclub management, observing that owners who face allegations of racial discrimination turn to cultural scripts to make counterclaims to allegations.

  6. The Art of Trans Politics

    Emmanuel David on contemporary artist Cassils’s embodied struggle and trans politics.
  7. Tobacco 21

    Paula M. Lantz on the evidence around a popular “PUP” law.
  8. Who Is Presidential? Women’s Political Representation, Deflection, and the 2016 Election

    In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the first woman to gain the presidential nomination from a major political party in the United States, yet she was unsuccessful. The current study explores barriers to being elected as president for women generally and Hillary Clinton specifically. Using the propositions and tools of affect control theory, we demonstrate how women’s political representation shapes cultural sentiments about women and the president.
  9. 2017 Presidential Address: Addressing Recognition Gaps: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality

    This Presidential Address offers elements for a systematic and cumulative study of destigmatization, or the process by which low-status groups gain recognition and worth. Contemporary sociologists tend to focus on inequality in the distribution of resources, such as occupations, education, and wealth. Complementing this research, this address draws attention to “recognition gaps,” defined as disparities in worth and cultural membership between groups in a society. I first describe how neoliberalism promotes growing recognition gaps.
  10. The Cultural-Cognitive Mapping of Scientific Professions

    Even with widespread interest, public perceptions of science remain understudied and poorly theorized by social scientists. A central issue has been the persistent assumption that publics require a base of scientific knowledge for science to have broad cultural meaning. Yet, recent advances in cultural and cognitive sociology point to alternative research programs seeking to identify how publics come to understand complex and uncertain issues, when information is incomplete and asymmetric.