American Sociological Association

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  1. What is Critical Realism? And Why Should You Care?

    Critical realism (CR) is a philosophical system developed by the Indo-British philosopher, Roy Bhaskar, in collaboration with a number of British social theorists, including Margaret Archer, Mervyn Hartwig, Tony Lawson, Alan Norrie, and Andrew Sayer. It has a journal, a book series, an association, an annual meeting and, in short, all the usual trappings of an intellectual movement. The movement is centered in the UK but has followers throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Antipodes.

  2. Featured Essay: The Arrival of Social Science Genomics

    “The genetics revolution may be well underway,” write Dalton Conley and Jason Fletcher in The Genome Factor, “but the social genomics revolution is just getting started” (p. 11). They are not alone in their excitement for recent developments bringing together social science and genetic research. Decades from now, folks may well look back at this time as the start of a golden age for the field.
  3. Time, Anticipation, and the Life Course: Egg Freezing as Temporarily Disentangling Romance and Reproduction

    This study examines women’s use of egg freezing as a tool to renegotiate the relationship between romantic and reproductive trajectories and temporalities. We interviewed 52 participants who were considering freezing their eggs, were in the process of freezing their eggs, had already frozen their eggs, or had considered freezing their eggs and chose not to do so. We find that most of our participants used egg freezing to disentangle the trajectory of finding a partner from the trajectory of having children, with the end goal of bundled marriage and childbearing.
  4. Do‐It‐Yourself Urban Design: The Social Practice of Informal “Improvement” Through Unauthorized Alteration

    There are numerous ways in which people make illegal or unauthorized alterations to urban space.

  5. Childhood Family Instability and Young Adult Health

    American children live in a variety of family structures throughout their childhoods. Such instability in family arrangements is common and has important demonstrated implications for short-term child outcomes. However, it is not known whether family instability experienced in childhood has enduring health consequences across the life course.
  6. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  7. Beyond America: Cross-national Context and the Impact of Religious Versus Secular Organizational Membership on Self-rated Health

    Studies using data from the United States suggest religious organizational involvement is more beneficial for health than secular organizational involvement. Extending beyond the United States, we assess the relative impacts of religious and secular organizational involvement on self-rated health cross-nationally, accounting for national-level religious context. Analyses of data from 33 predominantly Christian countries from the 2005–2008 World Values Survey reveal that active membership in religious organizations is positively associated with self-rated health.
  8. Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity “Epidemic” and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions

    While most sociology students are well prepared to think critically about inequalities involving race, gender, social class, and sexuality, the topics of body weight and health present some challenges for classroom discussion. Primarily, this is due to the body’s status in contemporary society as simultaneously malleable (able to be changed) and intractable (an indicator of moral worth). Such associations lead to cases of size discrimination—what is often called “sizeism”—with impacts similar to what is experienced around race and gender discrimination.

  9. Featured Essay: Lost and Saved . . . Again: The Moral Panic about the Loss of Community Takes Hold of Social Media

    Why does every generation believe that relationships were stronger and community better in the recent past? Lamenting about the loss of community, based on a selective perception of the present and an idealization of ‘‘traditional community,’’ dims awareness of powerful inequalities and cleavages that have always pervaded human society and favors deterministic models over a nuanced understanding of how network affordances contribute to different outcomes. Taylor Dotson’s (2017) recent book proposes a broader timeline for the demise of community.
  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.