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  1. A Systematic Assessment of “Axial Age” Proposals Using Global Comparative Historical Evidence

    Proponents of the Axial Age contend that parallel cultural developments between 800 and 200 BCE in what is today China, Greece, India, Iran, and Israel-Palestine constitute the global historical turning point toward modernity. The Axial Age concept is well-known and influential, but deficiencies in the historical evidence and sociological analysis available have thwarted efforts to evaluate the concept’s major global contentions. As a result, the Axial Age concept remains controversial.
  2. The Structure of Comparison in the Study of Revolution

    The social scientific study of revolution has been deviled by a lack of progress in recent years, divided between competing views on the universality of patterns in revolution. This study examines the origins of these epistemologies. Drawing on an insight that different modes of comparison yield different types of knowledge, I argue that the network structure of how cases are compared constrains or enables the development of a field’s theoretical sensibilities.
  3. Educational Inequalities in Depression: Do Labor Markets Matter?

    There is little theoretical understanding of why educational inequalities in depression are larger in some countries than in others. The current research tries to fill this gap by focusing on the way in which important labor market processes, specifically upgrading and polarization, affect the relationship between education and depression. Analyses are based on a subsample, aged between 20 and 65, in 26 countries participating in the European Social Survey (N = 56,881) in 2006, 2012, and 2014.
  4. Official Frames and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: The Struggle for Reparations

    Movements that seek reparations against racial injustices must confront historic narratives of events and patterns of repression. These injustices are often legitimated through official narratives that discredit and vilify racial groups. This paper analyzes elite official frames in the case of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, in which an economically thriving African American neighborhood was destroyed. Our research examines the official frames that were promulgated by white elites in defending the violent repression and analyzes the ongoing efforts by reparations proponents to seek redress.
  5. Don’t Know or Won’t Say? Exploring How Colorblind Norms Shape Item Nonresponse in Social Surveys

    Colorblind norms play an important role in shaping how people discuss race. There is reason to believe that these norms also affect the ways respondents interact with social surveys. Specifically, some respondents may be using nonresponse as a tactic to not discuss race in social surveys. If this is the case, very different demographics of respondents would be most prone to nonresponse, and the phenomenon should also vary on the basis of the interviewer’s race.
  6. Something Old, Something New: When Gender Matters in the Relationship between Social Support and Health

    This paper investigates how social support differentially benefits self-rated health among men and women hospitalized with heart disease. Using cross-sectional data about patients admitted to a university hospital, we examine the extent to which gender moderates effects for the frequency of contact with family, friends, and neighbors on health and whether these effects differ between those with new versus established diagnoses. We find that gender differentiates the effect of nonmarital family contact on health but only when heart disease is newly diagnosed.
  7. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).
  8. The Emergence of Statistical Objectivity: Changing Ideas of Epistemic Vice and Virtue in Science

    The meaning of objectivity in any specific setting reflects historically situated understandings of both science and self. Recently, various scientific fields have confronted growing mistrust about the replicability of findings, and statistical techniques have been deployed to articulate a “crisis of false positives.” In response, epistemic activists have invoked a decidedly economic understanding of scientists’ selves. This has prompted a scientific social movement of proposed reforms, including regulating disclosure of “backstage” research details and enhancing incentives for replication.
  9. Fuck Nuance

    Nuance is not a virtue of good sociological theory. Although often demanded and superficially attractive, nuance inhibits the abstraction on which good theory depends. I describe three “nuance traps” common in sociology and show why they should be avoided on grounds of principle, aesthetics, and strategy. The argument is made without prejudice to the substantive heterogeneity of the discipline.
  10. 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.