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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. Many Religious People View Science Favorably, But Reject Certain Scientific Theories

    A new study finds that many U.S. adults — roughly one in five — are deeply religious, know a lot about science, and support many practical uses of science and technology in everyday life, but reject scientific explanations of creation and evolution.

  3. The IRL Fallacy

    Putting the lie to "digital dualism" in an essay on the inseparability of online and offline selves.

  4. A Design and a Model for Investigating the Heterogeneity of Context Effects in Public Opinion Surveys

    Context effects on survey response, caused by the unobserved interaction between beliefs stored in personal memory and triggers generated by the structure of the survey instrument, are a pervasive challenge to survey research. The authors argue that randomized survey experiments on representative samples, when paired with facilitative primes, can enable researchers to model selection into variable context effects, revealing heterogeneity at the population level.

  5. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  6. Field and Ecology

    This article offers a theoretical comparison between field and ecology, as developed by Pierre Bourdieu and the Chicago School of sociology. While field theory and ecological theory share similar conceptualizations of actors, positions, and relations, and while they converge in their views on structural isomorphism, temporality, and social psychology, they are quite different on several other scores: power and inequality, endogeneity, heterogeneity, metaphorical sources, and abstraction.

  7. Emerging Scripts of Global Speech

    As work regimes become global, social communication increasingly occurs across locations far apart. In the absence of a common national, ethnic, or organizational culture across continents, what makes communication possible among social worlds technologically integrated in real time? Taking India’s global call centers as the focus of analysis, this article attempts to solve the riddle of communication by showing how transnational business practices rely on the transmutation of cultural communication into global communication through the processes of neutralization and mimesis.

  8. Markets, Nature, and Society: Embedding Economic & Environmental Sociology

    Social scientists have drawn on theories of embeddedness to explain the different ways legal, political, and cultural frameworks shape markets. Often overlooked, however, is how the materiality of nature also structures markets. In this article, I suggest that neo-Polanyian scholars, and economic sociologists more generally, should better engage in a historical sociology of concept formation to problematize the human exemptionalist paradigm their work upholds and recognize the role of nature in shaping markets and society.

  9. Blended Learning as a Potentially Winning Combination of Face-to-face and Online Learning: An Exploratory Study

    Blended learning, in the form of screencasts to be viewed online outside of class, was incorporated into three sections of an introductory sociology course in a liberal arts college setting. The screencasts were used to introduce concepts and theories to provide more time for discussion in class and more opportunity for students to review concepts and theories outside of class. Students’ use and their perceptions of the impact of the screencasts were assessed with an in-class survey instrument in addition to a web-based college-administered survey.

  10. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.