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  1. Testing a Digital Inequality Model for Online Political Participation

    Increasing Internet use is changing the way individuals take part in society. However, a general mobilizing effect of the Internet on political participation has been difficult to demonstrate. This study takes a digital inequality perspective and analyzes the role of Internet expertise for the social structuration of online political participation. Analyses rely on two nationally representative surveys in Switzerland and use cluster analysis and structural equation modeling. A distinct group of political online participants emerged characterized by high education and income.
  2. Big Data May Amplify Existing Police Surveillance Practices

    With access to more personal data than ever before, police have the power to solve crimes more quickly, but in practice, the influx of information tends to amplify existing practices, according to sociological research at the University of Texas at Austin.

  3. The Algorithmic Rise of the “Alt-Right”

    As with so many technologies, the Internet’s racism was programmed right in—and it’s quickly fueled the spread of White supremacist, xenophobic rhetoric throughout the western world.
  4. Conspicuous Reviewing: Affiliation with High-status Organizations as a Motivation for Writing Online Reviews

    The vast amount of reviews available online presents a paradox: Why do reviewers spend hours writing them? Here we demonstrate in three studies that one reason people write online reviews is to bolster their public identity by conspicuously affiliating with high-status products or organizations. First, we conducted a set of surveys and found that participants are more likely to post online reviews of restaurants that are higher status, controlling for their familiarity and liking of the restaurant.

  5. Measuring Social Capital with Twitter within the Electronics and ICT Cluster of the Basque Country

    Social network sites like Twitter enable the creation of virtual environments where online communities are formed around specific topics. Lately, due to their increasing success, these platforms are turning out to be effective for electronic word‐of‐mouth communication since they can be used as another means to spread information and build a network of contacts.

  6. Virtual Rituals: Community, Emotion, and Ritual in Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games—A Quantitative Test and Extension of Structural Ritualization Theory

    Millions of people worldwide immerse themselves in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). These games generate large, diverse communities that engage in rituals within the game, completing missions or quests. What role do these MMORPG rituals play in commitment to these gaming communities? To address this question, we extend structural ritualization theory to explain the impact of ritual events and emotion on commitment to community in the game World of Warcraft.
  7. The Struggle to Save Abortion Care

    by Carole Joffe, Summer 2018 Contexts

  8. Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA

    The lack of health insurance is traditionally considered a problem faced by individuals and their families. However, because of the geographically bounded organization and funding of healthcare in the United States, levels of uninsurance in a community may affect everyone living there. Health economists have examined how the effects of uninsurance spillover from the uninsured to the insured, negatively affecting healthcare access and quality for the insured.
  9. 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.