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  1. What Does It Mean to Span Cultural Boundaries? Variety and Atypicality in Cultural Consumption

    We propose a synthesis of two lines of sociological research on boundary spanning in cultural production and consumption. One, research on cultural omnivorousness, analyzes choice by heterogeneous audiences facing an array of crisp cultural offerings. The other, research on categories in markets, analyzes reactions by homogeneous audiences to objects that vary in the degree to which they conform to categorical codes. We develop a model of heterogeneous audiences evaluating objects that vary in typicality.

  2. Interreligious Contact, Perceived Group Threat, and Perceived Discrimination: Predicting Negative Attitudes among Religious Minorities and Majorities in Indonesia

    This study examines the relationship between interreligious contact and negative attitudes toward the religious outgroup among minority Christians and majority Muslims in Indonesia. It answers two research questions: Does interreligious contact reduce negative outgroup attitudes equally for minority Christians and majority Muslims? Are mediation by perceived group threat and moderation by perceived discrimination equally important for religious minorities and majorities?

  3. The Social Imagination of Homosexuality and the Rise of Same-sex Marriage in the United States

    The author argues that the increase in support for same-sex marriage in the United States must be interpreted in light of the changing social imagination of homosexuality. The author measures the social imagination at the micro level by comparing the frequencies and semantic contexts in which two cohorts use metaphors and analogies to talk about same-sex marriage. Younger informants articulate them in ways that characterize homosexuality as identity, whereas older informants characterize homosexuality as behavior.
  4. Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings

    Contemporary social research often has located religion’s public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people’s religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context.

  5. The Heterosexual Matrix as Imperial Effect

    While Judith Butler’s concept of the heterosexual matrix is dominant in gender and sexuality studies, it is a curiously aspatial and atemporal concept. This paper seeks to re-embed it within space and time by situating its emergence within colonial and imperial histories. Based on this discussion, it ends with three lessons for contemporary work on gender and sexuality and a broader theorization of sex-gender-sexuality regimes beyond the heterosexual matrix.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Between Situations: Anticipation, Rhythms, and the Theory of Interaction

    This article pushes interactionist sociology forward. It does so by drawing out the implications of a simple idea, that to understand the situation—the mise en scene of interactionist theory—we must understand it in relation not only to past-induced habits of thought and action but to future situations anticipated in interaction. Focusing especially on the rhythmic nature of situations, the paper then argues that such a recalibration both unsettles core tenets of interactionism and helps solve some problems in the sociology of culture.
  9. 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.
  10. Beyond Social Contagion: Associative Diffusion and the Emergence of Cultural Variation

    Network models of diffusion predominantly think about cultural variation as a product of social contagion. But culture does not spread like a virus. We propose an alternative explanation we call associative diffusion. Drawing on two insights from research in cognition—that meaning inheres in cognitive associations between concepts, and that perceived associations constrain people’s actions—we introduce a model in which, rather than beliefs or behaviors, the things being transmitted between individuals are perceptions about what beliefs or behaviors are compatible with one another.