American Sociological Association

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  1. Toward a Cultural-Structural Theory of Suicide: Examining Excessive Regulation and Its Discontents

    Despite its enduring insights, Durkheim’s theory of suicide fails to account for a significant set of cases because of its overreliance on structural forces to the detriment of other possible factors. In this paper, we develop a new theoretical framework for thinking about the role of culture in vulnerability to suicide. We argue that by focusing on the cultural dynamics of excessive regulation, particularly at the meso level, a more robust sociological model for suicide could be offered that supplements structure-heavy Durkheimian theory.
  2. Scents and Sensibility: Olfaction, Sense-Making, and Meaning Attribution

    How are smells invested with meaning and how do those meanings structure interactions and group relations? I use cultural theories of meaning-making to explore these questions, situating my inquiry in the world of commercially marketed perfumes. Using blind smell tests in focus groups, I examine how individuals make sense of certain fragrances absent direction from manufacturers or marketing materials. I find that most participants can correctly decode perfume manufacturers’ intended message, target users, and usage sites.
  3. Velvet Rope Racism, Racial Paranoia, and Cultural Scripts: Alleged Dress Code Discrimination in Urban Nightlife, 2000–2014

    Using news stories appearing between June 1, 2000, and June 15, 2014, I explore the nature of African Americans’ allegations of racial discrimination in the use of dress codes at urban nightclubs. In this qualitative analysis I outline the nature of these incidents and the extent to which they represent what I refer to as “velvet rope racism”. I focus on how these incidents are negotiated between patrons and nightclub management, observing that owners who face allegations of racial discrimination turn to cultural scripts to make counterclaims to allegations.

  4. The Art of Trans Politics

    Emmanuel David on contemporary artist Cassils’s embodied struggle and trans politics.
  5. Who Is Presidential? Women’s Political Representation, Deflection, and the 2016 Election

    In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the first woman to gain the presidential nomination from a major political party in the United States, yet she was unsuccessful. The current study explores barriers to being elected as president for women generally and Hillary Clinton specifically. Using the propositions and tools of affect control theory, we demonstrate how women’s political representation shapes cultural sentiments about women and the president.
  6. 2017 Presidential Address: Addressing Recognition Gaps: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality

    This Presidential Address offers elements for a systematic and cumulative study of destigmatization, or the process by which low-status groups gain recognition and worth. Contemporary sociologists tend to focus on inequality in the distribution of resources, such as occupations, education, and wealth. Complementing this research, this address draws attention to “recognition gaps,” defined as disparities in worth and cultural membership between groups in a society. I first describe how neoliberalism promotes growing recognition gaps.
  7. 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.
  8. Do You See What I See? Testing for Individual Differences in Impressions of Events

    Affect control theory shows how cultural meanings for identities and behavior are used to form impressions of events and guide social action. In this research, I examine whether members of the same culture tend to process social events in the same way, with a focus on U.S. English speakers.
  9. Contexts: The Limits of Education

    Features include "Wedding Cake Woes", "Serial Killers and Sex Workers", "Mental Health and Police Killings", and "Truth-Spots."

  10. Understanding the Link between Victimization and Alcohol Use among Homeless Youth Using Ecological Momentary Assessment

    Most prior research on victimization and alcohol use among homeless youth is retrospective and thus does not allow researchers to determine the sequencing of these events. We address this gap using ecological momentary assessment via short message service surveying with homeless youth during 30 days. Multilevel binary logistic regression results revealed that experiencing physical or sexual victimization on a specific day was positively associated with youth’s drinking alcohol later that day.