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  1. The Resistance, the Civil War, and the World That’s Coming

    In political science, realignments are bloodless things. In the conventional telling, every 40 years or so, one or more major constituencies of one of the major American political parties shifts, redefining the political battleground until the next realignment comes.
  2. An Architecture of Repulsion

    In recent years, especially during the Trump administration, the U.S. news media have been saturated with daily stories about (mostly) Central Americans fleeing conditions of extreme violence and finding the door shut as they seek protection at the southern U.S. border. Presumably to deter “meritless” asylum claims, these asylum seekers are now being required to first apply for asylum in “safe third countries,” even if the countries that the administration in Washington has designated as “safe” are precisely those that people are fleeing from.
  3. Divergent Political Analyses: Challenging the Idea of Statehood versus the Problem of Gaining Political Access

    These two volumes, one a monograph and the other an edited collection, couldn’t approach politics more differently even as they share a concern with those from historically marginalized populations. Davina Cooper, in Feeling Like a State: Desire, Denial, and the Recasting of Authority, examines situations in which religious views are pitted against civil rights ordinances in an effort to find out what one can learn about the nature of the state.
  4. Pluralistic Collapse: The “Oil Spill” Model of Mass Opinion Polarization

    Despite widespread feeling that public opinion in the United States has become dramatically polarized along political lines, empirical support for such a pattern is surprisingly elusive. Reporting little evidence of mass polarization, previous studies assume polarization is evidenced via the amplification of existing political alignments. This article considers a different pathway: polarization occurring via social, cultural, and political alignments coming to encompass an increasingly diverse array of opinions and attitudes.

  5. Adopting a Cloak of Incompetence: Impression Management Techniques for Feigning Lesser Selves

    The “cloak of competence” concept captures attempts to disguise limitations and exaggerate abilities. The author examines the conceptual converse: the “cloak of incompetence,” or the various ways people deliberately disregard, disguise, downplay, or diminish their personal abilities. Drawing on a comparative analysis of manifold empirical cases, the author identifies three generic competence-concealing techniques—avoidance, performance, and neutralization—and considers some of the interactional contingencies that can enhance or reduce their effectiveness.
  6. The New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

    Set against the background of mid-twentieth-century institutional changes analyzed by Jürgen Habermas, we provide an account of new social conditions that compose “the public sphere” in the contemporary United States. First, we review recent developments in theorizing the public sphere, arguing they benefit from renewed attention to institutional changes in how that sphere operates.
  7. Racial Ideology or Racial Ignorance? An Alternative Theory of Racial Cognition

    Directing attention to racial ignorance as a core dimension of racialized social systems, this article advances a process-focused Theory of Racial Ignorance (TRI), grounded in Critical Race Theory and the philosophical construct white ignorance. TRI embodies five tenets—epistemology of ignorance, ignorance as ends-based technology, corporate white agency, centrality of praxis, and interest convergence.
  8. Power, Hegemony, and World Society Theory: A Critical Evaluation

    World society theory has been one of the better published theoretical paradigms of the past 30 to 40 years. But despite its publishing successes, world society theory and research are beset by a number of theoretical and empirical problems that call into question the theory’s ability to accurately describe and explain the global diffusion of government practices, policies, and structures.

  9. Sociology’s Next Steps? Fiftieth Anniversary of Gouldner’s Vision and Sixtieth Anniversary of Mills’s Vision

    My essay in the July 2019 issue of Contemporary Sociology leaned heavily on Habermas’s focus on “personal emancipation” and Giddens’s concept of “structuration.”
  10. Revisiting China’s Social Volcano: Attitudes toward Inequality and Political Trust in China

    Existing literature suggests that despite rising inequality in China, Chinese people tend to tolerate inequality, so it would be unlikely that rising inequality would cause sociopolitical instability. Few studies, however, have systematically explained Chinese people’s attitudes toward inequality, analyzed attitudinal changes over time, or examined the relationship between such attitudes and political trust. The author’s analysis of national surveys in 2004, 2009, and 2014 yields three findings.