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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. The Phenomenology of Homo Economicus

    Much has been written about the fictitious nature of the atomistic model of homo economicus. Nevertheless, this economic model of self-interest and egoism has become conventional wisdom in market societies. This article offers a phenomenological explanation for the model’s commonsensical grip. Building on the work of Alfred Schutz, I argue that a reliance on homo economicus as an interpretive scheme for making sense of the behavior of economic Others has the effect of reversing the meaning of signs and doubts that challenge the model’s assumptions.
  6. Theorizing Region: Links to Ethnicity, Nation, and Race

    The concept of “region” is widespread in the social sciences but rarely theorized. I argue here that region is a multivalent concept similar to ethnicity, nation, and race. Building on the work of Bourdieu, Brubaker, and Griswold, I show that all four concepts can be understood as both “categories of analysis” and “categories of practice.” Moreover, all four have fundamental similarities regarding (1) ontology and relation to space; (2) historical sequences and relation to time; and (3) protean boundaries that may change with social scientists’ research questions.
  7. The Behavioral Economics of Pierre Bourdieu

    This article builds the argument that Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of practice can help integrate the sociological tradition with three prominent strands of behavioral economics: bounded rationality, prospect theory, and time inconsistency.
  8. Sexual Abstinence in the United States: Cohort Trends in Abstaining from Sex While Never Married for U.S. Women Born 1938 to 1983

    In this data visualization, the authors document trends in abstaining from sex while never married for U.S. women born 1938–1939 to 1982–1983. Using data from the six most recent National Surveys of Family Growth, the authors’ estimates suggest that for women born in the late 1930s and early 1940s, 48 percent to 58 percent reported abstaining from sex while never married. Abstinence then declined rapidly among women born in the late 1940s through the early 1960s, leveling off at between 9 percent and 12 percent for more recent birth cohorts. Thus, for U.S.

  9. Do People in Conservative States Really Watch More Porn? A Hierarchical Analysis

    Recent studies have found that state-level religious and political conservatism is positively associated with various aggregate indicators of interest in pornography. Such studies have been limited, however, in that they either did not include data measuring actual consumption patterns and/or did not include data on individuals (risking the ecological fallacy). This study overcomes both limitations by incorporating state-level data with individual-level data and a measure of pornography consumption from a large nationally representative survey.

  10. Causal Relationship or Not? Nationalism, Patriotism, and Anti-immigration Attitudes in Germany

    Despite broad research on the connection between in-group and out-group attitudes, empirical studies dealing with the relationship between nation-related and anti-immigration attitudes rarely provide a consistent theoretical framework. On one hand, it is assumed that if persons agree with nationalistic statements, they might develop an orientation against strangers. On the other hand, one might imagine the existence of simple factor correlations among nationalism, patriotism, and anti-immigration attitudes.