American Sociological Association

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  1. Racial Disparities in Emotional Well-Being during Pregnancy

    In light of persistent racial disparities in maternal and child health, it is important to understand the dynamics shaping outcomes for black mothers. We examine racial patterns in women’s emotional well-being regarding pregnancy (i.e., women’s reported happiness to be pregnant), which has been shown to have health consequences. Using the 2002–2017 National Survey of Family Growth (N = 6,163 pregnancies ending in birth), we find that black women are less happy about their pregnancies than white women both for intended and mistimed pregnancies.

  2. Transcending the Profession: Psychiatric Patients’ Experiences of Trust in Clinicians

    Classical medical sociological theory argues patients trust doctors in part because they are professionals. Yet in the past half-century, medicine has seen a crisis of trust as well as fundamental changes to the nature of professionalism. To probe the relationship between professionalism and trust today, we analyzed interviews with 50 psychiatric patients receiving care in diverse clinical settings. We found patients experience trust when they perceive clinicians transcending the formal bounds of professionalism.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Scientific Hegemony and the Field of Autism

    Autism is one of the twenty-first century’s most contested illnesses. Early controversies around vaccine harm have irrevocably structured the field of autism science. Despite incredible investment in genetic research on autism over the past 30 years, scientists have failed to identify a set of “genes for” autism, and genomic causality has become more complex.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”
  8. Medical Authority under Siege: How Clinicians Transform Patient Resistance into Acceptance

    Over the past decades, professional medical authority has been transformed due to internal and external pressures, including weakened institutional support and patient-centered care. Today’s patients are more likely to resist treatment recommendations. We examine how patient resistance to treatment recommendations indexes the strength of contemporary professional authority. Using conversation analytic methods, we analyze 39 video recordings of patient-clinician encounters involving pediatric epilepsy patients in which parents resist recommended treatments.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.