American Sociological Association

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  1. Testing for Discrimination: Teaching Audit Studies in Quantitative Methods Courses

    This article demonstrates a method for teaching students to conduct audit studies of discrimination. The assignment can be used in courses on quantitative methods, race, gender, or other topics. Audit studies test for unequal treatment by having otherwise identical pairs of people who vary on a single trait, such as race or gender, apply for the same sets of opportunities, such as apartment vacancies or job openings. Once intricate and expensive to conduct, the online shift of the past 15 years has streamlined the approach, enabling researchers to execute audits via email.

  2. The Impact of Racial Diversity in the Classroom: Activating the Sociological Imagination

    Diverse college campuses have been conclusively associated with a variety of positive outcomes for all students. However, we still know very little empirically about how student diversity directly impacts the core task of the university: classroom learning. While students vary based on race along a broad spectrum of experiences and backgrounds, we have yet to establish how those varying backgrounds might impact the ways students engage with course material.

  3. Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity “Epidemic” and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions

    While most sociology students are well prepared to think critically about inequalities involving race, gender, social class, and sexuality, the topics of body weight and health present some challenges for classroom discussion. Primarily, this is due to the body’s status in contemporary society as simultaneously malleable (able to be changed) and intractable (an indicator of moral worth). Such associations lead to cases of size discrimination—what is often called “sizeism”—with impacts similar to what is experienced around race and gender discrimination.

  4. Teaching Content Analysis through Harry Potter

    Content analysis is a valuable research tool for social scientists that unfortunately can prove challenging to teach to undergraduate students. Published classroom exercises designed to teach content analysis have thus far been predominantly envisioned as lengthy projects for upper-level courses. A brief and engaging exercise may be more beneficial for introductory social science courses in which less time can be allotted to any one topic, such as content analysis.

  5. Estimating Heterogeneous Treatment Effects with Observational Data

    Individuals differ not only in their background characteristics but also in how they respond to a particular treatment, intervention, or stimulation. In particular, treatment effects may vary systematically by the propensity for treatment. In this paper, we discuss a practical approach to studying heterogeneous treatment effects as a function of the treatment propensity, under the same assumption commonly underlying regression analysis: ignorability.

  6. The Positive Consequences of Negative Stereotypes: Race, Sexual Orientation, and the Job Application Process

    How do marginalized social categories, such as being black and gay, combine with one another in the production of discrimination? While much extant research assumes that combining marginalized social categories results in a “double disadvantage,” I argue that in the case of race and sexual orientation the opposite may be true. This article posits that stereotypes about gay men as effeminate and weak will counteract common negative stereotypes held by whites that black men are threatening and criminal.

  7. “Good Girls”: Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on Campus

    Women’s participation in slut shaming is often viewed as internalized oppression: they apply disadvantageous sexual double standards established by men. This perspective grants women little agency and neglects their simultaneous location in other social structures. In this article we synthesize insights from social psychology, gender, and culture to argue that undergraduate women use slut stigma to draw boundaries around status groups linked to social class—while also regulating sexual behavior and gender performance.

  8. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy

    Social relationships—both quantity and quality—affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk. Sociologists have played a central role in establishing the link between social relationships and health outcomes, identifying explanations for this link, and discovering social variation (e.g., by gender and race) at the population level.

  9. Stress and Health: Major Findings and Policy Implications

    Forty decades of sociological stress research offer five major findings. First, when stressors (negative events, chronic strains, and traumas) are measured comprehensively, their damaging impacts on physical and mental health are substantial. Second, differential exposure to stressful experiences is a primary way that gender, racial-ethnic, marital status, and social class inequalities in physical and mental health are produced. Third, minority group members are additionally harmed by discrimination stress.

  10. The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications

    The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning—which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition—that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness.