American Sociological Association

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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. Cultural Archipelagos: New Directions in the Study of Sexuality and Space

    Research on sexuality and space makes assumptions about spatial singularity: Across the landscape of different neighborhoods in the city, there is one, and apparently only one, called the gayborhood. This assumption, rooted in an enclave epistemology and theoretical models that are based on immigrant migration patterns, creates blind spots in our knowledge about urban sexualities. I propose an alternative conceptual framework that emphasizes spatial plurality.

  5. 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.

  6. Emotions and Medical Decision-Making

    Sociologists have written surprisingly little about the role emotions play in medical decision-making, largely ceding this terrain to psychologists who conceptualize emotional influences on decision-making in primarily cognitive and individualistic terms. In this article, I use ethnographic data gathered from parents and physicians caring for children with life-threatening conditions to illustrate how emotions enter the medical decision-making process in fundamentally interactional ways.
  7. Theorizing Moral Cognition: Culture in Action, Situations, and Relationships

    Dual-process theories of morality are approaches to moral cognition that stress the varying significance of emotion and deliberation in shaping judgments of action. Sociological research that builds on these ideas considers how cross-cultural variation alters judgments, with important consequences for what is and is not considered moral behavior. Yet lacking from these approaches is the notion that, depending on the situation and relationship, the same behavior by the same person can be considered more or less moral.

  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. 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.
  10. From Aristocratic to Ordinary: Shifting Modes of Elite Distinction

    How do elites signal their superior social position via the consumption of culture? We address this question by drawing on 120 years of “recreations” data (N = 71,393) contained within Who’s Who, a unique catalogue of the British elite.