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  1. Parents, Partners, Plans, and Promises: The Relational Work of Student Loan Borrowing

    When does student loan borrowing prompt relational work between borrowers and family members? Research on student loans has focused on quantitative estimation of the effects of borrowing on educational attainment, economic well-being, health, and life-course milestones. Drawing on 60 interviews with lawyers in the northeastern United States, the authors argue that student loans also have underappreciated relational effects, even for relatively privileged borrowers.

  2. In the Footsteps of Siblings: College Attendance Disparities and the Intragenerational Transmission of Educational Advantage

    Studies in social stratification have used siblings as a tool to learn about the intergenerational transmission of advantage but less often have asked how siblings impact one another’s life chances. The author draws on social capital theory and hypothesizes that when youths attend college, they increase the probability that their siblings attend college. The author further hypothesizes that this effect is strongest among youths whose parents do not have college degrees. Findings from a U.S. national probability sample support both hypotheses.

  3. From Big to Small Cities: A Qualitative Analysis of the Causes and Outcomes of Post‐Recession Municipal Bankruptcies

    Two cities loom large in the history of American urban restructuring. New York City's 1975 technical bankruptcy and Detroit's 2013 Chapter 9 bankruptcy have played an oversized role in urban theory. This is currently reflected in competing theories of post‐recession urban restructuring. “Austerity urbanism” uses Detroit as an exemplar, whereas “pragmatic municipalism” adopts the converse position arguing post‐recession reform is defined by local context.

  4. Centering Small Cities for Urban Sociology in the 21st Century

    To introduce this symposium in City & Community on “Small Cities,” we discuss the absence of “small‐ness” in empirical and theoretical analysis in urban sociology, explore the importance of scaling down urban analyses to this level, and present three important lines of inquiry that the following articles explore and that further the research agenda on small urban contexts.

  5. Cracking the Black Box: Capturing the Role of Expectation States in Status Processes

    A fundamental task for sociology is to uncover the mechanisms that produce and reproduce social inequalities. While status characteristics theory is the favored account of how social status contributes independently to the maintenance of inequality, it hinges on an unobserved construct, expectation states, in the middle of the causal chain between status and behavior. Efforts to test the mediation mechanism have been complicated by the implicit, often unconscious, nature of status expectations.
  6. Comparing Internet Experiences and Prosociality in Amazon Mechanical Turk and Population-Based Survey Samples

    Given the high cost of traditional survey administration (postal mail, phone) and the limits of convenience samples such as university students, online samples offer a much welcomed alternative. Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) has been especially popular among academics for conducting surveys and experiments. Prior research has shown that AMT samples are not representative of the general population along some dimensions, but evidence suggests that these differences may not undermine the validity of AMT research.
  7. 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.
  8. The Ongoing Institution of Servitude

    Through a peek at one family’s life, Roma offers a glimpse at the burgeoning middle class, privileged not only by race and family inheritances but also by new possibilities of supposedly merit-based higher education.
  9. If Only It Were That Complex

    Research on the dynamics of social change is often framed by what Damon Centola refers to in his new book How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions as “the convenience of classical epidemiological tropes” (p. 173) in which “contagions” spread from infected to susceptible individuals through interaction. Social networks became alluring to use in conjunction with this epidemiological frame because the two together evoke the determinism of electrical wiring, with charges traveling paths (ties) structured by the location of switches (nodes) in the line.
  10. Big Ideas from Little People: What Research with Children Contributes to Social Psychology

    Beginning in the 1970s, research in childhood studies led to the reevaluation of children’s agency and their contributions to society. In my work on children’s interactions with peers and adults in schools and families, I challenged traditional views of socialization offering the alternative view of interpretive reproduction and associated concepts of peer culture and priming events.