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  1. Why Petroleum Did Not Save the Whales

    Ironically, even though fossil fuels provided substitutes for the main uses of whale oil, the rise of fossil fuel use in the nineteenth century served to increase the intensity of whaling. The connections between fossil fuels and whaling are an example of the unanticipated consequences that frequently come with technological change. I draw on political-economic theory to explain why fossil fuels served to escalate rather than eliminate whaling.
  2. Alternately Contested: A Measurement Analysis of Alternately Worded Items in the National Science Foundation Science Literacy Scale

    Alternately worded versions of two controversial indicators of science knowledge were included in the 2012 wave of the General Social Survey. Using confirmatory factor analysis, the author tests whether these alternate items serve as better indicators of uncontested forms of science knowledge and finds that although more respondents give the “correct” response, they remain poor indicators of uncontested science knowledge.
  3. Religion among Scientists in International Context: A New Study of Scientists in Eight Regions

    Scientists have long been associated with religion’s decline around the world. But little data permit analysis of the religiosity of scientists or their perceptions of the science-faith interface.
  4. Big Data May Amplify Existing Police Surveillance Practices

    With access to more personal data than ever before, police have the power to solve crimes more quickly, but in practice, the influx of information tends to amplify existing practices, according to sociological research at the University of Texas at Austin.

  5. Review Essays: Four Perspectives on Contemporary American Judaism

    I begin this essay with a discussion of Uzi Rebhun’s book, Jews and the American Religious Landscape, because it offers an overview of the rich data on the demographics of Jews as of 2007. Also, this work provides us with a broad contextual understanding in which to situate the other books reviewed here. But Rebhun does not stop with an analysis of recent data. He goes further by comparing his findings to data from recent decades all the way back to the 1950s, a time when, for example, intermarriage was infrequent and it was understood that “marrying out” brought a great shame upon the family.
  6. Review of Race Scholarship and the War on Terror

    The 9/11 terrorist attacks and heavy-handed state and popular response to them stimulated increased scholarship on American Muslims. In the social sciences, this work has focused mainly on Arabs and South Asians, and more recently on African Americans. The majority of this scholarship has not engaged race theory in a comprehensive or intersectional manner. The authors provide an overview of the work on Muslims over the past 15 years and argue that the Muslim experience needs to be situated within race scholarship.
  7. Trump’s Immigration Attacks, in Brief

    A look at the Trump administration’s attacks on Mexicans, Muslims, and unauthorized immigrants and how they’ve undermined longstanding policy and public perception.
  8. The Algorithmic Rise of the “Alt-Right”

    As with so many technologies, the Internet’s racism was programmed right in—and it’s quickly fueled the spread of White supremacist, xenophobic rhetoric throughout the western world.
  9. A Systematic Assessment of “Axial Age” Proposals Using Global Comparative Historical Evidence

    Proponents of the Axial Age contend that parallel cultural developments between 800 and 200 BCE in what is today China, Greece, India, Iran, and Israel-Palestine constitute the global historical turning point toward modernity. The Axial Age concept is well-known and influential, but deficiencies in the historical evidence and sociological analysis available have thwarted efforts to evaluate the concept’s major global contentions. As a result, the Axial Age concept remains controversial.