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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. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. Avoiding Us versus Them: How Schools’ Dependence on Privileged “Helicopter” Parents Influences Enforcement of Rules

    As privilege-dependent organizations, U.S. public schools have an interest in catering to higher-SES White families. But, what happens when privileged families’ interests conflict with schools’ stated goals? Focusing on the case of homework, and drawing insights from organizational theory, cultural capital theory, and research on parent involvement in schools, I examine how schools’ dependence on higher-SES White families influences their enforcement of rules.
  5. Grandparenting and Mortality: How Does Race-Ethnicity Matter?

    Little is known about whether and how intergenerational relationships influence older adult mortality. This study examines the association between caring for grandchildren (i.e., grandparenting) and mortality and how the link differs by race-ethnicity. Drawing from the Health and Retirement Study (1998–2014, N = 13,705), I found different racial-ethnic patterns in the effects of grandparenting on mortality risk.
  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. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The Behavioral Economics of Pierre Bourdieu

    This article builds the argument that Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of practice can help integrate the sociological tradition with three prominent strands of behavioral economics: bounded rationality, prospect theory, and time inconsistency.
  10. Marking Time in Memorials and Museums of Terror: Temporality and Cultural Trauma

    The theory of cultural trauma focuses on the relationship between shared suffering and collective identity: Events become traumatic when they threaten a group’s foundational self-understanding. As it stands, the theory has illuminated profound parallels in societal suffering across space and time. Yet focusing on identity alone cannot explain the considerable differences that scholars document in the outcomes of the trauma process.