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  1. Review Essay: The Digital Surveillance Society

    When hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Hong Kong this summer, central figures reportedly took no selfies, avoided Facebook and Twitter, installed prepaid SIM cards, stuck to secure messaging apps, and used cash instead of rechargeable subway cards or other cashless payments. It is not clear whether this will help them avoid “conspiracy to commit public nuisance” charges, which led to prison sentences for leaders of the 2014 Umbrella movement (including sociologist Kin-man Chan).
  2. Do Sociology Courses Make More Empathetic Students? A Mixed-Methods Study of Empathy Change in Undergraduates

    Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
  3. Mapping Cultural Schemas: From Theory to Method

    A growing body of research in sociology uses the concept of cultural schemas to explain how culture influences beliefs and actions. However, this work often relies on belief or attitude measures gleaned from survey data as indicators of schemas, failing to measure the cognitive associations that constitute schemas. In this article, we propose a concept-association-based approach for collecting data about individuals’ schematic associations, and a corresponding method for modeling concept network representations of shared cultural schemas.
  4. Featured Essay: Preventing Violence: Insights from Micro-Sociology

    Micro-sociology of violence looks at what happens in situations where people directly threaten violence, but only sometimes carry it out. This process and its turning points have become easier to see in the current era of visual data: cell-phone videos, long-distance telephoto lenses, CCTV cameras. New cues and instruments are on the horizon as we look at emotional signals, body rhythms, and monitors for body signs such as heart rate (a proxy for adrenaline level).
  5. Residuality and Inconsistency in the Interpretation of Socio-Theoretical Systems

    This article addresses the interpretation and criticism of theoretical systems. Its particular focus is on how to assess the success of theories in dealing with some specific phenomenon. We are interested in how to differentiate between cases where a theory offers an unsatisfactory acknowledgment of a specified phenomenon and those where a theory offers a deeper, more systematic understanding.
  6. What’s Alter Got to Do with It? A Consideration of Network Content and the Social Ties That Provide It

    The strength of weak ties is among the most important theories in the social sciences. One paradoxical element of the theory has been widely understood and valued—that weak ties connect disparate regions of social structure. Less appreciated, however, is the arguably more paradoxical implication that someone only weakly connected to another would provide value beyond that which is provided by the recipient’s (ego’s) strong ties. Once this paradoxical feature of the theory and associated empirical literatures is acknowledged, the interests of the resource provider (alter) demand consideration.
  7. Meaning and Modularity: The Multivalence of “Mechanism” in Sociological Explanation

    Mechanisms are ubiquitous in sociological explanation. Recent theoretical work has sought to extend mechanistic explanation further still: into cultural and interpretative analysis. Yet it is not clear that the concept of mechanism can coherently unify interpretation and causal explanation within a single explanatory framework. We note that sociological mechanistic explanation is marked by a crucial disjuncture.
  8. CASM: A Deep-Learning Approach for Identifying Collective Action Events with Text and Image Data from Social Media

    Protest event analysis is an important method for the study of collective action and social movements and typically draws on traditional media reports as the data source. We introduce collective action from social media (CASM)—a system that uses convolutional neural networks on image data and recurrent neural networks with long short-term memory on text data in a two-stage classifier to identify social media posts about offline collective action. We implement CASM on Chinese social media data and identify more than 100,000 collective action events from 2010 to 2017 (CASM-China).
  9. Teaching Replication to Graduate Students

    Replicating published studies promotes active learning of quantitative research skills. Drawing on experiences from a replication course, we provide practical tips and reflections for teachers who consider incorporating replication in their courses. We discuss teaching practices and challenges we encountered at three stages of a replication course: student recruitment, course structure and proceedings, and learning outcomes. We highlight that by engaging in replication, students learn from established scholarly work in a collaborative and reflective manner.
  10. The Sociological Canon, Relations between Theories and Methods, and a Latent Political Structure: Findings from a Survey of Sociology Students in Germany and Consequences for Teaching

    We discuss findings from a survey of sociology students in Germany and consequences for teaching. We focus on the de facto formation of a sociological canon, the relation between theories and methods, and effects of social and political characteristics on student’s scientific preferences. Our findings suggest that irrespective of an agreement of the sociological professionals on a common definition of a core, a de facto canon of theories and methods exists in teaching practices. Moreover, specific relations between sociological theories and methods occur in the data.