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  1. Why You Can’t Find That Nice Bottle of South African Wine

    South African wine producers are more successful in the American market when they partner with importers that know little about their wines. Ignorance is better than expertise, and leads to a handful of wineries being very successful in the market, while most barely make a splash.
  2. The Moral Limits of Predictive Practices: The Case of Credit-Based Insurance Scores

    Corporations gather massive amounts of personal data to predict how individuals will behave so that they can profitably price goods and allocate resources. This article investigates the moral foundations of such increasingly prevalent market practices. I leverage the case of credit scores in car insurance pricing—an early and controversial use of algorithmic prediction in the U.S. consumer economy—to unpack the premise that predictive data are fair to use and to understand the conditions under which people are likely to challenge that moral logic.
  3. Love Me Tinder, Love Me Sweet

    Are “hook up” apps leading to a new kind of dating culture on college campuses? Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are have a different impact on the lives of college students versus older daters. Many students are using these apps to circumvent the romantic gatekeeping that campus party culture has long dominated.

  4. 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).
  5. Along the London Overground: Transport Improvements, Gentrification, and Symbolic Ownership along London's Trendiest Line

    Between 2008 and 2011, the dysfunctional North London line was improved and rebranded into a high‐quality, high‐frequency service: the London Overground. Great ambitions for regeneration came with this project: The improved line, running through deprived areas of East London, was expected to bring inward investment and to open access to new opportunities outside the borough to its residents.

  6. The Geometry of Culture: Analyzing the Meanings of Class through Word Embeddings

    We argue word embedding models are a useful tool for the study of culture using a historical analysis of shared understandings of social class as an empirical case. Word embeddings represent semantic relations between words as relationships between vectors in a high-dimensional space, specifying a relational model of meaning consistent with contemporary theories of culture.
  7. 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.
  8. Queer Pop‐Ups: A Cultural Innovation in Urban Life

    Research on sexuality and space emphasizes geographic and institutional forms that are stable, established, and fixed. By narrowing their analytic gaze on such places, which include gayborhoods and bars, scholars use observations about changing public opinions, residential integration, and the closure of nighttime venues to conclude that queer urban and institutional life is in decline. We use queer pop‐up events to challenge these dominant arguments about urban sexualities and to advocate instead a “temporary turn” that analyzes the relationship between ephemerality and placemaking.

  9. 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).
  10. Talking Your Self into It: How and When Accounts Shape Motivation for Action

    Following Mills, several prominent sociologists have encouraged researchers to analyze actors’ motive talk not as data on the subjective desires that move them to pursue particular ends but as post hoc accounts oriented toward justifying actions already undertaken.