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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. Teaching about Animals: Incorporating Nonhuman Animals into Sociology Classrooms

    The topic of human–animal studies (HAS) remains largely ignored within the sociology classroom. While a few sociologists have encouraged teaching about animals, none has assessed whether incorporating nonhuman animals into the curriculum is effective. In this study, three instructors at two universities incorporated animal-related materials in their sociology courses in a variety of ways. Data analyzed from course exam responses and student papers as well as end-of-semester student surveys indicate that student learning and enjoyment were enhanced.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. In Search of Greater Understanding: The Impact of Mastery Learning on Social Science Education

    Mastery learning approaches were designed to improve student learning and elevate the level of understanding across a broader swath of students. These approaches operate under the belief that all students are capable of learning if given enough time. Little research has examined the utility or applicability of a mastery learning approach for social sciences outside of research methods courses.
  7. 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.
  8. Vaccine Refusal and Pharmaceutical Acquiescence: Parental Control and Ambivalence in Managing Children’s Health

    Parents who confidently reject vaccines and other forms of medical intervention often seek out pediatric care, medical treatments, and prescription medications for their children in ways that seem to contradict these views. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 34 parents who rejected some or all vaccines for their children, this article examines the strategies they use to pharmaceutically manage their children’s health, even when espousing a larger rejection of pharmaceutical interventions like childhood vaccines.
  9. Pushed or Pulled Out? The Racialization of School Choice in Black and White Mothers’ (Home) Schooling Decisions for Their Children

    Homeschooling is an increasingly common schooling option for middle-class black families yet is often overlooked in research on race and education. Drawing on interviews with 67 middle-class black and white mothers living in one northeastern metropolitan area—half of whom homeschool, while the other half enroll their children in conventional school—the author examines how race influences mothers’ decisions to homeschool or conventional school. The findings show that mothers’ schooling explanations reflect their experiences as shaped by the racial hierarchy constituted in schools.
  10. Black Mothering in Action: The Racial-Class Socialization Practices of Low-Income Black Single Mothers

    African Americans have long dealt with racism, discrimination, and racialized state and vigilante violence. As such, African American parents must educate their children about the realities of racism in the United States and how to cope with racism and discrimination. This practice, known as racial socialization, is a key aspect of Black parents’ parenting practices. Much of this labor tends to fall on the shoulders of Black mothers. To date, most of the scholarship on Black mothers’ racial socialization practices focuses on Black middle-class mothers.