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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. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Algorithmic Control in Platform Food Delivery Work

    Building on an emerging literature concerning algorithmic management, this article analyzes the processes by which food delivery platforms control workers and uncovers variation in the extent to which such platforms constrain the freedoms—over schedules and activities—associated with gig work.
  9. Do Readers Judge Books by Author Gender? Results from a Randomized Experiment

    We run a randomized experiment to examine gender discrimination in book purchasing with 2,544 subjects on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. We manipulate author gender and book genre in a factorial design to study consumer preferences for male versus female versus androgynous authorship. Despite previous findings in the literature showing gender discrimination in book publishing and in evaluations of work, respondents expressed no gender preference across a variety of measures, including quality, interest, and the amount they were willing to pay to purchase the book.

  10. 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).