American Sociological Association

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Extreme and Inconsistent: A Case-Oriented Regression Analysis of Health, Inequality, and Poverty

    A methodological paradox characterizes macro-comparative research: it routinely violates the assumptions underlying its dominant method, multiple regression analysis. Comparative researchers have substantive interest in cases, but cases are largely rendered invisible in regression analysis. Researchers seldom recognize the mismatch between the goals of macro-comparative research and the demands of regression methods, and sometimes they end up engaging in strenuous disputes over particular variable effects.

  5. 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.
  6. American Inequality in the Long Run

    Can this theory explain why inequality is growing in the United States? Piketty asserted that his theory was best tested with data from France, whose history was, he argued, “more typical and more pertinent for understanding the future” than the historical experience of the United States (p. 29). Nevertheless, and no doubt because Capital in the Twenty-First Century sold so many copies, some university publishers in recent years have been willing to gamble on big, dry books of historical inequality statistics that purport to test his arguments against American data.
  7. Heatmaps for Patterns of Association in log-Linear Models

    Log-linear models offer a detailed characterization of the association between categorical variables, but the breadth of their outputs is difficult to grasp because of the large number of parameters these models entail. Revisiting seminal findings and data from sociological work on social mobility, the author illustrates the use of heatmaps as a visualization technique to convey the complex patterns of association captured by log-linear models.
  8. Predicting Postsecondary Pathways: The Effect of Social Background and Academic Factors on Routes through School

    Access to institutions of higher education has increased in recent decades; however, increased access has not led to parallel increases in degree completion among all types of students. In this article, I examine the associations between individual-level factors and the particular paths through educational institutions that students follow as they navigate their educational careers. Research on educational pathways has typically examined individual educational “transitions” but failed to examine the full “trajectories” that students experience.
  9. Shopping Streets and Neighborhood Identity: Retail Theming as Symbolic Ownership in New York

    As the economies of production and trade have dwindled in Western cities, urban locales have had to capitalize on other opportunities for growth. Middle and upper class consumers are now sought after resources for cities and neighborhoods once supported by manufacturing. This article considers the role of local retail actors in shifting neighborhood identity towards luxury consumption.

  10. Location, Location, Location: Liberatory Pedagogy in a University Classroom

    In this article, we explore the practice, promise, and contradictions of introducing liberatory practice into a higher education classroom. Freire introduced liberatory education in response to the hierarchical transfer of knowledge, “banking” concept of education that has dominated educational institutions. The banking approach to education demands that students memorize and repeat top-down “official” knowledge in order to achieve success.