American Sociological Association

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  1. Comparing Theories of Resource Distribution: The Case of Iran

    This study addresses inequality through resource distribution in Iranian provinces with the use of new data collected and compiled from various sources using multilevel modeling. The models compare predictions of the various resource distribution theories using Iran’s 31 provincial budgets over 10 years. This resource distribution study provides a rare look at inequality in a country that, to a large degree, prohibits such examinations.
  2. Review Essay: What Should Historical Sociologists Do All Day? Starving the Beast, the Reagan Tax Cuts, and Modes of Historical Explanation

    Monica Prasad, along with collaborators like Isaac Martin and Ajay Mehrotra (e.g., Martin, Mehrotra, and Prasad 2009), has made fiscal sociology—the sociology of taxation—a thriving part of the discipline. Her first book showed how different national patterns of taxation help explain the variable strength of neoliberalism across nations (Prasad 2006). Her second identified progressive taxation as key to producing both democratized credit and a weak welfare state in the United States (Prasad 2012).
  3. Review Essay: See It with Figures

    The short story is that Kieran Healy’s Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction is a gentle introduction to the effective display of social science data using the R package ggplot2. It is beautifully put together, achingly clear, and effective.
  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. A Meta-Analysis of the Association between Income Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility

    We provide an overview of associations between income inequality and intergenerational mobility in the United States, Canada, and eight European countries. We analyze whether this correlation is observed across and within countries over time. We investigate Great Gatsby curves and perform metaregression analyses based on several papers on this topic. Results suggest that countries with high levels of inequality tend to have lower levels of mobility.

  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. 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.
  8. Post-Colonial Africa and the World Economy: The Long Waves of Uneven Development Fouad Makki

    The aim of this article is to examine the interactive dynamics of "Africa" and the "world economy" over the past half century. By relating the overarching developmental trajectory of the continent to the long-wave rhythms of the world economy, the article identifies three relatively articulated periods in the political economy of postcolonial Africa. The first, from circa 1960 to the late 1970s, was a period of state-led developmentalism enabled by the long postwar boom in the world economy and the embedded liberalism of the Bretton Woods system.

  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. Sugar, Slavery, and Creative Destruction: World-Magnates and “Coreification” in the Longue-Durée

    Recent literature in the world-systems perspective has refocused attention on questions of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ in historical capitalism, yet rarely critically examines the underlying assumptions regarding these zones. Drawing on a developing dataset on the world’s wealthiest individuals (the World-Magnates Database), we trace the development and expansion of sugar circuits across the Atlantic world from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries to explain how the sugar commodity chain leads us to rethink some prevailing notions of core and periphery.