American Sociological Association

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  1. The Meaning of 'Theory'

    ‘Theory’ is one of the most important words in the lexicon of contemporary sociology. Yet, their ubiquity notwithstanding, it is quite unclear what sociologists mean by the words ‘theory,’ ‘theoretical,’ and ‘theorize.’ I argue that confusions about the meaning of ‘theory’ have brought about undesirable consequences, including conceptual muddles and even downright miscommunication. In this paper I tackle two questions: (a) what does ‘theory’ mean in the sociological language?; and (b) what ought ‘theory’ to mean in the sociological language? I proceed in five stages.

  2. Going Easy and Going After: Building Inspections and the Selective Allocation of Code Violations

    Sociologists have demonstrated how public and private actors reproduce economic and racial inequality, by protecting the values of lucrative real estate, enforcing the tastes of elite and middle‐class populations, and unfavorably sorting low‐income and minority residents. Building inspections and code violations affect each of these processes. Yet, we know remarkably little about how decisions about building code violations are made.

  3. Data Collection as Disruption: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of Young Adulthood

    Research disrupts the social world, often by making respondents aware that they are being observed or by instigating reflection upon particular aspects of life via the very act of asking questions. Building on insights from the first Hawthorne studies, reflexive ethnographers, and methodologists concerned with panel conditioning, we draw on six years of research within a community in southern Malawi to introduce a conceptual framework for theorizing disruption in observational research.

  4. Review Essay: Important Discussions: Planned, Unplanned, and Even Unremembered

    In Someone to Talk To, Mario Small focuses on core issues in the study of social networks and social support that have somehow remained under-examined: how do individuals decide whom they will confide in, and with whom are confidences actually shared?

  5. Review Essay: Back to the Future

    In one of my undergraduate courses, I show students a photo of Paul Lazarsfeld and Frank Stanton. Of course, neither social scientist is familiar to them, but I argue to my students that Lazarsfeld had a bigger impact on the daily practice of sociology than any member of the Marx/Weber/Durkheim triumvirate they study in classical theory.

  6. How Far From Meritocracy? A Cross-National Longitudinal Analysis of European Countries

    This figure describes the distance from meritocracy in 36 European countries between 2002 and 2017. Following Krauze and Slomczynski, the author defines meritocratic allocation of individuals by education to occupational status groups as a situation when more educated persons do not have jobs with lower status than less educated persons.

  7. The Purposes of Refugee Education: Policy and Practice of Including Refugees in National Education Systems

    This article explores the understood purposes of refugee education at global, national, and school levels. To do so, we focus on a radical shift in global policy to integrate refugees into national education systems and the processes of vernacularization accompanying its widespread implementation. We use a comparative case study approach; our dataset comprises global policy documents and original interviews (n = 147) and observations in 14 refugee-hosting nation-states.
  8. Does (Dis)Similarity Information about a New Acquaintance Lead to Liking or Repulsion? An Experimental Test of a Classic Social Psychology Issue

    Decades of social psychology research has established the importance of similarity in leading to attraction. However, in response to early social psychology experiments demonstrating the similarity effect, Rosenbaum proposed the repulsion hypothesis, arguing that similarity does not lead to liking, but rather, dissimilarity leads to repulsion. Research to address whether dissimilarity carries more weight than similarity has generally involved participants’ reactions to sterile information about a bogus other whom they never meet.
  9. Exploring Classroom Climate in Sociology Courses Using Syllabi

    The classroom climate shapes students’ learning and instructors’ teaching experience in profound ways. This study analyzes classroom climate statements in syllabi from various sociology courses to understand the extent that sociology instructors highlight climate issues and how climate is conceptualized in their syllabi. Drawing from data from two different times periods (pre-2005 and post-2010), the current study examines the frequency of classroom climate statements, the factors that may contribute to the presence of a statement, and themes within these statements.

  10. “I Understand What They’re Going through”: How Socioeconomic Background Shapes the Student Service-learning Experience

    Traditional service-learning pedagogy assumes that learning occurs when contact between relatively advantaged students and a relatively disadvantaged service population reduces prejudice. However, little is known about how students whose backgrounds are similar to the populations they serve process this learning experience. This study explores the connections between socioeconomic status and learning trajectories within service-learning. Students provided written reflections on a service-learning experience focused on food insecurity as part of course requirements.