American Sociological Association

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  1. McJobs and Pieces of Flair: Linking McDonaldization to Alienating Work

    This article offers strategies for teaching about rationality, bureaucracy, and social change using George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society and its ideas about efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control. Student learning is facilitated using a series of strategies: making the familiar strange, explaining McDonaldization, self-investigation and discovery, and exploring and implementing alternatives.

  2. Elaborating on the Abstract: Group Meaning-Making in a Colombian Microsavings Program

    Access to formal financial products like savings accounts constitutes a hallmark feature of economic development, but individuals do not uniformly embrace these products. In explaining such financial preferences, scholars have focused on institutional, cultural, and material factors, but they have paid less attention to organizations and small groups. In this article, we argue that these factors are crucial to understanding financial preferences.
  3. 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.
  4. From Big to Small Cities: A Qualitative Analysis of the Causes and Outcomes of Post‐Recession Municipal Bankruptcies

    Two cities loom large in the history of American urban restructuring. New York City's 1975 technical bankruptcy and Detroit's 2013 Chapter 9 bankruptcy have played an oversized role in urban theory. This is currently reflected in competing theories of post‐recession urban restructuring. “Austerity urbanism” uses Detroit as an exemplar, whereas “pragmatic municipalism” adopts the converse position arguing post‐recession reform is defined by local context.

  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. The Behavioral Economics of Pierre Bourdieu

    This article builds the argument that Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of practice can help integrate the sociological tradition with three prominent strands of behavioral economics: bounded rationality, prospect theory, and time inconsistency.
  8. 2019 Hans O. Mauksch Address Teaching: The Body in Question

    I presented the 2019 Hans O. Mauksch address at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in New York City on August 13, 2019. In this address, I explore how sociology faculty perceive their physical bodies in relationship to teaching. After reviewing the literature, I surveyed a national sample of sociology faculty from diverse institutional contexts to find out how aware they were of their bodies in the classroom. I also asked questions related to how aging, chronic illness, and other health issues might affect the utilization of their bodies in teaching.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.