American Sociological Association

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  1. Jim Crow's Legacy: The Lasting Impact of Segregation

    For many, possibly most, Americans the term “Jim Crow” conjures a shameful and embarrassing historical era during which African Americans were treated unfairly. Ultimately, our nation recognized the contradiction between the unfair conditions of Jim Crow and our national creed of freedom, justice, and equality. Pushed along by civil rights marchers and enlightened legislators, Jim Crow was abandoned and, within less than a half century, America entered a new “post-racial,” colorblind era, led by a mixed-race president.

  2. Pluralistic Collapse: The “Oil Spill” Model of Mass Opinion Polarization

    Despite widespread feeling that public opinion in the United States has become dramatically polarized along political lines, empirical support for such a pattern is surprisingly elusive. Reporting little evidence of mass polarization, previous studies assume polarization is evidenced via the amplification of existing political alignments. This article considers a different pathway: polarization occurring via social, cultural, and political alignments coming to encompass an increasingly diverse array of opinions and attitudes.

  3. Measuring Stability and Change in Personal Culture Using Panel Data

    Models of population-wide cultural change tend to invoke one of two broad models of individual change. One approach theorizes people actively updating their beliefs and behaviors in the face of new information. The other argues that, following early socialization experiences, dispositions are stable. We formalize these two models, elaborate empirical implications of each, and derive a simple combined model for comparing them using panel data. We test this model on 183 attitude and behavior items from the 2006 to 2014 rotating panels of the General Social Survey.
  4. Race, Empire, and Epistemic Exclusion: Or the Structures of Sociological Thought

    This essay analyzes racialized exclusions in sociology through a focus on sociology’s deep epistemic structures. These structures dictate what counts as social scientific knowledge and who can produce it. A historical analysis of their emergence and persistence reveals their connections to empire. Due to sociology’s initial emergence within the culture of American imperialism, early sociological thought embedded the culture of empire’s exclusionary logics.
  5. Racial Ideology or Racial Ignorance? An Alternative Theory of Racial Cognition

    Directing attention to racial ignorance as a core dimension of racialized social systems, this article advances a process-focused Theory of Racial Ignorance (TRI), grounded in Critical Race Theory and the philosophical construct white ignorance. TRI embodies five tenets—epistemology of ignorance, ignorance as ends-based technology, corporate white agency, centrality of praxis, and interest convergence.
  6. Revisiting China’s Social Volcano: Attitudes toward Inequality and Political Trust in China

    Existing literature suggests that despite rising inequality in China, Chinese people tend to tolerate inequality, so it would be unlikely that rising inequality would cause sociopolitical instability. Few studies, however, have systematically explained Chinese people’s attitudes toward inequality, analyzed attitudinal changes over time, or examined the relationship between such attitudes and political trust. The author’s analysis of national surveys in 2004, 2009, and 2014 yields three findings.
  7. “A Little More Ghetto, a Little Less Cultured”: Are There Racial Stereotypes about Interracial Daters in the United States?

    Negative stereotypes about racial minorities, particularly African Americans, persist in the United States. Given the imperviousness of racial stereotypes about minorities, can individuals who date interracially also be stereotyped? The author investigates this by conducting the first systematic study of men’s attitudes toward white and black women who date outside their race. First, the author inductively uncovers these stereotypes through focus groups.
  8. Becoming Wards of the State: Race, Crime, and Childhood in the Struggle for Foster Care Integration, 1920s to 1960s

    Using archival materials from the Domestic Relations Court of New York City, this article traces the conflict between private institutions and the state over responsibility for neglected African American children in the early twentieth century. After a long history of exclusion by private child welfare, the court assumed public responsibility for the protection of children of all races. Yet, in an arrangement of delegated governance, judges found themselves unable to place non-white children because of the enduring exclusionary policies of private agencies.
  9. The Ecology of Race and Punishment across Cities

    In an era of mass incarceration in the United States, neighborhood context plays a significant role in demographic patterns of imprisonment. This paper examines the preprison neighborhood environment of racial and ethnic groups within the Massachusetts prison admission population. The data include over 12,000 prison records of individuals sentenced to state prison for a criminal offense between 2009 and 2014. Findings indicate significant spatial variation across racial groups: The most disadvantaged preprison neighborhoods exist in small cities outside of Boston.

  10. Producing Facts in a World of Alternatives: Why Journalism Matters and Why It Could Matter More

    In a time of shrinking newsrooms, newspaper closings, fake news, alternative facts and outrage, and incursion from outsiders, why does professional journalism matter anymore? How can journalists, looking to defend their profession and the news they produce, claim authority over truth and fact? Michael Schudson engages these questions in Why Journalism Still Matters, a collection of writings on the value of today’s journalism for today’s democracy.