American Sociological Association

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  1. 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.
  2. Increasing American Political Tolerance: A Framework Excluding Hate Speech

    According to prior research, political tolerance has either stagnated since the 1970s (if to be tolerant one must be tolerant of every group in all circumstances) or steadily increased (if tolerance is measured using an index, averaging across groups). Using General Social Survey cross-sectional and panel data on civil liberties, this article proposes a new framework: separating out the groups that use hate speech from those that may be only controversial. The United States is unique among Western liberal democracies in not having a prohibition against hate speech.

  3. “He Explained It to Me and I Also Did It Myself”: How Older Adults Get Support with Their Technology Uses

    Given that older adults constitute a highly heterogeneous group that engages with digital media in varying ways, there is likely to be large variation in technology support needs, something heretofore unaddressed in the literature. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with a multinational sample of older adults, the authors explore the support needs of older adults for using digital media, including their perceptions of whether the support they receive meets their needs.
  4. Lay Pharmacovigilance and the Dramatization of Risk: Fluoroquinolone Harm on YouTube

    Sociologists have documented how the pharmaceutical industry has corrupted pharmacovigilance (PV), defined as the practices devoted to detecting and preventing adverse drug reactions (ADRs). In this article, I juxtapose the official postmarketing system of PV with firsthand accounts of ADRs as found in 60 YouTube vlogs created by 29 individuals who recount debilitating reactions to fluoroquinolones, a common class of antibiotics. Whereas official PV is said to contribute the banalization of risk, these vlogs exemplify the dramatization of risk. I consider the vlogs as instances of lay PV.
  5. 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).
  6. Love Me Tinder, Love Me Sweet

    Are “hook up” apps leading to a new kind of dating culture on college campuses? Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are have a different impact on the lives of college students versus older daters. Many students are using these apps to circumvent the romantic gatekeeping that campus party culture has long dominated.

  7. Review Essay: Combating Labor Precarity Is Hard Work

    “All that is solid melts into air,” wrote Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, at a time when labor was becoming increasingly precarious. The experience of workplace precarity and the broader feeling of insecurity it engenders are certainly not new; they are as old as capitalism. Even so, precarious labor as a concept is enjoying quite a boom these days.
  8. 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).
  9. Us versus Them: The Responses of Managers to the Feminization of High-Status Occupations

    What happens when more and more women enter high-status occupations that were previously male-dominated occupations? This article explores how the processes by which the entrance of women into high-status occupations has affected the hiring, income, and perceived competence of women. I present the results of a general population experiment conducted on a large, random sample of the U.S. population. The experiment was designed to explore the hiring, income, and perceived competence of all women when high-status occupations become predominantly female.
  10. 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).