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. Liberal Individualism and the Globalization of Education as a Human Right: The Worldwide Decline of Early Tracking, 1960–2010

    This article examines global changes in tracking policies over the post–World War II period. Using a newly constructed quantitative panel data set of 139 countries from 1960 to 2010, I show that a majority of countries around the world have shifted away from sharply tracked institutions at the junior secondary level toward more formally “open” and “comprehensive” ones.
  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. 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.

  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. The Distribution of School Quality: Do Schools Serving Mostly White and High-SES Children Produce the Most Learning?

    What is schools’ role in the stratification system? One view is that schools are an important mechanism for perpetuating inequality because children from advantaged backgrounds (white and high socioeconomic) enjoy better school learning environments than their disadvantaged peers. But it is difficult to know this with confidence because children’s development is a product of both school and nonschool factors, making it a challenge to isolate school’s role.
  10. CASM: A Deep-Learning Approach for Identifying Collective Action Events with Text and Image Data from Social Media

    Protest event analysis is an important method for the study of collective action and social movements and typically draws on traditional media reports as the data source. We introduce collective action from social media (CASM)—a system that uses convolutional neural networks on image data and recurrent neural networks with long short-term memory on text data in a two-stage classifier to identify social media posts about offline collective action. We implement CASM on Chinese social media data and identify more than 100,000 collective action events from 2010 to 2017 (CASM-China).