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  1. The Geometry of Culture: Analyzing the Meanings of Class through Word Embeddings

    We argue word embedding models are a useful tool for the study of culture using a historical analysis of shared understandings of social class as an empirical case. Word embeddings represent semantic relations between words as relationships between vectors in a high-dimensional space, specifying a relational model of meaning consistent with contemporary theories of culture.
  2. Mapping Cultural Schemas: From Theory to Method

    A growing body of research in sociology uses the concept of cultural schemas to explain how culture influences beliefs and actions. However, this work often relies on belief or attitude measures gleaned from survey data as indicators of schemas, failing to measure the cognitive associations that constitute schemas. In this article, we propose a concept-association-based approach for collecting data about individuals’ schematic associations, and a corresponding method for modeling concept network representations of shared cultural schemas.
  3. Queer Pop‐Ups: A Cultural Innovation in Urban Life

    Research on sexuality and space emphasizes geographic and institutional forms that are stable, established, and fixed. By narrowing their analytic gaze on such places, which include gayborhoods and bars, scholars use observations about changing public opinions, residential integration, and the closure of nighttime venues to conclude that queer urban and institutional life is in decline. We use queer pop‐up events to challenge these dominant arguments about urban sexualities and to advocate instead a “temporary turn” that analyzes the relationship between ephemerality and placemaking.

  4. Talking Your Self into It: How and When Accounts Shape Motivation for Action

    Following Mills, several prominent sociologists have encouraged researchers to analyze actors’ motive talk not as data on the subjective desires that move them to pursue particular ends but as post hoc accounts oriented toward justifying actions already undertaken.
  5. Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

    Where ethnoracial boundaries are treated as rigid and real, their consequences are also rigid and real. But if Rachel Dolezal had lived in Brazil, she would have been just another negra frustrada.

  6. The Temporal Logic of Deservingness: Inequality Beliefs in Two Postsocialist Societies

    Employing a cultural sociological approach, this article asks how individuals from two postsocialist societies articulate principles of justice by providing narrative accounts of other peoples’ perceived choices and social mobility trajectories after 1989.
  7. Toward a Hermeneutic Model of Cultural Globalization: Four Lessons from Translation Studies

    Many scholars study the global diffusion of culture, looking at how institutions spread culture around the world or at how intermediaries (or “cultural brokers”) adapt foreign culture in the local context. This research can tell us much about brokers’ “cultural-matching” or “congruence-building” strategies. To date, however, few scholars have examined brokers’ interpretive work. In this article, the author argues that globalization research needs to pay more attention to interpretation.

  8. Public Ideas: Their Varieties and Careers

    In light of ongoing concerns about the relevance of scholarly activities, we ask, what are public ideas and how do they come to be? More specifically, how do journalists and other mediators between the academy and the public use social science ideas? How do the various uses of these ideas develop over time and shape the public careers of these ideas? How do these processes help us understand public ideas and identify their various types? In addressing these questions, we make the case for a sociology of public social science.

  9. Editor's Remarks: The Art of Acknowledgments

    Michael Sauder reflects on expressive conventions and sociological affect in the genre of Acknowledgments.
  10. The Conditionality of Norms: The Case of Bridewealth

    Social norms are rules that prescribe and proscribe behavior. The application of norms is conditional. But scholars have little systematic understanding of the factors that affect conditionality. The authors argue that understanding norms requires assessing the costs and benefits of focal and nonfocal behaviors for norm targets, beneficiaries, and enforcers. The authors develop hypotheses about two combinations of these factors; they hypothesize that 1) costs to the norm target of complying with the norm, and 2) behavior by the norm beneficiary that hurts the norm target, weaken the norm.