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  1. A Sociology of Luck

    Sociology has been curiously silent about the concept of luck. The present article argues that this omission is, in fact, an oversight: An explicit and systematic engagement with luck provides a more accurate portrayal of the social world, opens potentially rich veins of empirical and theoretical inquiry, and offers a compelling alternative for challenging dominant meritocratic frames about inequality and the distribution of rewards.

  2. Taking a Knee, Taking a Stand: Social Networks and Identity Salience in the 2017 NFL Protests

    Beginning with President Trump’s speech against the national anthem protestors in September 2017, the authors consider how external sociopolitical events interacted with the network structure of the 2017 National Football League (NFL) to alter the salience of member identities and the resultant patterns of protest activity within the league. Using group membership data on the full population of 2,453 football players, the analysis tracks protest participation by membership in race and status groups and by the network variables of degree, betweenness, and closeness centrality.

  3. Adopting a Cloak of Incompetence: Impression Management Techniques for Feigning Lesser Selves

    The “cloak of competence” concept captures attempts to disguise limitations and exaggerate abilities. The author examines the conceptual converse: the “cloak of incompetence,” or the various ways people deliberately disregard, disguise, downplay, or diminish their personal abilities. Drawing on a comparative analysis of manifold empirical cases, the author identifies three generic competence-concealing techniques—avoidance, performance, and neutralization—and considers some of the interactional contingencies that can enhance or reduce their effectiveness.
  4. The New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

    Set against the background of mid-twentieth-century institutional changes analyzed by Jürgen Habermas, we provide an account of new social conditions that compose “the public sphere” in the contemporary United States. First, we review recent developments in theorizing the public sphere, arguing they benefit from renewed attention to institutional changes in how that sphere operates.
  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. Sociology’s Next Steps? Fiftieth Anniversary of Gouldner’s Vision and Sixtieth Anniversary of Mills’s Vision

    My essay in the July 2019 issue of Contemporary Sociology leaned heavily on Habermas’s focus on “personal emancipation” and Giddens’s concept of “structuration.”
  7. 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.
  8. The Phenomenology of Homo Economicus

    Much has been written about the fictitious nature of the atomistic model of homo economicus. Nevertheless, this economic model of self-interest and egoism has become conventional wisdom in market societies. This article offers a phenomenological explanation for the model’s commonsensical grip. Building on the work of Alfred Schutz, I argue that a reliance on homo economicus as an interpretive scheme for making sense of the behavior of economic Others has the effect of reversing the meaning of signs and doubts that challenge the model’s assumptions.
  9. Theorizing Region: Links to Ethnicity, Nation, and Race

    The concept of “region” is widespread in the social sciences but rarely theorized. I argue here that region is a multivalent concept similar to ethnicity, nation, and race. Building on the work of Bourdieu, Brubaker, and Griswold, I show that all four concepts can be understood as both “categories of analysis” and “categories of practice.” Moreover, all four have fundamental similarities regarding (1) ontology and relation to space; (2) historical sequences and relation to time; and (3) protean boundaries that may change with social scientists’ research questions.
  10. 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.