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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. The Raced‐Space of Gentrification: “Reverse Blockbusting,” Home Selling, and Neighborhood Remake in North Nashville

    Proponents of gentrification often use some rendition of a “rising tide lifts all boats” justification when assessing the impact that gentrification has on original residents in a gentrifying area. One of the benefits that is widely accepted by proponents and opponents of gentrification is that homeowners experience an increase in property values that can easily be transferred to family wealth or cash. Yet, there is virtually no research that provides an evidence base to support this seemingly direct relationship.

  6. Can Rust Belt or Three Cities Explain the Sociospatial Changes in Atlantic Canadian Cities?

    Research on American secondary cities has largely focused on so‐called “rust belt” cities and has found that they tend to have economic stagnation, racialization, and urban decay in their urban cores occurring after economic crises. Most urban research on Canadian cities has, by contrast, focused on the country's largest cities, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, and has found that urban cores are getting richer, less diverse, and undergoing infrastructural improvements. We examine each model by looking at four secondary Atlantic Canadian cities (Halifax, Moncton, St.

  7. From Big to Small Cities: A Qualitative Analysis of the Causes and Outcomes of Post‐Recession Municipal Bankruptcies

    Two cities loom large in the history of American urban restructuring. New York City's 1975 technical bankruptcy and Detroit's 2013 Chapter 9 bankruptcy have played an oversized role in urban theory. This is currently reflected in competing theories of post‐recession urban restructuring. “Austerity urbanism” uses Detroit as an exemplar, whereas “pragmatic municipalism” adopts the converse position arguing post‐recession reform is defined by local context.

  8. Big City Problems: Private Equity Investment, Transnational Users, and Local Mobilization in the Small City

    High Point, North Carolina, once known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World” for its vast manufacturing complex, has suffered intense deindustrialization over the past 60 years. During this same time, however, High Point has competed with much more prominent cities to become the world's most important furniture exposition node and a major design, fashion, and merchandising center.

  9. Cracking the Black Box: Capturing the Role of Expectation States in Status Processes

    A fundamental task for sociology is to uncover the mechanisms that produce and reproduce social inequalities. While status characteristics theory is the favored account of how social status contributes independently to the maintenance of inequality, it hinges on an unobserved construct, expectation states, in the middle of the causal chain between status and behavior. Efforts to test the mediation mechanism have been complicated by the implicit, often unconscious, nature of status expectations.
  10. Medical Authority under Siege: How Clinicians Transform Patient Resistance into Acceptance

    Over the past decades, professional medical authority has been transformed due to internal and external pressures, including weakened institutional support and patient-centered care. Today’s patients are more likely to resist treatment recommendations. We examine how patient resistance to treatment recommendations indexes the strength of contemporary professional authority. Using conversation analytic methods, we analyze 39 video recordings of patient-clinician encounters involving pediatric epilepsy patients in which parents resist recommended treatments.