American Sociological Association

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  1. On the Ambivalence of the Aphorism in Sociological Theory

    Sociologists have long been taken by certain pithy expressions from the founders of the discipline. We propose here both a new explanation for the endurance of these statements as well as an analysis of the power, limitations, and possibilities of aphorisms. By drawing from the critical scholarship concerned with aphorisms, we demonstrate that some of the allure of the classical sociological texts derives from their form, and particularly their reliance on the relative autonomy of the aphorism.
  2. 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.
  3. A City for Itself: A Peripheral Mixed City's Struggle for Cultural Capital

    Based on the case study of a Fringe theatre festival in a peripheral city in Israel, this article identifies and analyzes a moment of change in power relations between a peripheral city and the country's central city. It offers an alternative perspective to urban discourse, which analyzes art projects in peripheral cities as duplicating colonial relations. We adapted the Marxist concept of a class in itself and a class for itself, from the socioeconomic realm to the urban realm, by using Bourdieu's field theory as a link between the sociology of art and the urban realm.

  4. The Meaning of 'Theory'

    ‘Theory’ is one of the most important words in the lexicon of contemporary sociology. Yet, their ubiquity notwithstanding, it is quite unclear what sociologists mean by the words ‘theory,’ ‘theoretical,’ and ‘theorize.’ I argue that confusions about the meaning of ‘theory’ have brought about undesirable consequences, including conceptual muddles and even downright miscommunication. In this paper I tackle two questions: (a) what does ‘theory’ mean in the sociological language?; and (b) what ought ‘theory’ to mean in the sociological language? I proceed in five stages.

  5. Essay: Sociology's New Steps?

    It was the devastating problems linked to the dramatic shift from farm to factory during the nineteenth century that fueled sociology’s origins, whether we turn to Comte, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, or Simmel. Building on the eighteenth-century Enlightenment spirit of the power of reason and freedom as well as the triumphs of the biophysical sciences, they envisaged a powerful science of human behavior that could solve those problems.

  6. The Purposes of Refugee Education: Policy and Practice of Including Refugees in National Education Systems

    This article explores the understood purposes of refugee education at global, national, and school levels. To do so, we focus on a radical shift in global policy to integrate refugees into national education systems and the processes of vernacularization accompanying its widespread implementation. We use a comparative case study approach; our dataset comprises global policy documents and original interviews (n = 147) and observations in 14 refugee-hosting nation-states.
  7. Analyzing Meaning in Big Data: Performing a Map Analysis Using Grammatical Parsing and Topic Modeling

    Social scientists have recently started discussing the utilization of text-mining tools as being fruitful for scaling inductively grounded close reading. We aim to progress in this direction and provide a contemporary contribution to the literature. By focusing on map analysis, we demonstrate the potential of text-mining tools for text analysis that approaches inductive but still formal in-depth analysis.
  8. Intersubjectivity, Normativity, and Grammar

    Interactants depend on background knowledge and commonsense inferences to establish and maintain intersubjectivity. This study investigates how the resources of language—or more specifically, of grammar—can be mobilized to address moments when such inferences might risk jeopardizing understanding in lieu of promoting it. While such moments may initially seem to undermine the normative commonsensicality of the particular inference(s) in question, the practice examined here is shown to legitimize those inferences through the very act of setting them aside.

  9. How Do We “Do Gender”? Permeation as Over-Talking and Talking Over

    Gendered expectations are imported from the larger culture to permeate small-group discussions, creating conversational inequalities. Conversational roles also emerge from the negotiated order of group interactions to reflect, reinforce, and occasionally challenge these cultural patterns. The authors provide a new examination of conversational overlaps and interruptions. They show how negotiated conversational roles lead a status distinction (gender) to shape conversational inequality.

  10. Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

    At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits.