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  1. Resources on Race, Police Violence, and Justice

    Protests against police violence and the systemic racism underlying it are underway across the country.  Sociologists have much to contribute to understanding and addressing these cultural and structural problems. ASA has developed a compilation of resources that can be used for research, teaching, and other outreach activities. Additional resources will be added to this page over time.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. COVID-19 Resources for Sociologists

    Every day we face new challenges related to COVID-19. ASA wants to help sociologists navigate those challenges. We are offering several resources to help sociologists in their work during this period.

    For more sociological perspectives and insights, see ASA's Special Issue of Footnotes on COVID-19.

  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. From Aristocratic to Ordinary: Shifting Modes of Elite Distinction

    How do elites signal their superior social position via the consumption of culture? We address this question by drawing on 120 years of “recreations” data (N = 71,393) contained within Who’s Who, a unique catalogue of the British elite.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Aggression, Conflict, and the Formation of Intimidating Group Reputation

    From inmates in prison gangs to soldiers in elite units, the intimidating reputation of groups often precedes its members. While individual reputation is known to affect people’s aggressiveness, whether one’s group reputation can similarly influence behavior in conflict situations is yet to be established. Using an economic game experiment, we isolate the effect of group reputation on aggression and conflict from that of individual reputation.