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  1. Review Essay: See It with Figures

    The short story is that Kieran Healy’s Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction is a gentle introduction to the effective display of social science data using the R package ggplot2. It is beautifully put together, achingly clear, and effective.
  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. 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.
  5. Featured Essay: Preventing Violence: Insights from Micro-Sociology

    Micro-sociology of violence looks at what happens in situations where people directly threaten violence, but only sometimes carry it out. This process and its turning points have become easier to see in the current era of visual data: cell-phone videos, long-distance telephoto lenses, CCTV cameras. New cues and instruments are on the horizon as we look at emotional signals, body rhythms, and monitors for body signs such as heart rate (a proxy for adrenaline level).
  6. Residuality and Inconsistency in the Interpretation of Socio-Theoretical Systems

    This article addresses the interpretation and criticism of theoretical systems. Its particular focus is on how to assess the success of theories in dealing with some specific phenomenon. We are interested in how to differentiate between cases where a theory offers an unsatisfactory acknowledgment of a specified phenomenon and those where a theory offers a deeper, more systematic understanding.
  7. What’s Alter Got to Do with It? A Consideration of Network Content and the Social Ties That Provide It

    The strength of weak ties is among the most important theories in the social sciences. One paradoxical element of the theory has been widely understood and valued—that weak ties connect disparate regions of social structure. Less appreciated, however, is the arguably more paradoxical implication that someone only weakly connected to another would provide value beyond that which is provided by the recipient’s (ego’s) strong ties. Once this paradoxical feature of the theory and associated empirical literatures is acknowledged, the interests of the resource provider (alter) demand consideration.
  8. Meaning and Modularity: The Multivalence of “Mechanism” in Sociological Explanation

    Mechanisms are ubiquitous in sociological explanation. Recent theoretical work has sought to extend mechanistic explanation further still: into cultural and interpretative analysis. Yet it is not clear that the concept of mechanism can coherently unify interpretation and causal explanation within a single explanatory framework. We note that sociological mechanistic explanation is marked by a crucial disjuncture.
  9. The Sociological Canon, Relations between Theories and Methods, and a Latent Political Structure: Findings from a Survey of Sociology Students in Germany and Consequences for Teaching

    We discuss findings from a survey of sociology students in Germany and consequences for teaching. We focus on the de facto formation of a sociological canon, the relation between theories and methods, and effects of social and political characteristics on student’s scientific preferences. Our findings suggest that irrespective of an agreement of the sociological professionals on a common definition of a core, a de facto canon of theories and methods exists in teaching practices. Moreover, specific relations between sociological theories and methods occur in the data.
  10. Teaching about Learning: The Effects of Instruction on Metacognition in a Sociological Theory Course

    This article investigates the effects of teaching about metacognition in a sociological theory course. I created a series of teaching interventions to introduce students to the science of learning, including an interactive lecture on metacognition, a discussion that models metacognitive strategies, and activities for students to practice metacognition. This article describes those teaching interventions and assesses whether direct instruction led to greater use of metacognitive and cognitive strategies, confidence, and motivation to learn.