American Sociological Association

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  1. Teaching Content Analysis through Harry Potter

    Content analysis is a valuable research tool for social scientists that unfortunately can prove challenging to teach to undergraduate students. Published classroom exercises designed to teach content analysis have thus far been predominantly envisioned as lengthy projects for upper-level courses. A brief and engaging exercise may be more beneficial for introductory social science courses in which less time can be allotted to any one topic, such as content analysis.

  2. Discovering Race in a “Post-Racial” World: Teaching Race through Primetime Television

    Teaching students about race remains a challenging task for instructors, made even more difficult in the context of a growing “post-racial” discourse. Given this challenge, it is important for instructors to find engaging ways to help students understand the continuing significance of race and racial/ethnic inequality. In this article, we detail an exercise that asks students to analyze representations of race/ethnicity on network television for one week as a way of illustrating white dominance, white privilege, and racial inequality.

  3. The High of Cultural Experience: Toward a Microsociology of Cultural Consumption

    Does the experience of cultural consumption have its own sui generis attraction and value in itself, or is it an index of external social ranking? Four criteria are proposed that are observable in microsociological detail: (1) bodily self-absorption in the cultural experience, creating an intense internal interaction ritual; (2) collective effervescence among the audience; (3) Goffmanian front-stage self-presentation in settings of cultural consumption; and (4) verbal discourse during and around the cultural experience.

  4. Creating an Age of Depression: The Social Construction and Consequences of the Major Depression Diagnosis

    One type of study in the sociology of mental health examines how social and cultural factors influence the creation and consequences of psychiatric diagnoses. Most studies of this kind focus on how diagnoses emerge from struggles among advocacy organizations, economic and political interest groups, and professionals.

  5. The Positive Consequences of Negative Stereotypes: Race, Sexual Orientation, and the Job Application Process

    How do marginalized social categories, such as being black and gay, combine with one another in the production of discrimination? While much extant research assumes that combining marginalized social categories results in a “double disadvantage,” I argue that in the case of race and sexual orientation the opposite may be true. This article posits that stereotypes about gay men as effeminate and weak will counteract common negative stereotypes held by whites that black men are threatening and criminal.

  6. Selling Feminism, Consuming Femininity

    For over half a century, magazines aimed at teens have been teaching girls how to inhabit stereotypical gender roles. Surprisingly, though the celebrities on the covers have changed, the messages have remained the same.

  7. Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms

    This article presents culture as a vehicle of labor market sorting. Providing a case study of hiring in elite professional service firms, I investigate the often suggested but heretofore empirically unexamined hypothesis that cultural similarities between employers and job candidates matter for employers’ hiring decisions. Drawing from 120 interviews with employers as well as participant observation of a hiring committee, I argue that hiring is more than just a process of skills sorting; it is also a process of cultural matching between candidates, evaluators, and firms.

  8. Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power

    Power is at the core of feminist theories of sexual harassment, although it has rarely been measured directly in terms of workplace authority. Popular characterizations portray male supervisors harassing female subordinates, but power-threat theories suggest that women in authority may be more frequent targets. This article analyzes longitudinal survey data and qualitative interviews from the Youth Development Study to test this idea and to delineate why and how supervisory authority, gender nonconformity, and workplace sex ratios affect harassment.

  9. Gender Gaps in Undergraduate Fields of Study: Do College Characteristics Matter?

    Despite gender parity in earned bachelor’s degrees, large gender gaps persist across fields of study. The dominant explanatory framework in this area of research assesses how gender differences in individual-level attributes predict gaps in major choice. The authors argue that individualistic accounts cannot provide a complete explanation because they fail to consider the powerful effects of the gendered institutional environments that inform and shape young men’s and women’s choices.
  10. Union, Premium Cost, and the Provision of Employment-based Health Insurance

    The decline of employment-based health plans is commonly attributed to rising premium costs. Using restricted data and a matched sample from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey–Insurance Component, the authors extend previous studies by testing the relationships among premium costs, employment relationships, and the provision of health benefits between 1999 and 2012. The authors report that both establishment- and state-level union densities are associated with a higher likelihood of employers’ providing health plans, whereas right-to-work legislation is associated with lower provision.