American Sociological Association

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  1. McJobs and Pieces of Flair: Linking McDonaldization to Alienating Work

    This article offers strategies for teaching about rationality, bureaucracy, and social change using George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society and its ideas about efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control. Student learning is facilitated using a series of strategies: making the familiar strange, explaining McDonaldization, self-investigation and discovery, and exploring and implementing alternatives.

  2. Teaching about Animals: Incorporating Nonhuman Animals into Sociology Classrooms

    The topic of human–animal studies (HAS) remains largely ignored within the sociology classroom. While a few sociologists have encouraged teaching about animals, none has assessed whether incorporating nonhuman animals into the curriculum is effective. In this study, three instructors at two universities incorporated animal-related materials in their sociology courses in a variety of ways. Data analyzed from course exam responses and student papers as well as end-of-semester student surveys indicate that student learning and enjoyment were enhanced.
  3. Understanding Recent Growth Dynamics in Small Urban Places: The Case of New England

    This article utilizes recently published US Census data covering the pre‐and post‐Great Recession period (1990–2015) to identify key determinants of growth among small urban places in the New England Region. We find little evidence of random growth and robust evidence of convergence in growth, indicating that smaller urban areas tend to experience faster rates of growth than larger ones, over both the short and long term. Factors such as distance to large city areas and amenities are found to be particularly relevant to population growth rates.

  4. In Search of Greater Understanding: The Impact of Mastery Learning on Social Science Education

    Mastery learning approaches were designed to improve student learning and elevate the level of understanding across a broader swath of students. These approaches operate under the belief that all students are capable of learning if given enough time. Little research has examined the utility or applicability of a mastery learning approach for social sciences outside of research methods courses.
  5. 2019 Hans O. Mauksch Address Teaching: The Body in Question

    I presented the 2019 Hans O. Mauksch address at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in New York City on August 13, 2019. In this address, I explore how sociology faculty perceive their physical bodies in relationship to teaching. After reviewing the literature, I surveyed a national sample of sociology faculty from diverse institutional contexts to find out how aware they were of their bodies in the classroom. I also asked questions related to how aging, chronic illness, and other health issues might affect the utilization of their bodies in teaching.
  6. Educational Expansion, Skills Diffusion, and the Economic Value of Credentials and Skills

    Examining the economic value of education has been a central research agenda of social scientists for decades. However, prior research inadequately accounts for the discrepancy between educational credentials and skills at both the individual and societal levels. In this article, I investigate the link between credentials, skills, and labor market outcomes against a background of societal-level educational expansion and skills diffusion.
  7. Why Does the Importance of Education for Health Differ across the United States?

    The positive association between educational attainment and adult health (“the gradient”) is stronger in some areas of the United States than in others. Explanations for the geographic pattern have not been rigorously investigated. Grounded in a contextual and life-course perspective, the aim of this study is to assess childhood circumstances (e.g., childhood health, compulsory schooling laws) and adult circumstances (e.g., wealth, lifestyles, economic policies) as potential explanations.

  8. Is Urbanization Good for the Climate? A Cross-County Analysis of Impervious Surface, Affluence, and the Carbon Intensity of Well-Being

    We contribute to literature exploring the socioecological impact of urban development as a multidimensional project, one in which changes to landscape features complement changes in demographic and administrative measures to co-constitute the socioecological impact of urbanity. We use a random coefficients modeling approach to examine U.S. relationships between the intensity of impervious surface within a county, population density in impervious areas, and carbon intensity of well-being (CIWB)—here constructed using industrial emissions.

  9. Implementing a Careers and Professional Development Course for Sociology Students

    Sociology students are interested in having meaningful careers that use their sociological knowledge and skills, and higher education institutions are under pressure to show that their graduates achieve career success. A one-credit-hour course focused on careers, professional development, and resources for sociology majors can increase students’ confidence that multiple options exist for them in their postbaccalaureate lives.
  10. Community-Initiated Student-Engaged Research: Expanding Undergraduate Teaching and Learning through Public Sociology

    Drawing on a multiyear local research project on the affordable housing crisis, this article outlines a pedagogical approach we call Community-Initiated Student-Engaged Research, or CISER. The CISER model brings together three key groups of actors—undergraduate students, university researchers, and community organizations—drawing on and extending the powers of cooperative “dyads” between them.