American Sociological Association

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  1. The Status Dynamics of Role Blurring in the Time of COVID-19

    Has the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic altered the status dynamics of role blurring? Although researchers typically investigate its conflictual aspects, the authors assess if the work-home interface might also be a source of status—and the relevance of schedule control in these processes. Analyzing data from nationally representative samples of workers in September 2019 and March 2020, the authors find that role blurring is associated with elevated status, but the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 weakens that effect.

  2. Who Doesn’t Trust Fauci? The Public’s Belief in the Expertise and Shared Values of Scientists in the COVID-19 Pandemic

    The primary tension in public discourse about the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been President Trump’s disagreement with scientists. The authors analyze a national survey of 1,593 Americans to examine which social groups agree with scientists’ ability to understand the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and which agree that COVID-19 scientists share their values. Republicans and independents are less trusting than Democrats on both measures, as are African Americans.

  3. His and Her Earnings Following Parenthood in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom

    This article advances a couple-level framework to examine how parenthood shapes within-family gender inequality by education in three countries that vary in their normative and policy context: the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We trace mothers’ share of couple earnings and variation by her education in the 10-year window around first birth, using long-running harmonized panel surveys from the 1990s and 2000s (N = 4,117 couples and 28,488 couple-years) and an event study methodology that leverages within-couple variation in earnings pre- and post-birth.

  4. A Numbers Game: Quantification of Work, Auto-Gamification, and Worker Productivity

    Technological advances and the big-data revolution have facilitated fine-grained, high-frequency, low-cost measurement of individuals’ work. Yet we understand little about the influences of such quantification of work on workers’ behavior and performance. This article investigates how and when quantification of work affects worker productivity. We argue that quantification affects worker productivity via auto-gamification, or workers’ inadvertent transformation of work into an independent, individual-level game.

  5. Pluralistic Collapse: The “Oil Spill” Model of Mass Opinion Polarization

    Despite widespread feeling that public opinion in the United States has become dramatically polarized along political lines, empirical support for such a pattern is surprisingly elusive. Reporting little evidence of mass polarization, previous studies assume polarization is evidenced via the amplification of existing political alignments. This article considers a different pathway: polarization occurring via social, cultural, and political alignments coming to encompass an increasingly diverse array of opinions and attitudes.

  6. 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.

  7. Measuring Stability and Change in Personal Culture Using Panel Data

    Models of population-wide cultural change tend to invoke one of two broad models of individual change. One approach theorizes people actively updating their beliefs and behaviors in the face of new information. The other argues that, following early socialization experiences, dispositions are stable. We formalize these two models, elaborate empirical implications of each, and derive a simple combined model for comparing them using panel data. We test this model on 183 attitude and behavior items from the 2006 to 2014 rotating panels of the General Social Survey.
  8. Power, Hegemony, and World Society Theory: A Critical Evaluation

    World society theory has been one of the better published theoretical paradigms of the past 30 to 40 years. But despite its publishing successes, world society theory and research are beset by a number of theoretical and empirical problems that call into question the theory’s ability to accurately describe and explain the global diffusion of government practices, policies, and structures.

  9. Revisiting China’s Social Volcano: Attitudes toward Inequality and Political Trust in China

    Existing literature suggests that despite rising inequality in China, Chinese people tend to tolerate inequality, so it would be unlikely that rising inequality would cause sociopolitical instability. Few studies, however, have systematically explained Chinese people’s attitudes toward inequality, analyzed attitudinal changes over time, or examined the relationship between such attitudes and political trust. The author’s analysis of national surveys in 2004, 2009, and 2014 yields three findings.
  10. Where Ivy Matters: The Educational Backgrounds of U.S. Cultural Elites

    Status transmission theory argues that leading educational institutions prepare individuals from privileged backgrounds for positions of prestige and power in their societies. We examine the educational backgrounds of more than 2,900 members of the U.S. cultural elite and compare these backgrounds to a sample of nearly 4,000 business and political leaders. We find that the leading U.S. educational institutions are substantially more important for preparing future members of the cultural elite than they are for preparing future members of the business or political elite.