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  1. From “Ridiculous” to “Glad to Have Helped”: Debriefing News Delivery and Improved Reactions to Science in Milgram’s “Obedience” Experiments

    Commentators on Milgram’s classic and controversial experiments agree that better integration of theories of “obedience to authority” with current archival research on participants’ viewpoints is essential in explaining compliance. Using conversation analysis, we examine an archived data source that is largely overlooked by the Milgram literature, yet crucial for understanding the interactional organization of participants’ displayed perspectives. In hundreds of interviews conducted immediately after each experiment, participants received one of two types of debriefing: deceptive or full.
  2. Definitions and the Development of Theory in Social Psychology

    Formal definitions specify what is necessary and sufficient for the identification of a particular term. These formal definitions use precise language and do not admit contradictions; they are exact class. There are multiple advantages of exact class definitions. They enable us to confidently use deductive arguments so we can ensure that the terms in the premises match the terms in the conclusion. They prevent sloppiness and circularity of logic. They also help us look beyond common sense or what we think we already know.
  3. Velvet Rope Racism, Racial Paranoia, and Cultural Scripts: Alleged Dress Code Discrimination in Urban Nightlife, 2000–2014

    Using news stories appearing between June 1, 2000, and June 15, 2014, I explore the nature of African Americans’ allegations of racial discrimination in the use of dress codes at urban nightclubs. In this qualitative analysis I outline the nature of these incidents and the extent to which they represent what I refer to as “velvet rope racism”. I focus on how these incidents are negotiated between patrons and nightclub management, observing that owners who face allegations of racial discrimination turn to cultural scripts to make counterclaims to allegations.

  4. After Charlottesville

    Essays explore Americans’ construction and deconstruction of collective memory as White supremacists take to the streets.
  5. Testing a Social Schematic Model of Police Procedural Justice

    Procedural justice theory increasingly guides policing reforms in the United States and abroad. Yet the primary sources of perceived police procedural justice are still unclear. Building on social schema research, we posit civilians’ perceptions of police procedural justice only partly reflect their personal and vicarious experiences with officers. We theorize perceptions of the police are anchored in a broader “relational justice schema,” composed of views about how respectful, fair, and unbiased most people are in their dealings with others.
  6. Official Frames and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: The Struggle for Reparations

    Movements that seek reparations against racial injustices must confront historic narratives of events and patterns of repression. These injustices are often legitimated through official narratives that discredit and vilify racial groups. This paper analyzes elite official frames in the case of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, in which an economically thriving African American neighborhood was destroyed. Our research examines the official frames that were promulgated by white elites in defending the violent repression and analyzes the ongoing efforts by reparations proponents to seek redress.
  7. Don’t Know or Won’t Say? Exploring How Colorblind Norms Shape Item Nonresponse in Social Surveys

    Colorblind norms play an important role in shaping how people discuss race. There is reason to believe that these norms also affect the ways respondents interact with social surveys. Specifically, some respondents may be using nonresponse as a tactic to not discuss race in social surveys. If this is the case, very different demographics of respondents would be most prone to nonresponse, and the phenomenon should also vary on the basis of the interviewer’s race.
  8. Stereotype Threat and Educational Tracking: A Field Experiment in Chinese Vocational High Schools

    Educational tracks create differential expectations of student ability, raising concerns that the negative stereotypes associated with lower tracks might threaten student performance. The authors test this concern by drawing on a field experiment enrolling 11,624 Chinese vocational high school students, half of whom were randomly primed about their tracks before taking technical skill and math exams. As in almost all countries, Chinese students are sorted between vocational and academic tracks, and vocational students are stereotyped as having poor academic abilities.
  9. Status Threat, Material Interests, and the 2016 Presidential Vote

    The April 2018 article of Diana Mutz “Status Threat, Not Economic Hardship, Explains the 2016 Presidential Vote,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and contradicts prior sociological research on the 2016 election. Mutz’s article received widespread media coverage because of the strength of its primary conclusion, declaimed in its title. The present article is a critical reanalysis of the models offered by Mutz, using the data files released along with her article.
  10. Review Essays: The Sorry State of Civil Rights

    It has been more than half a century since Washington outlawed workplace discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 spawned a complex, unwieldy compliance system. An army of experts—diversity consultants, human resources professionals, government regulators, plaintiff attorneys, insurance underwriters, management attorneys, judges—has helped to develop, and justify, a host of “symbolic” workplace civil rights measures.