American Sociological Association

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  1. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers' Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  2. Choice, Information, and Constrained Options: School Transfers in a Stratified Educational System

    It is well known that family socioeconomic background influences childhood access to opportunities. Educational reforms that introduce new information about school quality may lead to increased inequality if families with more resources are better able to respond. However, these policies can also level the playing field for choice by equalizing disadvantaged families’ access to information. This study assesses how a novel accountability system affected family enrollment decisions in the Chicago Public Schools by introducing new test performance information and consequences.

  3. Professionalism Redundant, Reshaped, or Reinvigorated? Realizing the "Third Logic" in Contemporary Health Care

    Recent decades have seen the influence of the professions decline. Lately, commentators have suggested a revived role for a "new" professionalism in ensuring and enhancing high-quality health care in systems dominated by market and managerial logics. The form this new professionalism might take, however, remains obscure. This article uses data from an ethnographic study of three English health care improvement projects to analyze the place, potential, and limitations of professionalism as a means of engaging clinicians in efforts to improve service quality.

  4. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  5. Understanding Educational Policy Formation: The Case of School Violence Policies in Israel

    This study explores mechanisms underlying processes of educational policy formation. Previous studies have given much attention to processes of diffusion when accounting for educational policy formation. Less account has been given to the day-to-day institutional dynamics through which educational policies develop and change. Building on extensive governmental archival data, complemented with interviews and media analysis, I study the development and transformation of school violence policies in Israel.

  6. Pivot Points: Direct Measures of the Content and Process of Community-based Learning

    This research is an initial investigation into the ways community-based learning increase the cognitive skills central to the exercise of the sociological imagination. In addition to identifying a means to reveal that learning had occurred, we looked for evidence that the students were mastering sociological content, especially the concepts and habits of the sociological imagination.

  7. Discrimination against Queer Women in the U.S. Workforce: A Resume Audit Study

    The author reports on the first study to use an audit method to ascertain whether discrimination occurs against queer women (relative to straight women) when they apply to jobs in the United States. A field experiment was conducted in which a pair of fictitious women’s résumés were sent to apply to more than 800 administrative jobs from online job databases advertised by employers across four states.
  8. Symbolic Politics of the State: The Case of In-state Tuition Bills for Undocumented Students

    A symbolic politics approach contends that the meanings policy proposals convey, and the audiences they attract, may matter more than whether they become law. Yet, we know little about the sociopolitical conditions prompting lawmakers to engage in symbolic politics.

  9. The Origins of Race-conscious Affirmative Action in Undergraduate Admissions: A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change in Higher Education

    What explains the rise of race-conscious affirmative action policies in undergraduate admissions? The dominant theory posits that adoption of such policies was precipitated by urban and campus unrest in the North during the late 1960s. Based on primary research in a sample of 17 selective schools, we find limited support for the dominant theory. Affirmative action arose in two distinct waves during the 1960s. A first wave was launched in the early 1960s by northern college administrators inspired by nonviolent civil rights protests in the South.

  10. Does a Flexibility/Support Organizational Initiative Improve High-Tech Employees' Well-Being? Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network

    This study tests a central theoretical assumption of stress process and job strain models, namely that increases in employees’ control and support at work should promote well-being. To do so, we use a group-randomized field trial with longitudinal data from 867 information technology (IT) workers to investigate the well-being effects of STAR, an organizational intervention designed to promote greater employee control over work time and greater supervisor support for workers’ personal lives.