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  1. Internal Wars, Taxation, and State Building

    This article addresses the question of whether and how internal wars can lead to state building. I offer a new conceptual framework for understanding the varied effects of internal conflict on state capacity, as measured through taxation. Contrary to the general scholarly consensus that internal wars make states fail, I hypothesize that like external wars, internal wars can lead to increased taxation when they enhance solidarity toward the state among the elite and motivate the state to strengthen and territorially expand the tax administration.

  2. A Paper Ceiling: Explaining the Persistent Underrepresentation of Women in Printed News

    In the early twenty-first century, women continue to receive substantially less media coverage than men, despite women’s much increased participation in public life. Media scholars argue that actors in news organizations skew news coverage in favor of men and male-related topics. However, no previous study has systematically examined whether such media bias exists beyond gender ratio imbalances in coverage that merely mirror societal-level structural and occupational gender inequalities.

  3. How National Institutions Mediate the Global: Screen Translation, Institutional Interdependencies, and the Production of National Difference in Four European Countries

    How do national institutional contexts mediate the global? This article aims to answer this question by analyzing screen translation—the translation of audiovisual materials like movies and television programs—in four European countries: France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland. A cross-national, multi-method research project combining interviews, ethnography, and a small survey found considerable cross-national differences in translation norms and practices, sometimes leading to very different translated versions of the same product.

  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. The Public Life of Secrets: Deception, Disclosure, and Discursive Framing in the Policy Process

    While secrecy enables policy makers to escape public scrutiny, leaks of classified information reveal the social construction of reality by the state. I develop a theory that explains how leaks shape the discursive frames states create to communicate the causes of social problems to the public and corresponding solutions to redress them. Synthesizing cultural sociology, symbolic interactionism, and ethnomethodology, I argue that leaks enable non–state actors to amplify contradictions between the public and secret behavior of the state.

  6. Individualism as a Discursive Strategy of Action: Autonomy, Agency, and Reflexivity among Religious Americans

    This paper reconceptualizes "individualism" as a discursive strategy of action through which everyday Americans attempt to manage the cultural dilemma of engaging in externally imposed social obligations within a broader individualistic culture.

  7. Critique of Glenn on Settler Colonialism and Bonilla-Silva on Critical Race Analysis from Indigenous Perspectives

    I critique Glenn’s article on settler colonialism and Bonilla-Silva’s article on critical race analysis from Indigenous perspectives, including racial genocide and world-systems analysis, to cover five centuries of global systemic racism during the conquest of the Americas, by Spanish and English colonizers and United States imperialism. I also propose macro-structural, comparative-historical analysis of racism including the destruction, resistance, and revitalization of Native Nations and American Indians.

  8. Caring for Them Like Family: How Structure and Culture Simultaneously Influence Contemporary African American Middle- and Upper-Middle-Class Mothers Kin and Community Child Care Choices

    Scholars examining kin and community care have often sought to identify the relative importance of structural and cultural factors on the use and availability of these networks, but research has yielded unclear results in the case of child care. Cultural theories focus on how values, beliefs, and practices lead to differences in kin and community care; structural theories focus on how educational attainment, income, inherited power or inequality, and family structure lead to such differences.

  9. 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.

  10. 2012 Presidential Address: Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias

    This address explores a broad framework for thinking sociologically about emancipatory alternatives to dominant institutions and social structures, especially capitalism. The framework is grounded in two foundational propositions: (1) Many forms of human suffering and many deficits in human flourishing are the result of existing institutions and social structures. (2) Transforming existing institutions and social structures in the right way has the potential to substantially reduce human suffering and expand the possibilities for human flourishing.