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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  5. Study Finds Couples’ Division of Paid and Unpaid Labor Linked to Risk of Divorce

    A new study suggests that financial factors, including couples’ overall resources and wives’ ability to support themselves in the event of a divorce, are not predictive of whether marriages last. Rather, it is couples’ division of labor — paid and unpaid — that is associated with the risk of divorce.     

  6. 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.

  7. 9/11 Merged U.S. Immigration and Terrorism Efforts at Latinos’ Expense, Study Finds

    After September 11, issues of immigration and terrorism merged, heightening surveillance and racializing Latino immigrants as a threat to national security, according to sociologists at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin).

  8. Does Owning a Well Foster Environmental Citizenship? A New Study Provides Evidence

    Kansans who own water wells show more awareness of state water policy issues than those who rely on municipal water supplies, according to a study that could have implications for groundwater management and environmental policies. 

    Brock Ternes, a University of Kansas doctoral student in sociology, found that well owners prioritized issues related to the depletion of the High Plains Aquifer — which is the underground reservoir of freshwater beneath much of the western half of the state. 

  9. Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

    High-profile cases of police violence—disproportionately experienced by black men—may present a serious threat to public safety if they lower citizen crime reporting. Using an interrupted time series design, this study analyzes how one of Milwaukee’s most publicized cases of police violence against an unarmed black man, the beating of Frank Jude, affected police-related 911 calls.

  10. The Racism-Race Reification Process: A Mesolevel Political Economic Framework for Understanding Racial Health Disparities

    The author makes the argument that many racial disparities in health are rooted in political economic processes that undergird racial residential segregation at the mesolevel—specifically, the neighborhood. The dual mortgage market is considered a key political economic context whereby racially marginalized people are isolated into degenerative ecological environments.