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  1. Microscopic Hair Comparison and the Sociology of Science

    Flawed forensics and overstated claims make scientific evidence tricky at trial.

  2. What Does It Mean to Span Cultural Boundaries? Variety and Atypicality in Cultural Consumption

    We propose a synthesis of two lines of sociological research on boundary spanning in cultural production and consumption. One, research on cultural omnivorousness, analyzes choice by heterogeneous audiences facing an array of crisp cultural offerings. The other, research on categories in markets, analyzes reactions by homogeneous audiences to objects that vary in the degree to which they conform to categorical codes. We develop a model of heterogeneous audiences evaluating objects that vary in typicality.

  3. Interreligious Contact, Perceived Group Threat, and Perceived Discrimination: Predicting Negative Attitudes among Religious Minorities and Majorities in Indonesia

    This study examines the relationship between interreligious contact and negative attitudes toward the religious outgroup among minority Christians and majority Muslims in Indonesia. It answers two research questions: Does interreligious contact reduce negative outgroup attitudes equally for minority Christians and majority Muslims? Are mediation by perceived group threat and moderation by perceived discrimination equally important for religious minorities and majorities?

  4. The Social Imagination of Homosexuality and the Rise of Same-sex Marriage in the United States

    The author argues that the increase in support for same-sex marriage in the United States must be interpreted in light of the changing social imagination of homosexuality. The author measures the social imagination at the micro level by comparing the frequencies and semantic contexts in which two cohorts use metaphors and analogies to talk about same-sex marriage. Younger informants articulate them in ways that characterize homosexuality as identity, whereas older informants characterize homosexuality as behavior.
  5. 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.

  6. Why Worry about Evolution? Boundaries, Practices, and Moral Salience in Sunni and Evangelical High Schools

    Previous work on conservative Protestant creationism fails to account for other creationists who are much less morally invested in opposition to evolution, raising the sociological question: What causes issues’ moral salience? Through ethnographic fieldwork in four creationist high schools in the New York City area (two Sunni Muslim and two conservative Protestant), I argue that evolution is more important to the Christian schools because it is dissonant with their key practices and boundaries.

  7. Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings

    Contemporary social research often has located religion’s public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people’s religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context.

  8. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  9. All That Is Solid: Bench-Building at the Frontiers of Two Experimental Sciences

    The belief that natural sciences are more scientific than the social sciences has been well documented in the perceptions of both lay and scientific populations. Influenced by the Kuhnian concept of "paradigm development" and empirical studies on the closure of scientific controversies, scholars from divergent traditions associate scientific development with increased consensus and stability. However, both the macro/quantitative and micro/qualitative approaches are limited in key ways.

  10. Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States

    Using General Social Survey data, we examine perspectives on science and religion in the United States. Latent class analysis reveals three groups based on knowledge and attitudes about science, religiosity, and preferences for certain religious interpretations of the world. The traditional perspective (43 percent) is marked by a preference for religion compared to science; the modern perspective (36 percent) holds the opposite view. A third perspective, which we call post-secular (21 percent), views both science and religion favorably.