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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. 2015 Presidential Address: Sometimes the Social Becomes Personal: Gender, Class, and Sexualities

    All sociologists recognize that social constraints affect individuals’ outcomes. These effects are sometimes relatively direct. Other times constraints affect outcomes indirectly, first influencing individuals’ personal characteristics, which then affect their outcomes. In the latter case, the social becomes personal, and personal characteristics that are carried across situations (e.g., skills, habits, identities, worldviews, preferences, or values) affect individuals’ outcomes. I argue here for the importance of both direct and indirect effects of constraints on outcomes.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.
  10. 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.