American Sociological Association

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  1. Fuck Nuance

    Nuance is not a virtue of good sociological theory. Although often demanded and superficially attractive, nuance inhibits the abstraction on which good theory depends. I describe three “nuance traps” common in sociology and show why they should be avoided on grounds of principle, aesthetics, and strategy. The argument is made without prejudice to the substantive heterogeneity of the discipline.
  2. What is Critical Realism? And Why Should You Care?

    Critical realism (CR) is a philosophical system developed by the Indo-British philosopher, Roy Bhaskar, in collaboration with a number of British social theorists, including Margaret Archer, Mervyn Hartwig, Tony Lawson, Alan Norrie, and Andrew Sayer. It has a journal, a book series, an association, an annual meeting and, in short, all the usual trappings of an intellectual movement. The movement is centered in the UK but has followers throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Antipodes.

  3. Featured Essay: The Arrival of Social Science Genomics

    “The genetics revolution may be well underway,” write Dalton Conley and Jason Fletcher in The Genome Factor, “but the social genomics revolution is just getting started” (p. 11). They are not alone in their excitement for recent developments bringing together social science and genetic research. Decades from now, folks may well look back at this time as the start of a golden age for the field.
  4. Beyond Social Contagion: Associative Diffusion and the Emergence of Cultural Variation

    Network models of diffusion predominantly think about cultural variation as a product of social contagion. But culture does not spread like a virus. We propose an alternative explanation we call associative diffusion. Drawing on two insights from research in cognition—that meaning inheres in cognitive associations between concepts, and that perceived associations constrain people’s actions—we introduce a model in which, rather than beliefs or behaviors, the things being transmitted between individuals are perceptions about what beliefs or behaviors are compatible with one another.
  5. The Role of Social Media in Collective Processes of Place Making: A Study of Two Neighborhood Blogs in Amsterdam

    The wide use of social media has facilitated new social practices that influence place meaning. This paper uses a double case study of two neighborhood blogs in gentrifying communities, to explore the role of social media in sharing place associations and community formation. Drawing on Collins’ theory of interaction ritual chains, this research project investigates how the intertwining of online and offline interaction around the blogs creates interaction chains whereby the place associations of participants in the blog become more aligned, creating an alternative place narrative.

  6. Identifying the Urban: Resident Perceptions of Community Character and Local Institutions in Eight Metropolitan Areas

    What does the term “urban” signify as a descriptor of contemporary communities in the United States? We investigate this question using data from the Soul of the Community survey, examining how people within eight metropolitan areas characterize their communities. A substantial disjunction exists between where within their regions respondents live and how they describe those areas.

  7. Gendering Residential Space: From Squatter and Slum Housing to the Apartment Estates in Turkish Renewal Projects

    This article argues for the need to understand gendered dimensions of space in a contextualized way. It investigates residential space in three different types of housing settings of the poor, namely, a peripheral squatter neighborhood coded by rurality, a central slum neighborhood coded by criminality, and the housing estates in squatter/slum renewal projects coded by middle‐class urbanity.

  8. Neighborhoods as Arenas of Conflict in the Neoliberal City: Practices of Boundary Making Between “Us” and “Them”

    This paper is concerned with processes of place making among middle class residents in Santiago de Chile, and focuses on the ways in which neighborhood groups seek to receive heritage status for their areas of residence, as a way to contest the demolition of houses in order to build high‐rise buildings. I focus on the tensions inherent in reconciling a critical view of neoliberal residential politics with a securing of their individual or family class position.

  9. Gentrification, Race, and Ethnicity: Towards a Global Research Agenda?

    “And it's not just Fort Greene, it's not just Harlem. When I was growing up, D.C. used to be called Chocolate City. Now it's Vanilla Swirl! I used to go to London, hang out in Brixton. No more black people in Brixton. So gentrification, this thing is not just this borough, this city, this country, it's happening all over the world.” (Lee 2014, http://flavorwire.com/newswire/spike-lee-we-predicted-gentrification)

  10. Gentrification in Three Paradoxes

    As recently as 2006, students walked into the first day of my urban sociology course at Brooklyn College without knowing the term “gentrification.” Within a few years, however, even students who lived in neighborhoods that seemed unlikely candidates were claiming that their area was undergoing this transformation. Many point to new residents who are close to their age but visibly different: artists, students, or “hipsters” living on their own rather than with their families, and mostly white.