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  1. Cultivating S-P-E-L-L-E-R-S

    Indian-American spellers are known for dominance on the national stage and even host regional, culturally specific bees. How did the niche emerge?

  2. 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.

  3. Tradition and Innovation in Scientists' Research Strategies

    What factors affect a scientist’s choice of research problem? Qualitative research in the history and sociology of science suggests that this choice is patterned by an "essential tension" between productive tradition and risky innovation. We examine this tension through Bourdieu’s field theory of science, and we explore it empirically by analyzing millions of biomedical abstracts from MEDLINE. We represent the evolving state of chemical knowledge with networks extracted from these abstracts. We then develop a typology of research strategies on these networks.

  4. Rage against the Iron Cage: The Varied Effects of Bureaucratic Personnel Reforms on Diversity

    Organization scholars since Max Weber have argued that formal personnel systems can prevent discrimination. We draw on sociological and psychological literatures to develop a theory of the varied effects of bureaucratic reforms on managerial motivation. Drawing on self-perception and cognitive-dissonance theories, we contend that initiatives that engage managers in promoting diversity—special recruitment and training programs—will increase diversity.

  5. Reward Stability Promotes Group Commitment

    A pressing problem for the social sciences is to understand the processes leading to commitment within organizational settings. Toward this end, we argue for the stability of rewards derived from groups as a key dimension of commitment. We present a theory that links reward stability to justice evaluations and corresponding emotional reactions, which in turn predict group commitment. From this theory, we derive several hypotheses, the key one being that justice evaluations and corresponding emotional reactions explain the effect of reward stability on commitment.

  6. Using Identity Processes to Understand Persistent Inequality in Parenting

    Despite growing acceptance of a "new fatherhood" urging fathers to be engaged in family life, men’s relative contributions to housework and child care have remained largely stagnant over the past twenty years. Using data from in-depth interviews, we describe how identity processes may contribute to this persistent inequality in parenting. We propose that the specificity of men’s identity standards for the father role is related to role-relevant behavior, and that the vague expectations many associate with "new fatherhood" both contribute to and result from men’s underinvolvement.

  7. Variation in the Protective Effect of Higher Education against Depression

    Numerous studies document that higher education is associated with a reduced likelihood of depression. The protective effects of higher education, however, are known to vary across population subgroups. This study tests competing theories for who is likely to obtain a greater protective benefit from a college degree against depression through an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and recently developed methods for analyzing heterogeneous treatment effects involving the use of propensity scores.

  8. Where Does Debt Fit in the Stress Process Model?

    This paper contrasts two money-related stressors—debt and economic hardship—and clarifies where debt fits into the stress process model. Debt may be a direct or indirect stressor, as something mediated by psychosocial resources, and may be a potential buffer, interacting with economic hardship. The analyses use data from a two-wave panel study of 1,463 adults. One way debt is distinct from economic hardship is that debt is more common among economically advantaged groups.

  9. 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.

  10. The Habitus and the Critique of the Present: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Bourdieus Social Theory

    I tackle some major criticisms addressed to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus by foregrounding its affinities with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of rule-following. To this end, I first clarify the character of the habitus as a theoretical device, and then elucidate what features of Wittgenstein’s analysis Bourdieu found of interest from a methodological viewpoint. To vindicate this reading, I contend that Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following was meant to unearth the internal connection between rules and the performative activities whereby rules are brought into life.