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  1. From “Ridiculous” to “Glad to Have Helped”: Debriefing News Delivery and Improved Reactions to Science in Milgram’s “Obedience” Experiments

    Commentators on Milgram’s classic and controversial experiments agree that better integration of theories of “obedience to authority” with current archival research on participants’ viewpoints is essential in explaining compliance. Using conversation analysis, we examine an archived data source that is largely overlooked by the Milgram literature, yet crucial for understanding the interactional organization of participants’ displayed perspectives. In hundreds of interviews conducted immediately after each experiment, participants received one of two types of debriefing: deceptive or full.
  2. Definitions and the Development of Theory in Social Psychology

    Formal definitions specify what is necessary and sufficient for the identification of a particular term. These formal definitions use precise language and do not admit contradictions; they are exact class. There are multiple advantages of exact class definitions. They enable us to confidently use deductive arguments so we can ensure that the terms in the premises match the terms in the conclusion. They prevent sloppiness and circularity of logic. They also help us look beyond common sense or what we think we already know.
  3. The Cultural-Cognitive Mapping of Scientific Professions

    Even with widespread interest, public perceptions of science remain understudied and poorly theorized by social scientists. A central issue has been the persistent assumption that publics require a base of scientific knowledge for science to have broad cultural meaning. Yet, recent advances in cultural and cognitive sociology point to alternative research programs seeking to identify how publics come to understand complex and uncertain issues, when information is incomplete and asymmetric.
  4. The Anti-oppressive Value of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality in Social Movement Study

    Social movements can be important mechanisms of social change for vulnerable populations as the formal mechanisms of policy and legislation tend to be in the hands of the powerful in society. Academic scholarship can play an important role in challenging or reinforcing social power dynamics. This reality makes it important to critically interrogate social movement knowledge production and use anti-oppressive frameworks for social movement scholarship.
  5. Between Situations: Anticipation, Rhythms, and the Theory of Interaction

    This article pushes interactionist sociology forward. It does so by drawing out the implications of a simple idea, that to understand the situation—the mise en scene of interactionist theory—we must understand it in relation not only to past-induced habits of thought and action but to future situations anticipated in interaction. Focusing especially on the rhythmic nature of situations, the paper then argues that such a recalibration both unsettles core tenets of interactionism and helps solve some problems in the sociology of culture.
  6. The Structure of Comparison in the Study of Revolution

    The social scientific study of revolution has been deviled by a lack of progress in recent years, divided between competing views on the universality of patterns in revolution. This study examines the origins of these epistemologies. Drawing on an insight that different modes of comparison yield different types of knowledge, I argue that the network structure of how cases are compared constrains or enables the development of a field’s theoretical sensibilities.
  7. How to Read The Wealth of Nations (or Why the Division of Labor Is More Important Than Competition in Adam Smith)

    This article challenges the idea that competition was central to Adam Smith’s thinking by scrutinizing the concept’s role in Smith’s work, particularly The Wealth of Nations. We will understand Smith’s perspective better if we avoid reading later developments of the concept, particularly in economics, back into Smith’s times and writings. Conversely, I argue that the division of labor is the governing idea providing the basic organizational structure of Wealth of Nations.
  8. Education, Smoking, and Cohort Change: Forwarding a Multidimensional Theory of the Environmental Moderation of Genetic Effects

    Sociologists interested in the effects of genes on complex social outcomes claim environmental conditions structure when and how genes matter, but they have only studied environmental moderation of genetic effects on single traits at a time (gene-by-environment interactions). In this article, we propose that the social environment can also transform the genetic link between two traits.
  9. Status Threat, Material Interests, and the 2016 Presidential Vote

    The April 2018 article of Diana Mutz “Status Threat, Not Economic Hardship, Explains the 2016 Presidential Vote,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and contradicts prior sociological research on the 2016 election. Mutz’s article received widespread media coverage because of the strength of its primary conclusion, declaimed in its title. The present article is a critical reanalysis of the models offered by Mutz, using the data files released along with her article.
  10. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).