American Sociological Association

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Choice, Information, and Constrained Options: School Transfers in a Stratified Educational System

    It is well known that family socioeconomic background influences childhood access to opportunities. Educational reforms that introduce new information about school quality may lead to increased inequality if families with more resources are better able to respond. However, these policies can also level the playing field for choice by equalizing disadvantaged families’ access to information. This study assesses how a novel accountability system affected family enrollment decisions in the Chicago Public Schools by introducing new test performance information and consequences.

  4. The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

    The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

  5. Managed Informality: Regulating Street Vendors in Bangkok

    The article focuses on the relationship between street vendors and local authorities in Bangkok. We examine the goals, the means, and the effects of everyday regulation of street vending. We document how the district administration produces and maintains informality by creating a parallel set of rules where street vendors enjoy negligible rents and little competition. We provide detailed empirical evidence on earnings, rents, fines, and rules regarding commercial real estate.

  6. The Dynamics of Neighborhood Structural Conditions: The Effects of Concentrated Disadvantage on Homicide over Time and Space

    Several recent spatial analyses conclude the strong positive association typically found between neighborhood concentrated disadvantage and crime in cross-sectional studies significantly differs across neighborhoods. It is possible this spatial variation is due to within-neighborhood dynamics of continuity and change, as suggested by ecological theories of neighborhood crime.

  7. The Age-Graded Nature of Advice: Distributional Patterns and Implications for Life Meaning

    Drawing from life course, social networks, and developmental social psychology scholarship, this article considers how advice transmission varies across age groups and examines the age-contingent associations between advice-giving and life meaning. Binomial and ordered logistic regression using the 2006 Portraits of American Life Study (n = 2,583) reveal that adults in their twenties are most likely to report offering advice to multiple social targets.

  8. Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? Neighborhood Age Composition and Age Discrimination

    Age discrimination is pervasive in the United States, yet little is known about the social contexts in which it occurs. Older persons spend much of their time in their neighborhoods, where a density of other older persons may protect against age discrimination. Extending group density theory to age, we analyze data from 1,561 older adults from the second wave of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, using neighborhood-level data from the 2010 U.S. census.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.