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  1. The Hazards of Expert Control: Chief Risk Officers and Risky Derivatives

    American Sociological Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, Page 511-541, June 2017.
    Abstract
  2. Less Theory. More Description.

    Sociology must worry less about theoretical innovation and more about empirical description.
  3. Shadow Plays: Theory’s Perennial Challenges

    This article argues that theory holds its ground when it confronts itself with the empirics of its claims and this confrontation is geared to the project of increasing analytical specificity. This means (1) shedding as much light as possible on the very process whereby a type of outcome gets generated or takes shape and (2) identifying the factors that condition the likelihood of this process. From this perspective, sound theorizing is predicated on both empirical grounding and analytical specificity.
  4. Puzzling in Sociology: On Doing and Undoing Theoretical Puzzles

    One typical way to motivate a sociological argument is to present the research question as a puzzle. Unlike in physical sciences, sociologists work backward to construct theoretical puzzles from their data. Sociologists risk puzzling for puzzles’ sake, and in so doing, they reify categories and concepts that are not necessary or useful to their empirical material at hand. This essay examines mostly qualitative sociologists’ conventions for puzzling and suggests alternatives rooted in thick description of empirics.
  5. Review Essays: A Brilliant Work in General Theory

    Richard Swedberg reviews Processual Sociology by Andrew Abbot.
  6. Climate Misinformation Campaigns and Public Sociology

    Contexts, Volume 16, Issue 1, Page 78-79, Winter 2016.
  7. Changing the World, One Website at a Time

    Mark Rank on a project to help everyday Americans see their risk of poverty.

  8. Working at the Intersection of Race and Public Policy: The Promise (and Perils) of Putting Research to Work for Societal Transformation

    Today, race and ethnicity scholars generate a wealth of important research that documents the parameters of racial and/or ethnic inequality, how such inequality persists, and how it relates to, or intersects with, other dimensions of social life. Here we argue that these scholars should devote their abundant intellectual energies not only to illuminating the parameters and causes of racial injustice but also to producing work that might shift popular understandings and stimulate change.

  9. Romancing the Data

    A review of Aziz Ansari and Erik Klinenberg’s Modern Romance.

  10. On the Weak Mortality Returns of the Prison Boom: Comparing Infant Mortality and Homicide in the Incarceration Ledger

    The justifications for the dramatic expansion of the prison population in recent decades have focused on public safety. Prior research on the efficacy of incarceration offers support for such claims, suggesting that increased incarceration saves lives by reducing the prevalence of homicide. We challenge this view by arguing that the effects of mass incarceration include collateral infant mortality consequences that call into question the number of lives saved through increased imprisonment.