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  1. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers' Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  2. Unburdening Stigma: Identity Repair through Rituals in Mental Health Court

    A growing trend in the criminal justice system is the move toward problem-solving courts, including mental health courts. Using case studies of two mental health courts in a West Coast city, this article seeks to explore how mental health courts may operate by reducing stigma among clients. From observations of the court process in mental health courts and qualitative interviews with mental health court professional staff and mental health court clients, ritual process emerged as a powerful theme that underscores the management of social stigma.

  3. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.

  4. Gaps in White, Black, and Hispanic Violence

    Despite significant public, political, and media attention to the issue of criminal violence in the United States, we know surprisingly little about the trends in violent crime for different racial/ethnic groups in recent decades. For example, what are the disparities in homicide between whites, African Americans, and Hispanics? Have these disparities changed over the past 20 years? If so, why? This lack of knowledge is largely due to data limitations, as ethnic identifiers are rarely collected in many official crime statistics.

  5. Michael Burawoy on “Sociology as a Vocation”

    “What does it mean to live for sociology, today?” Michael Burawoy asks in his timely essay, “Sociology as a Vocation.”  Drawing on insights from Max Weber’s classic lectures on science and politics, Burawoy argues that sociology is uniquely positioned to reinvigorate civil society and the university in the face of the relentless growth of marketization across the globe.

    —Michael Sauder, editor, Contemporary Sociology

     

    Sociology as a Vocation

    Michael Burawoy

  6. Supporting Policy through Social Science

    The American Sociological Association (ASA) recently played a key role in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2016 ruling in the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The judgement allowed the university to continue using race as a factor in admissions decisions.

    “Scientific research shows that having a diverse student body leads to a number of educational benefits, including a decline in prejudice, improvements in students’ cognitive skills and self-confidence, and better classroom environments,” said ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman.

  7. Doing Sociology: Christopher Dum

    ASA speaks with sociologist Christopher Dum at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Dum talks about what it means to “do sociology,” how he uses sociology in his work, highlights of his work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and his advice to students interested in entering the field. 

  8. Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

    High-profile cases of police violence—disproportionately experienced by black men—may present a serious threat to public safety if they lower citizen crime reporting. Using an interrupted time series design, this study analyzes how one of Milwaukee’s most publicized cases of police violence against an unarmed black man, the beating of Frank Jude, affected police-related 911 calls.

  9. ASA Task Force Issues Report on Evaluating Public Communication in Tenure and Promotion

    Washington, DC — Increasingly, social scientists use multiple forms of communication to engage broader audiences with their research and contribute to solutions of the pressing problems of our time. Yet, in academia, it is unclear whether these efforts to communicate with the public should count when colleges and universities are evaluating scholars.

  10. Review Essays: The Black Child-Savers, Criminal Justice Discretion, and the Ghost of George Stinney, Jr.

    Jeffery T. Ulmer reviews The Black Child-Savers: Racial Democracy and Juvenile Justice, by Geoff K. Ward.