American Sociological Association



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  1. Review Essay: See It with Figures

    The short story is that Kieran Healy’s Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction is a gentle introduction to the effective display of social science data using the R package ggplot2. It is beautifully put together, achingly clear, and effective.
  2. The Geometry of Culture: Analyzing the Meanings of Class through Word Embeddings

    We argue word embedding models are a useful tool for the study of culture using a historical analysis of shared understandings of social class as an empirical case. Word embeddings represent semantic relations between words as relationships between vectors in a high-dimensional space, specifying a relational model of meaning consistent with contemporary theories of culture.
  3. Assessing Differences between Nested and Cross-Classified Hierarchical Models

    Sociological Methodology, Volume 49, Issue 1, Page 220-257, August 2019.
  4. Review Essay: Back to the Future

    In one of my undergraduate courses, I show students a photo of Paul Lazarsfeld and Frank Stanton. Of course, neither social scientist is familiar to them, but I argue to my students that Lazarsfeld had a bigger impact on the daily practice of sociology than any member of the Marx/Weber/Durkheim triumvirate they study in classical theory.

  5. Racial and Other Sociodemographic Disparities in Terrorism Sting Operations

    Previous research suggests a high prevalence of entrapment in post-9/11 terrorism sting operations, but it is unknown whether entrapment abuses are disproportionately targeted at specific racial/ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic groups. Drawing on Black’s theory of law, symbolic threat theory, and research on stereotypes, cognitive biases, and institutional incentives, the authors hypothesize that government agents and informants will use problematic tactics disproportionately against certain marginalized groups.

  6. A General Framework for Comparing Predictions and Marginal Effects across Models

    Many research questions involve comparing predictions or effects across multiple models. For example, it may be of interest whether an independent variable’s effect changes after adding variables to a model. Or, it could be important to compare a variable’s effect on different outcomes or across different types of models. When doing this, marginal effects are a useful method for quantifying effects because they are in the natural metric of the dependent variable and they avoid identification problems when comparing regression coefficients across logit and probit models.
  7. Aggressive Policing and the Educational Performance of Minority Youth

    An increasing number of minority youth experience contact with the criminal justice system. But how does the expansion of police presence in poor urban communities affect educational outcomes? Previous research points at multiple mechanisms with opposing effects. This article presents the first causal evidence of the impact of aggressive policing on minority youths’ educational performance. Under Operation Impact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) saturated high-crime areas with additional police officers with the mission to engage in aggressive, order-maintenance policing.
  8. Being “on Point”: Exploring the Stress-related Experiences of Incarceration

    Prior studies establish a link between incarceration and stress-related health, but relatively little is known about perceived stressors among current and former prisoners. To better understand the stress-related experiences of this population, in-depth interviews were conducted with 25 former inmates in upstate New York and northeast Ohio in 2012 and 2013. Participants were asked about their health during and after prison, with all participants describing aspects of their incarcerations as stressful.
  9. Visualizing Police Exposure by Race, Gender, and Age in New York City

    This figure depicts the disparities in average police stops in New York City from 2004 to 2012, disaggregated by race, gender, and age. Composed of six bar charts, each graph in the figure provides data for a particular population at the intersection of race and gender, focusing on black, white, and Hispanic men and women. Each graph also has a comparative backdrop of the data on police stops for black males.
  10. Textual Spanning: Finding Discursive Holes in Text Networks

    We propose a measure of discursive holes well suited for the unique properties of text networks built from document similarity matrices considered as dense weighted graphs. In this measure, which we call textual spanning, documents similar to documents dissimilar from one another receive a high score, and documents similar to documents similar to one another receive a low score. After offering a simulation-based validation, we test the measure on an empirical document similarity matrix based on a preestimated topic-model probability distribution.