American Sociological Association

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  1. On the Ambivalence of the Aphorism in Sociological Theory

    Sociologists have long been taken by certain pithy expressions from the founders of the discipline. We propose here both a new explanation for the endurance of these statements as well as an analysis of the power, limitations, and possibilities of aphorisms. By drawing from the critical scholarship concerned with aphorisms, we demonstrate that some of the allure of the classical sociological texts derives from their form, and particularly their reliance on the relative autonomy of the aphorism.
  2. Review Essay: Combating Labor Precarity Is Hard Work

    “All that is solid melts into air,” wrote Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, at a time when labor was becoming increasingly precarious. The experience of workplace precarity and the broader feeling of insecurity it engenders are certainly not new; they are as old as capitalism. Even so, precarious labor as a concept is enjoying quite a boom these days.
  3. A City for Itself: A Peripheral Mixed City's Struggle for Cultural Capital

    Based on the case study of a Fringe theatre festival in a peripheral city in Israel, this article identifies and analyzes a moment of change in power relations between a peripheral city and the country's central city. It offers an alternative perspective to urban discourse, which analyzes art projects in peripheral cities as duplicating colonial relations. We adapted the Marxist concept of a class in itself and a class for itself, from the socioeconomic realm to the urban realm, by using Bourdieu's field theory as a link between the sociology of art and the urban realm.

  4. The Coming Divorce Decline

    This article analyzes U.S. divorce trends over the past decade and considers their implications for future divorce rates. Modeling women’s odds of divorce from 2008 to 2017 using marital events data from the American Community Survey, I find falling divorce rates with or without adjustment for demographic covariates. Age-specific divorce rates show that the trend is driven by younger women, which is consistent with longer term trends showing uniquely high divorce rates among people born in the Baby Boom period.
  5. Essay: Sociology's New Steps?

    It was the devastating problems linked to the dramatic shift from farm to factory during the nineteenth century that fueled sociology’s origins, whether we turn to Comte, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, or Simmel. Building on the eighteenth-century Enlightenment spirit of the power of reason and freedom as well as the triumphs of the biophysical sciences, they envisaged a powerful science of human behavior that could solve those problems.

  6. Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

    At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits.
  7. Sociology, Demography, and Economics Presidential Ages and Sex over Time

    I provide a visualization of presidential ages and gender over time for three academic associations: the American Sociological Association (ASA), the Population Association of America (PAA), and the American Economic Association (AEA). The figure reveals important trends in the twentieth century concerning (1) the continued aging of association presidents, (2) the relatively recent increasing gender parity in association presidents of ASA and PAA but not AEA, and (3) the sharp increase in PAA presidential ages beginning near the turn of the twenty-first century.
  8. Consequences of Routine Work-Schedule Instability for Worker Health and Well-Being

    Research on precarious work and its consequences overwhelmingly focuses on the economic dimension of precarity, epitomized by low wages. But the rise in precarious work also involves a major shift in its temporal dimension, such that many workers now experience routine instability in their work schedules. This temporal instability represents a fundamental and under-appreciated manifestation of the risk shift from firms to workers. A lack of suitable existing data, however, has precluded investigation of how precarious scheduling practices affect workers’ health and well-being.
  9. The Organization of Neglect: Limited Liability Companies and Housing Disinvestment

    Sociological accounts of urban disinvestment processes rarely assess how landlords’ variable investment strategies may be facilitated or constrained by the legal environment. Nor do they typically examine how such factors might, in turn, affect housing conditions for city dwellers. Over the past two decades, the advent and diffusion of the limited liability company (LLC) has reshaped the legal landscape of rental ownership. Increasingly, rental properties are owned by business organizations that limit investor liability, rather than by individual landlords who own property in their own names.
  10. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

    Stanley Cohen revisits Foucault's _Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison_.