ASA speaks with sociologist Dustin Kidd at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Kidd 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.
Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.
My impression of Marx’s understanding of theory and praxis is that the transition from capitalism to socialism is contingent on the historical circumstances at any given point in time. The logic of capital creates certain preconditions that set the stage for the transition, but the transition is by no means guaranteed to unfold, or unfold in a clearly predictable manner. One of the preconditions is the concentration of capital into the hands of few and the general tendency toward increasing relative poverty of workers.
When journalists elicit opinion and policy pronouncements from politicians, this engages a two-dimensional struggle over (1) where the politician stands on the issue in question and (2) the legitimacy of that position. Using data drawn from broadcast news interviews and news conferences, this paper anatomizes the key features of political positioning questions and their responses, and documents a tension surrounding relatively marginal or extreme views that tend to be treated cautiously by politicians but are pursued vigorously by journalists.
How can an organization help participants increase their social capital? Using data from an ethnographic study of Launch, an organization that prepares low-income students of color to attend elite boarding schools, I analyze how the organization’s structures not only generate social ties among students but also stratify those ties horizontally and vertically, thereby connecting students to a set of social contacts who occupy a range of hierarchical positions and who are able to provide access to resources that are beneficial in different contexts and at different times.
The contours of mass incarceration are, by now, broadly familiar. The U.S. incarceration rate began an unprecedented ascent in the 1970s. This trend continued through 2007, when 760 of every 100,000 U.S. residents—nearly 1 in 100 adults—lived behind bars, five million others were on probation or parole, more than ten million were booked into jail, and nearly one in three U.S. residents had a criminal record (Kaeble and Glaze 2016, Table 4; PEW Center on the States 2008; Sabol 2014; Subramanian et al. 2016).
In a review of Lisa Wade’s American Hookup (W.W. Norton, 2017), sexuality scholar and former American Sociological Association president Paula England discusses the author’s use of original research and data from England’s studies to engage the particularities of heterosexual hookups on American college campuses.