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  1. Consuming Mexican Labor: From the Bracero Program to NAFTA

    That, historically, capital accumulation has required a supply of cheap, flexible labor is one of the most well-documented and widely accepted empirical findings in social science.

  2. Protests with Many Participants and Unified Message Most Likely to Influence Politicians, Study Suggests

    Protests that bring many people to the streets who agree among themselves and have a single message are most likely to influence elected officials, suggests a new study.

    “We found that features of a protest can alter the calculations of politicians and how they view an issue,” said Ruud Wouters, an assistant professor of political communication and journalism at the University of Amsterdam and the lead author of the study. “More specifically, the number of participants and unity are the characteristics of a protest that have the greatest ability to change politicians’ opinions.”

  3. Safety pins, awareness ribbons, and the challenges of new symbols

    For many Americans, safety pins have suddenly appeared everywhere: Pinned to shirts, posted to Facebook, or worn by celebrities. When I started wearing one a handful of strangers asked “what the heck are these safety pins all about?” This is the challenge of new symbols. Before they can work people need to know what they mean.

  4. Review Essays: Bully Nation and Our Current Predicament

    The publication of Bully Nation in 2016 could not have been more timely. Its release came as the United States witnessed acts of domestic terrorism and mass shootings, a rash of video-recorded police killings of unarmed African American men, and the successful presidential bid of a candidate whose campaign engaged in unprecedented acts of intimidation and personal abuse of political rivals, including threats of incarceration and political assassination of his opponent in the general election.
  5. Saving Children, Controlling Families: Punishment, Redistribution, and Child Protection

    This study shows that state efforts at child protection are structured by the policy regimes in which they are enmeshed. Using administrative data on child protection, criminal justice, and social welfare interventions, I show that children are separated from their families and placed into foster care far more frequently in states with extensive and punitive criminal justice systems than in states with broad and generous welfare programs.
  6. Costly Punishment Increases Prosocial Punishment by Designated Punishers: Power and Legitimacy in Public Goods Games

    A classic problem in the literature on authority is that those with the power to enforce cooperation and proper norms of conduct can also abuse or misuse their power. The present research tested the argument that concerns about legitimacy can help regulate the use of power to punish by invoking a sense of what is morally right or socially proper for power-holders.
  7. Desperation and Service in the Bail Industry

    by Joshua Page, Spring 2017 Contexts

  8. Review Essays: Sociology’s Messy Eating: Food, Consumer Choice, and Social Change

    In 2002, the historian Warren Belasco remarked that while “food is important . . . food scholars may still evoke a sense of surprise” (Belasco 2002, pp. 2, 5). The sociological importance of food should be obvious: one need not be a Marxist to recognize that food production forms an essential infrastructure for other sorts of social activities, nor a Weberian to perceive the role of eating in status and social closure. And yet, at the time of Belasco’s writing, identifying one’s primary research area as “food” to colleagues at an ASA meeting could evoke a cocked eyebrow and an awkward pause.
  9. Review Essays: Mass Incarceration and Its Discontents

    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).