American Sociological Association

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  1. Field of Study in College and Lifetime Earnings in the United States

    Our understanding about the relationship between education and lifetime earnings often neglects differences by field of study. Utilizing data that match respondents in the Survey of Income and Program Participation to their longitudinal earnings records based on administrative tax information, we investigate the trajectories of annual earnings following the same individuals over 20 years and then estimate the long-term effects of field of study on earnings for U.S. men and women. Our results provide new evidence revealing large lifetime earnings gaps across fields of study.

  2. Secondary Education Systems and the General Skills of Less- and Intermediate-educated Adults: A Comparison of 18 Countries

    We investigate the impact of external differentiation and vocational orientation of (lower and upper) secondary education on country variation in the mean numeracy skills of, and skills gaps between, adults with low and intermediate formal qualifications. We use data on 30- to 44-year-olds in 18 countries from the 2011–12 round of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. We find that higher levels of external differentiation (tracking) amplify skills gaps between less- and intermediate-educated adults.

  3. Trusting Each Other: Student-Counselor Relationships in Diverse High Schools

    Many minority, first-generation, and low-income students aspire to college; however, the college application process can present a significant obstacle. These students cannot always rely on their parents for college information and must instead turn to their high schools, where counselors are in a key position.

  4. A Critical and Comprehensive Sociological Theory of Race and Racism

    This article contests the contention that sociology lacks a sound theoretical approach to the study of race and racism, instead arguing that a comprehensive and critical sociological theory of race and racism exists. This article outlines this theory of race and racism, drawing from the work of key scholars in and around the field.

  5. Class, Race, and the Incorporation of Latinos/as: Testing the Stratified Ethnoracial Incorporation Approach

    This paper analyzes the patterns of incorporation of Latino/a immigrant generations into the American class structure. For that purpose, we use Current Population Survey data to construct a model of the American class structure and analyze the position of different Latino/a generations within that class structure. Our analysis reveals a complex picture that combines some intergenerational improvement and pervasive inequality. We find that the children of immigrants enter a racialized class system that features stable patterns of between- and within-ethnoracial-group inequality.

  6. The Persistence of Division: Geography, Institutions, and Online Friendship Ties

    As noted by theorists such as Blau, Durkheim, Mayhew, and others, interaction opportunity is a fundamental determinant of social structure. One of the most empirically well established factors influencing interaction opportunity is that of physical distance. The strength of this effect in modern societies, however, has been called into question because of technological advances (the so-called death-of-distance hypothesis).
  7. 2012 Presidential Address: Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias

    This address explores a broad framework for thinking sociologically about emancipatory alternatives to dominant institutions and social structures, especially capitalism. The framework is grounded in two foundational propositions: (1) Many forms of human suffering and many deficits in human flourishing are the result of existing institutions and social structures. (2) Transforming existing institutions and social structures in the right way has the potential to substantially reduce human suffering and expand the possibilities for human flourishing.

  8. 2014 Presidential Address: Cultural Knowledge and Social Inequality

    Using both qualitative longitudinal data collected 20 years after the original Unequal Childhoodsstudy and interview data from a study of upwardly mobile adults, this address demonstrates how cultural knowledge matters when white and African American young adults of differing class backgrounds navigate key institutions. I find that middle-class young adults had more knowledge than their working-class or poor counterparts of the “rules of the game” regarding how institutions worked. They also displayed more of a sense of entitlement to ask for help.

  9. Theorizing Teacher Agency and Reform: How Institutionalized Instructional Practices Change and Persist

    One reason reform does not dramatically change public schools is because instructional practices are highly institutionalized. This article advances a theory for how teacher agency can both change and maintain institutionalized instructional practices in schools. Based on findings from one U.S. urban public school undergoing state-mandated reform, I assert that three mechanisms drive a particular form of teacher agency.