American Sociological Association

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  1. Community Sense: The Cohesive Power of Aesthetic Judgment

    Sociologists have undertheorized the role of aesthetic judgment in group identification. The author argues that the communication of aesthetic judgments in face-to-face interaction powerfully works to confirm or deny feelings of group belonging. The author introduces the concept of "community sense," the public face of shared aesthetic judgments that is communicated and upheld within a group. The author illustrates this concept through an ethnographic case study of an erotic arts club, a group predicated on achieving a shared sense of "good" and "bad" taste.

  2. The Habitus and the Critique of the Present: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Bourdieus Social Theory

    I tackle some major criticisms addressed to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus by foregrounding its affinities with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of rule-following. To this end, I first clarify the character of the habitus as a theoretical device, and then elucidate what features of Wittgenstein’s analysis Bourdieu found of interest from a methodological viewpoint. To vindicate this reading, I contend that Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following was meant to unearth the internal connection between rules and the performative activities whereby rules are brought into life.

  3. The Onset of Ethnic War: A General Theory

    This article develops a general theory regarding the onset of ethnic war, starting with two analytic innovations: a mechanism-based approach toward social facts and an emphasis on dynamic interactions. I deploy two meta-mechanisms – the security dilemma/spiral model and intergroup-intragroup interactions – as meta-synthesizers. I then bring together the numerous factors and mechanisms scattered in the literature into a more integrative and dynamic theory of ethnic war by linking factors with immediate drivers of conflictual behavior via the two meta-mechanisms.

  4. The Public Life of Secrets: Deception, Disclosure, and Discursive Framing in the Policy Process

    While secrecy enables policy makers to escape public scrutiny, leaks of classified information reveal the social construction of reality by the state. I develop a theory that explains how leaks shape the discursive frames states create to communicate the causes of social problems to the public and corresponding solutions to redress them. Synthesizing cultural sociology, symbolic interactionism, and ethnomethodology, I argue that leaks enable non–state actors to amplify contradictions between the public and secret behavior of the state.

  5. New Horizontal Inequalities in German Higher Education? Social Selectivity of Studying Abroad between 1991 and 2012

    On the basis of theories of cultural reproduction and rational choice, we examine whether access to study-abroad opportunities is socially selective and whether this pattern changed during educational expansion. We test our hypotheses for Germany by combining student survey data and administrative data on higher education entry rates. We find that studying abroad was socially selective during the entire observation period. Selectivity increased between 1991 and 2003 and hardly changed thereafter. Unexpectedly, the expansion of higher education does not explain this development.

  6. Reproducing and Reworking Colorblind Racial Ideology: Acknowledging Childrens Agency in the White Habitus

    What is the relationship between white children’s interpretations of racial phenomena and dominant racial ideology? Do children passively adopt dominant racial ideological positions, the result of a "deep cultural conditioning" that happens to children? Do kids assertively challenge ideologies, rejecting adults’ authoritative worldviews through enacting child agency? Or is something more dialectically complex occurring that includes both reproduction and reinvention?

  7. "A General Separation of Colored and White": The WWII Riots, Military Segregation, and Racism(s) beyond the White/Nonwhite Binary

    This article uses archival research to explore important differences in the discursive and institutional positioning of Mexican American and African American men during World War II. Through the focal point of the riots that erupted in Los Angeles and other major cities in the summer of 1943, I examine the ways in which black and Mexican "rioters" were imagined in official and popular discourses. Though both groups of youth were often constructed as deviant and subversive, there were also divergences in the ways in which their supposed racial difference was discursively configured.

  8. Institutionalizing Liminality: Jewish Summer Camps and the Boundary Work of Camp Participants

    This article examines ethnic boundary formation by analyzing how former participants in a liminal organization mobilize organizational schemas of identity and practice. I envisage Jewish summer camps as liminal organizations that provide an undifferentiated setup for immersive ethnic engagement within a clearly defined temporal period. I posit that the liminality of camp helps participants overlook the complexities of identity by transmitting organizational schemas without the constraint of structural pressures.

  9. Student Accountability in Team-based Learning Classes

    Team-based learning (TBL) is a form of small-group learning that assumes stable teams promote accountability. Teamwork promotes communication among members; application exercises promote active learning. Students must prepare for each class; failure to do so harms their team’s performance. Therefore, TBL promotes accountability. As part of the course grade, students assess the performance of their teammates. The evaluation forces students to rank their teammates and to provide rationale for the highest and lowest rankings. These evaluations provide rich data on small-group dynamics.

  10. Bringing Color into the Living Room: Analyzing TV Guide Covers, 1953 to 1997

    Many contemporary students are unfamiliar with the cultural history of television programming in the United States. References to iconic series that represented significant milestones in minority representations and discussions of racial issues—such as I Spy, Julia, All in the Family, or even The Cosby Show—fail to serve as useful examples when instructors cannot assume widespread familiarity.