American Sociological Association



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  1. Poverty Attributions and the Perceived Justice of Income Inequality: A Comparison of East and West Germany

    Though the concept of social justice is widely used in the social sciences, we know little about the amount of income inequality that is perceived as just and why perceptions vary across social contexts. In this paper, we argue the ways people define the causes of poverty are related to how they perceive and justify existing income inequality. We examine internal and external attributions of poverty using survey data from the 2006 International Social Justice Project (ISJP). We compare two culturally and structurally distinct regions—East and West Germany.

  2. Variation in the Protective Effect of Higher Education against Depression

    Numerous studies document that higher education is associated with a reduced likelihood of depression. The protective effects of higher education, however, are known to vary across population subgroups. This study tests competing theories for who is likely to obtain a greater protective benefit from a college degree against depression through an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and recently developed methods for analyzing heterogeneous treatment effects involving the use of propensity scores.

  3. Where Does Debt Fit in the Stress Process Model?

    This paper contrasts two money-related stressors—debt and economic hardship—and clarifies where debt fits into the stress process model. Debt may be a direct or indirect stressor, as something mediated by psychosocial resources, and may be a potential buffer, interacting with economic hardship. The analyses use data from a two-wave panel study of 1,463 adults. One way debt is distinct from economic hardship is that debt is more common among economically advantaged groups.

  4. Toward a Social Topography: Status as a Spatial Practice

    Sociological theorists have long understood the central role of status distinctions in producing social inequality. Although empirical studies have demonstrated how status hierarchies are reproduced in a broad range of cultural domains, there remains little research into where legitimating cultural practices take place, where they do not, and the role of space itself in producing status differences. As a result, sociologists lack a clear understanding of how status hierarchies give shape to cities and how the structure of cities might be practiced hierarchically.

  5. Prejudice, Exclusion, and Economic Disadvantage: A Theory

    A central hypothesis about discrimination is that prejudice forces the stigmatized into low-paying, undesirable jobs. Prejudice clearly leads to exclusion. But surprisingly, evidence linking exclusion to disadvantage is mixed. We address this issue theoretically, providing a formal rational choice model combining arguments from sociology (on prejudice) and economics (on competition). Our theory suggests that economic organization is crucial.

  6. Emerging Scripts of Global Speech

    As work regimes become global, social communication increasingly occurs across locations far apart. In the absence of a common national, ethnic, or organizational culture across continents, what makes communication possible among social worlds technologically integrated in real time? Taking India’s global call centers as the focus of analysis, this article attempts to solve the riddle of communication by showing how transnational business practices rely on the transmutation of cultural communication into global communication through the processes of neutralization and mimesis.

  7. 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.

  8. Markets, Nature, and Society: Embedding Economic & Environmental Sociology

    Social scientists have drawn on theories of embeddedness to explain the different ways legal, political, and cultural frameworks shape markets. Often overlooked, however, is how the materiality of nature also structures markets. In this article, I suggest that neo-Polanyian scholars, and economic sociologists more generally, should better engage in a historical sociology of concept formation to problematize the human exemptionalist paradigm their work upholds and recognize the role of nature in shaping markets and society.

  9. The Neoclassical Origins of Polanyi's Self-Regulating Market

    This article shows, through a detailed examination of Karl Polanyi’s published works and unpublished writings, that Polanyi relies heavily on the neoclassical economics of his time in his conceptualization of the market in capitalist societies. This approach is instrumental to the thesis of The Great Transformation concerning the destructive impact of the market on society. However, such an analytical perspective neglects the social character of the market economy. This perspective is also deficient in capturing why the market is destructive to the social fabric.

  10. Ability Groupings Effects on Grades and the Attainment of Higher Education: A Natural Experiment

    To test the effect of ability grouping on grades and the attainment of higher education, this study examines a naturally occurring experiment—an admission reform that dramatically increased ability sorting between schools in the municipality of Stockholm. Following six cohorts of students (N = 79,020) from the age of 16 to 26, I find a mean effect close to zero and small positive and negative differentiating effects on grades.