American Sociological Association

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  1. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  2. Frame-Induced Group Polarization in Small Discussion Networks

    We present a novel explanation for the group polarization effect whereby discussion among like-minded individuals induces shifts toward the extreme. Our theory distinguishes between a quantitative policy under debate and the discussion’s rhetorical frame, such as the likelihood of an outcome. If policy and frame position are mathematically related so that frame position increases more slowly as the policy becomes more extreme, majority formation at the extreme is favored, thereby shifting consensus formation toward the extreme.
  3. Causal Inference with Networked Treatment Diffusion

    Treatment interference (i.e., one unit’s potential outcomes depend on other units’ treatment) is prevalent in social settings. Ignoring treatment interference can lead to biased estimates of treatment effects and incorrect statistical inferences. Some recent studies have started to incorporate treatment interference into causal inference. But treatment interference is often assumed to follow a simple structure (e.g., treatment interference exists only within groups) or measured in a simplistic way (e.g., only based on the number of treated friends).
  4. Limitations of Design-based Causal Inference and A/B Testing under Arbitrary and Network Interference

    Randomized experiments on a network often involve interference between connected units, namely, a situation in which an individual’s treatment can affect the response of another individual. Current approaches to deal with interference, in theory and in practice, often make restrictive assumptions on its structure—for instance, assuming that interference is local—even when using otherwise nonparametric inference strategies.
  5. Social Networks and Educational Attainment among Adolescents Experiencing Pregnancy

    Pregnant adolescents are a population at risk for dropout and have been found to complete fewer years of education than peers. Pregnant girls’ social experience in school may be a factor in their likelihood to persist, as social integration is thought to buffer dropout risk. Pregnant teens have been found to have fewer friends than their peers, but the academic ramifications of these social differences have yet to be studied. In this study the author examines whether friendship networks are associated with the relationship between adolescent pregnancy and educational attainment.

  6. Higher Education, Bigger Networks? Differences by Family Socioeconomic Background and Network Measures

    Income or health returns linked to obtaining a college degree often are greatest for individuals who come from socioeconomically disadvantaged families. Although this importantly suggests that college lessens many forms of inequality linked to parental socioeconomic status, empirical knowledge about adult network inequality remains limited. Drawing on the 1972–2014 General Social Survey, the author finds that higher education associates on average with a greater number of nonkin and community ties.
  7. Beyond America: Cross-national Context and the Impact of Religious Versus Secular Organizational Membership on Self-rated Health

    Studies using data from the United States suggest religious organizational involvement is more beneficial for health than secular organizational involvement. Extending beyond the United States, we assess the relative impacts of religious and secular organizational involvement on self-rated health cross-nationally, accounting for national-level religious context. Analyses of data from 33 predominantly Christian countries from the 2005–2008 World Values Survey reveal that active membership in religious organizations is positively associated with self-rated health.
  8. Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity “Epidemic” and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions

    While most sociology students are well prepared to think critically about inequalities involving race, gender, social class, and sexuality, the topics of body weight and health present some challenges for classroom discussion. Primarily, this is due to the body’s status in contemporary society as simultaneously malleable (able to be changed) and intractable (an indicator of moral worth). Such associations lead to cases of size discrimination—what is often called “sizeism”—with impacts similar to what is experienced around race and gender discrimination.

  9. Featured Essay: Lost and Saved . . . Again: The Moral Panic about the Loss of Community Takes Hold of Social Media

    Why does every generation believe that relationships were stronger and community better in the recent past? Lamenting about the loss of community, based on a selective perception of the present and an idealization of ‘‘traditional community,’’ dims awareness of powerful inequalities and cleavages that have always pervaded human society and favors deterministic models over a nuanced understanding of how network affordances contribute to different outcomes. Taylor Dotson’s (2017) recent book proposes a broader timeline for the demise of community.
  10. The Social Sources of Geopolitical Power: French and British Diplomacy and the Politics of Interstate Recognition, 1689 to 1789

    Why did France influence the geopolitical system of eighteenth-century Europe more effectively than did Britain? Explanations pointing to states’ military and economic power are unable to explain this outcome. I argue that durable geopolitical influence depends on states’ symbolic capacities to secure recognition from competitor states, in addition to their coercive and economic capacities. And I show that states are liable to secure recognition to the extent that their agents embody social dispositions congruent with those of competitor agents.