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  1. Less Theory. More Description.

    Sociology must worry less about theoretical innovation and more about empirical description.
  2. Shadow Plays: Theory’s Perennial Challenges

    This article argues that theory holds its ground when it confronts itself with the empirics of its claims and this confrontation is geared to the project of increasing analytical specificity. This means (1) shedding as much light as possible on the very process whereby a type of outcome gets generated or takes shape and (2) identifying the factors that condition the likelihood of this process. From this perspective, sound theorizing is predicated on both empirical grounding and analytical specificity.
  3. Puzzling in Sociology: On Doing and Undoing Theoretical Puzzles

    One typical way to motivate a sociological argument is to present the research question as a puzzle. Unlike in physical sciences, sociologists work backward to construct theoretical puzzles from their data. Sociologists risk puzzling for puzzles’ sake, and in so doing, they reify categories and concepts that are not necessary or useful to their empirical material at hand. This essay examines mostly qualitative sociologists’ conventions for puzzling and suggests alternatives rooted in thick description of empirics.
  4. After Charlottesville: A Contexts Symposium

    In a joint editorial effort, the editors of Contexts have assembled a group of writers who specialize in research on race, racism, whiteness, nationalism, and immigration to provide sociological insights about how the public, politicians, and academics should process and understand the broader sociohistorical implications of the events in Charlottesville.

  5. 2016 Hans O. Mauksch Address

    Teaching Sociology, Volume 45, Issue 1, Page 1-13, January 2017.
  6. In Whom Do We Trust? Racial Trust in the Early Years of Barack Obama’s Presidency

    For many African Americans, Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008 was a step toward a racially tolerant society. Yet for others, the attack on Obama’s religious faith and citizenship status reflected long-standing racial divisions within the electorate. Using ordered probit analyses, our study focuses on racial trust and social capital in the early years of Obama’s presidency. In assessing the relationship between Obama’s domestic policies and racial trust, our study closely aligns with the research on policy feedbacks.
  7. No Rest for the Weary: The Weight of Race, Gender, and Place inside and outside a Southern Classroom

    No Rest for the Weary: The Weight of Race, Gender, and Place inside and outside a Southern Classroom
  8. Review Essays: A Brilliant Work in General Theory

    Richard Swedberg reviews Processual Sociology by Andrew Abbot.
  9. I’ve Got My Family and My Faith: Black Women and the Suicide Paradox

    Although existing suicide literature proposes black women’s strong religious ties and social networks protect them against suicide, few studies offer black women’s perceptions. The present study examines the factors black women perceive of as protective against suicide by conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with 33 U.S.-born black women. Results support current suicide literature on the role of social networks and religion in black women’s lives. The results also identify two important factors researchers continue to overlook.