American Sociological Association

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  1. Living One’s Theories: Moral Consistency in the Life of Émile Durkheim

    This article investigates the relation between a theorist’s theories and his daily life practices, using Émile Durkheim as an example. That theory and practice should be consistent seems not only scientifically proper but also morally right. Yet the concept of consistency conceals several different standards: consistency with one’s own theoretical arguments, consistency with outsiders’ judgments of oneself, and consistency within one’s arguments (and actions) across time and social space.
  2. Doing Abstraction: Autism, Diagnosis, and Social Theory

    Recent decades have witnessed a dramatic upsurge in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As researchers have investigated the responsible sociohistorical conditions, they have neglected how clinicians determine the diagnosis in local encounters in the first place. Articulating a position “between Foucault and Goffman,” we ask how the interaction order of the clinic articulates with larger-scale historical forces affecting the definition and distribution of ASD. First, we show how the diagnostic process has a narrative structure.
  3. The World-Systemic Dynamics of Knowledge Production: The Distribution of Transnational Academic Capital in the Social Sciences

    This paper expands the framework of the Bourdieusian field theory using a world-system theoretical perspective to analyze the global system of social sciences, or what might be called the world-system of knowledge production. The analysis deals with the main agents of the world-system of social sciences, and it also investigates the core-like and periphery-like processes of the system. Our findings affirm that a very characteristic center-periphery structure exists in global social sciences, with a few hegemonic countries and distinctly peripheral world regions.
  4. Puzzling Politics: A Methodology for Turning World-Systems Analysis Inside-Out

    Can world-systems analysis illuminate politics? Can it help explain why illiberal regimes, outsider parties, and anti-immigrant rhetoric seem to be on the rise? Can it help explain any such nationalchanges that seem destined to shift how nations relate to world markets? Leading surveys of historical sociology seem to say no. We disagree. While there are problems with Wallerstein’s early mode of analyzing politicsin the capitalist world-system from the outside-in, historical sociologists have been too quick to dismiss world-systems analysis.
  5. Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

    At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits.
  6. Who Belongs? How Status Influences the Experience of Gemeinschaft

    Belonging is a central human aspiration, one that has drawn attention from sociologists and social psychologists alike. Who is likely to realize this aspiration? This paper addresses that question by examining how “we-feeling”—the experience of gemeinschaft—is distributed within small groups. Previous research has argued that the feeling of belonging is positively related to a person’s social status through a cumulative advantage process.
  7. Basic Income and the Pitfalls of Randomization

    This essay evaluates the state of the debate around basic income, a controversial and much-discussed policy proposal. I explore its contested meaning and consider its potential impact. I provide a summary of the randomized guaranteed income experiments from the 1970s, emphasizing how experimental methods using scattered sets of isolated participants cannot capture the crucial social factors that help to explain changes in people’s patterns of work.
  8. Performative State-Formation in the Early American Republic

    How do proto-state organizations achieve an initial accumulation of power, such that they are in a position to grow (or shrink) as an organization, maintain their prestige (or lose it), and be viewed, by elite and populace, as something real and consequential that can be argued about, supported, or attacked?
  9. Navigating the Process of Curriculum Redesign in Sociology: Challenges and Lessons from One Program

    The American Sociological Association has produced a wide range of reports and materials addressing curricular best practices. Collectively, those materials are an invaluable resource for guiding revisions of the sociology major, but they do not address processes for implementing such revisions. In this conversation piece, we describe the steps by which our department implemented a thorough curricular redesign—a process nearing completion after five years of formal discussions, and with roots reaching back even farther.
  10. Environmental Justice and Public Beach Access

    Beaches are an important recreational setting due to their provision of ideal open spaces for diverse water‐ and land‐based recreation opportunities. Despite the importance of assessing the environmental justice of public beach access, few empirical studies have been conducted in community recreation. Using an environmental justice framework, this study examined whether inequities exist for certain racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups with respect to the distribution of public beach access in the Detroit Metropolitan Area.