American Sociological Association

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  1. Is Trust Rigid or Malleable? A Laboratory Experiment

    An important debate within the trust literature is whether trust is modified by social experiences or resistant to change despite changing social circumstances. We address this debate by designing and implementing an experiment that exposes participants to a high or low trust environment and compares their change in generalized trust. We find that the experimental condition influences change in generalized trust, particularly for participants whose prior level of trust was mismatched with their experimental condition.

  2. 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.

  3. 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    This article shows, through a detailed examination of Karl Polanyi’s published works and unpublished writings, that Polanyi relies heavily on the neoclassical economics of his time in his conceptualization of the market in capitalist societies.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.

  4. Toward a Dynamic Theory of Action at the Micro Level of Genocide: Killing, Desistance, and Saving in 1994 Rwanda

    This article is about behavioral variation in genocide. Research frequently suggests that violent behaviors can be explained by or treated as synonymous with ethnic categories. This literature also tends to pre-group actors as perpetrators, victims, or bystanders for research purposes. However, evidence that individuals cross boundaries from killing to desistance and saving throughout genocide indicates that the relationship between behaviors and categories is often in flux.

  5. Race-Ethnicity, Poverty, Urban Stressors, and Telomere Length in a Detroit Community-based Sample

    Residents of distressed urban areas suffer early aging-related disease and excess mortality. Using a community-based participatory research approach in a collaboration between social researchers and cellular biologists, we collected a unique data set of 239 black, white, or Mexican adults from a stratified, multistage probability sample of three Detroit neighborhoods. We drew venous blood and measured telomere length (TL), an indicator of stress-mediated biological aging, linking respondents’ TL to their community survey responses.

  6. Collective Labor Rights and Income Inequality

    This article examines the relationship between income inequality and collective labor rights, conceptualized as workers’ legal and practical ability to engage in collective activity. Although worker organization is central to explaining income inequality in industrialized democracies, worldwide comparative studies have neglected the role of class-based actors. I argue that the repression of labor rights reduces the capacity of worker organizations to effectively challenge income inequality through market and political processes in capitalist societies.

  7. A Dynamic Process Model of Private Politics

    This project explores whether and how corporations become more receptive to social activist challenges over time. Drawing from social movement theory, we suggest a dynamic process through which contentious interactions lead to increased receptivity. We argue that when firms are chronically targeted by social activists, they respond defensively by adopting strategic management devices that help them better manage social issues and demonstrate their normative appropriateness.

  8. Social Justice & the Next Upward Surge for Unions

    Labor unions have been on the decline for sixty years in the U.S., though they raise wages, decrease inequality, and give voice to workers. Can they rise again?

  9. I Retired. Now Who Am I?

    Consciously uncoupled from the career, Bill Falk considers the self.

  10. Repulsed by the “Other”: Integrating Theory with Method in the Study of Intergroup Association

    We offer an integration of theory and method in the study of intergroup social associations. Specifically, we show that models for intergroup association tables developed using generic log-linear methods for categorical data analysis embody a general theoretical point of view on the driving force behind intergroup association, namely, as the outcome of a probabilistic process of repulsion from dissimilar others. We develop this argument and illustrate it with intermarriage data.