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  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. DIY Urbanism and the Lens of the Commons: Observations from Spain

    A growing body of literature has been explicitly concerned with a range of microspatial practices that are currently reshaping urban spaces under the valuable denominator of “DIY urbanism.” However, there is still much work to be done if we are to take into consideration DIY urbanism's primary source and output: the commons. As such, Spanish DIY collectives have taken an explicit interest in building and reclaiming the urban commonwealth through participatory DIY interventionism.

  4. Toward a Hermeneutic Model of Cultural Globalization: Four Lessons from Translation Studies

    Many scholars study the global diffusion of culture, looking at how institutions spread culture around the world or at how intermediaries (or “cultural brokers”) adapt foreign culture in the local context. This research can tell us much about brokers’ “cultural-matching” or “congruence-building” strategies. To date, however, few scholars have examined brokers’ interpretive work. In this article, the author argues that globalization research needs to pay more attention to interpretation.

  5. Profit as Social Rent: Embeddedness and Stratification in Markets

    This article shows how research on the social structure of markets may contribute to the analysis the growing income inequality in contemporary capitalist economies. The author proposes a theoretical link between embeddedness and social stratification by discussing the role of institutions and networks in markets for the distribution of economic profits between firms. The author claims that we must understand profit and free competition as opposites, as economic theory does.

  6. Essay: Sociology's New Steps?

    It was the devastating problems linked to the dramatic shift from farm to factory during the nineteenth century that fueled sociology’s origins, whether we turn to Comte, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, or Simmel. Building on the eighteenth-century Enlightenment spirit of the power of reason and freedom as well as the triumphs of the biophysical sciences, they envisaged a powerful science of human behavior that could solve those problems.

  7. Data Collection as Disruption: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of Young Adulthood

    Research disrupts the social world, often by making respondents aware that they are being observed or by instigating reflection upon particular aspects of life via the very act of asking questions. Building on insights from the first Hawthorne studies, reflexive ethnographers, and methodologists concerned with panel conditioning, we draw on six years of research within a community in southern Malawi to introduce a conceptual framework for theorizing disruption in observational research.

  8. The Meaning of 'Theory'

    ‘Theory’ is one of the most important words in the lexicon of contemporary sociology. Yet, their ubiquity notwithstanding, it is quite unclear what sociologists mean by the words ‘theory,’ ‘theoretical,’ and ‘theorize.’ I argue that confusions about the meaning of ‘theory’ have brought about undesirable consequences, including conceptual muddles and even downright miscommunication. In this paper I tackle two questions: (a) what does ‘theory’ mean in the sociological language?; and (b) what ought ‘theory’ to mean in the sociological language? I proceed in five stages.

  9. Thinking with Bourdieu against Bourdieu: A ‘Practical’ Critique of the Habitus

    There are two strands in Bourdieu's sociological writings. On the one hand, Bourdieu argues for a theoretical position one might term his “practical theory” which emphasizes virtuosic interactions between individuals. On the other hand, and most frequently, Bourdieu appeals to the concept of the habitus according to which society consists of objective structures and determined—and isolated—individuals.

  10. 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.