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  1. Dignity and Dreams: What the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Means to Low-Income Families

    Money has meaning that shapes its uses and social significance, including the monies low-income families draw on for survival: wages, welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This study, based on in-depth interviews with 115 low-wage EITC recipients, reveals the EITC is an unusual type of government transfer. Recipients of the EITC say they value the debt relief this government benefit brings. However, they also perceive it as a just reward for work, which legitimizes a temporary increase in consumption.

  2. What Is the Relation between Theory and Practice, and Did Marx Discuss Engineering Society?

    My impression of Marx’s understanding of theory and praxis is that the transition from capitalism to socialism is contingent on the historical circumstances at any given point in time. The logic of capital creates certain preconditions that set the stage for the transition, but the transition is by no means guaranteed to unfold, or unfold in a clearly predictable manner. One of the preconditions is the concentration of capital into the hands of few and the general tendency toward increasing relative poverty of workers.

  3. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  4. Political Economy, Capability Development, and Fundamental Cause: Integrating Perspectives on Child Health in Developing Countries

    Several dominant theoretical perspectives attempt to account for health disparities in developing countries, including political economy, the capability approach, and fundamental cause.
  5. Research Note: Measuring the Impacts of Colonialism: A New Data Set for the Countries of Africa and Asia

    We present a new dataset with 15 indicators for the political, economic and social impact of colonialism. This dataset and our four indices for the impact of colonialism create for the first time the opportunity to compare directly the levels of colonial transformation for a sample of 83 African and Asian countries. Some of our exploratory findings on the interrelation of the dimensions show that in British colonies political domination was in general less direct and less violent. Plantation colonies experienced more investment in infrastructure and more violence during decolonization.
  6. The Hazards of Expert Control: Chief Risk Officers and Risky Derivatives

    American Sociological Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, Page 511-541, June 2017.
    Abstract
  7. Study: Banks Hired Risk Officers to Mitigate Risk in Years Before Collapse. It Didn’t Go So Well

    New research suggests a significant number of national and international American banks hired new Chief Risk Officers to mitigate risk but may have actually helped lead the industry into widespread insolvency.

    Starting in the 1990s, many major banks hired Chief Risk Officers (CROs) in a response to new laws and regulations put in place following financial meltdowns in the 1980s. In an effort to comply, banking officials elevated risk analysts to corner offices to show they were serious about tackling risk.

  8. A World-Systems Frontier Perspective to Land: Exploring the Uneven Trajectory of Land Rights Standardization in the Andes

    This paper proposes a world-systems frontier perspective by approaching frontiers and frontier zones as analytical tools in indicating and understanding the uneven local-global interactions underlying world-systemic incorporation processes. It argues that the notion of frontier can highlight the role of ‘peripheral agency’ in local-global interactions, revealing incorporation as a negotiated process.
  9. The Paradoxical Relationship between Renewable Energy and Economic Growth: A Cross-National Panel Study, 1990-2013

    This cross-national study employs a time-series cross-sectional Prais-Winsten regression model with panel-corrected standard errors to examine the relationship between renewable energy consumption and economic growth, and its impact on total carbon dioxide emissions and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP. Findings indicate that renewable energy consumption has its largest negative effect on total carbon emissions and carbon emissions per unit of GDP in low-income countries.
  10. Paul Starr on the Shaping of the American Health Care System

    Health care continues to be a "toxic issue" at the center of American politics but, according to sociologist Paul Starr, it didn't have to be. In an ASA-produced video, Dr. Starr takes a sociological look at the history of health care to see how the medical industry played a role in sending the U.S. in its current course eschewing other options that would have provided universal access. Starr is Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and author of The Social Transformation of American Medicine.