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  1. Review Essays: Both Ever and Never Together: Toward a Sociology Fit to the Human Condition

    In this beautifully produced little book, Ira Cohen takes a “voyage of sociological discovery” by focusing on what he calls solitary action. His definitional statements vary in emphasis but most readers will sense a contrast to what is usually glossed as “face-to-face” interaction. It does not take long to make a convincing case that much of everyday life offers plenty of material for an analysis of solitary action.

  2. Adolescent Mental Health and Dating in Young Adulthood

    Adolescence is a period of tremendous socioemotional change, when youth develop important relationship skills that they carry with them into adulthood. The mental health of individuals during this period might act as resources or impediments that impact their ability to cultivate such skills as well as outcomes in their later romantic relationships.

  3. Study Reveals Incarceration’s Hidden Wounds for African American Men

    There’s a stark and troubling way that incarceration diminishes the ability of a former inmate to empathize with a loved one behind bars, but existing sociological theories fail to capture it, Vanderbilt University sociologists have found.

  4. The Ecstatic Edge of Politics: Sociology and Donald Trump

    "As the United States prepares for the upcoming presidential election, Arlie Hochschild’s essay, “The Ecstatic Edge of Politics: Sociology and Donald Trump,” provides valuable insight into the emotional dynamics that underpin the political perceptions of Trump supporters. Hochschild’s account provides new perspective on the causes of the disenchantment experienced by large sections of the voting population and the particular nature of Donald Trump’s charismatic appeal to them." -  Michael Sauder, editor, Contemporary Sociology

  5. Summer 2016 Contexts online free until November 17

    Dateline: Seattle. Sitting together at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference, we’re reminded (not that we really needed reminding) that sociologists do a really good job of documenting and analyzing so many different facets of our social world. While the last issue was themed “Good News,” this issue is a cornucopia of sociological goodness.

  6. Capturing Culture: A New Method to Estimate Exogenous Cultural Effects Using Migrant Populations

    We know that culture influences people’s behavior. Yet estimating the exact extent of this influence poses a formidable methodological challenge for the social sciences. This is because preferences and beliefs are endogenous, that is, they are shaped by individuals’ own experiences and affected by the same macro-structural conditions that constrain their actions. This study introduces a new method to overcome endogeneity problems in the estimation of cultural effects by using migrant populations.

  7. Pulling Closer and Moving Apart: Interaction, Identity, and Influence in the U.S. Senate, 1973 to 2009

    This article reconciles two seemingly incompatible expectations about interpersonal interaction and social influence. One theoretical perspective predicts that an increase in interaction between two actors will promote subsequent convergence in their attitudes and behaviors, whereas another view anticipates divergence. We examine the role of political identity in moderating the effects of interaction on influence. Our investigation takes place in the U.S.

  8. Ideals as Anchors for Relationship Experiences

    Research on young-adult sexuality in sub-Saharan Africa typically conceptualizes sex as an individual-level risk behavior. We introduce a new approach that connects the conditions surrounding the initiation of sex with subsequent relationship well-being, examines relationships as sequences of interdependent events, and indexes relationship experiences to individually held ideals. New card-sort data from southern Malawi capture young women’s relationship experiences and their ideals in a sequential framework.

  9. Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: Evidence from the Micro-Context

    We argue that residential exposure to ethnic diversity reduces social trust. Previous within-country analyses of the relationship between contextual ethnic diversity and trust have been conducted at higher levels of aggregation, thus ignoring substantial variation in actual exposure to ethnic diversity. In contrast, we analyze how ethnic diversity of the immediate micro-context—where interethnic exposure is inevitable—affects trust.

  10. Sizing up Peers Adolescent Girls’ Weight Control and Social Comparison in the School Context

    Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and multi-level modeling, we examine the role of social comparison with schoolmates in adolescent girls’ weight control. Specifically, we focus on how girls’ own weight control is influenced by the body sizes and weight-control behaviors of their schoolmates. Our findings suggest that comparisons with similar others (in this case, girls of a similar body size) appear to have the strongest association with individual girls’ reports of trying to lose weight.