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  1. Consumers Increasingly Face Companies’ Creative Smoke and Mirrors, Study Finds

    Heavily marketed as a safer, healthful alternative to smoking, electronic cigarettes are under fire from California health officials who have declared "vaping" a public health threat, hoping to head off the type of deceptive manipulation that tobacco companies succeeded with for decades, according to researchers. 

  2. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  3. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers' Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  4. Professionalism Redundant, Reshaped, or Reinvigorated? Realizing the "Third Logic" in Contemporary Health Care

    Recent decades have seen the influence of the professions decline. Lately, commentators have suggested a revived role for a "new" professionalism in ensuring and enhancing high-quality health care in systems dominated by market and managerial logics. The form this new professionalism might take, however, remains obscure. This article uses data from an ethnographic study of three English health care improvement projects to analyze the place, potential, and limitations of professionalism as a means of engaging clinicians in efforts to improve service quality.

  5. Beyond Text: Using Arrays to Represent and Analyze Ethnographic Data

    Recent methodological debates in sociology have focused on how data and analyses might be made more open and accessible, how the process of theorizing and knowledge production might be made more explicit, and how developing means of visualization can help address these issues. In ethnography, where scholars from various traditions do not necessarily share basic epistemological assumptions about the research enterprise with either their quantitative colleagues or one another, these issues are particularly complex.

  6. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  7. Inhabiting Latino Politics: How Colleges Shape Students' Political Styles

    To comply with ideals of multiculturalism and diversity, postsecondary institutions incorporate Latino students into distinct campus cultures. These cultures influence how students interact with one another, the university community at large, and communities outside of campus, ultimately shaping how students inhabit Latino politics. Drawing on data from 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork with six student organizations and 60 in-depth interviews, I compare Latino student organizations in a liberal arts college, a research university, and a regional public university.

  8. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  9. Review Essays: The Path Not Taken? Culture, Materials, and Pleasure in Action

    Claudio E. Benzecry reviews Profane Culture by Paul E. Willis.

  10. Review Essays: Disciplines, Area Studies, and Publics: Rethinking Sociology in a Global World

    Hiro Saito reviews Japan Copes with Calamity: Ethnographies of the Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disasters of March 2011, edited by Tom Gill, Brigitte Steger, and David H. Slater.