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  1. Study Uses Internet and Social Media to Show How Fracking Documentary Influenced Public Perception and Political Change

    Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change.

    But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.

  2. 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.

  3. "No Fracking Way!" Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.

  4. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.

  5. Portland Oregon, Music Scenes, and Change: A Cultural Approach to Collective Strategies of Empowerment

    This article highlights the role of the independent music culture of Portland, Oregon, in establishing a productive culture of consumption and spaces that contribute to the place character of the city. Derived from an ethnographic research project of urban culture and social change in Portland, Oregon, guided interviews and extended participant observation helped to bring to light the cultural economy that artists and musicians make for the city.

  6. Dorothea Lange and the Art of the Caption

    How Depression Era photographer Dorothea Lange helped pioneer sociological storytelling with her evocative captions.

  7. RaceBaitR Talks #HistoryByHillary, Queerness

    Steven W. Thrasher and genderqueer activist Hari Ziyad on calling out hypocrisy and fighting racism without engaging racists.

  8. Weiners Galore

    Contexts, Volume 15, Issue 4, Page 67-69, Fall 2016.
  9. A “Real” American Indian

    Kimberly R. Huyser considers the power of stereotypes and self-image as she participates in a project to create modern images of Native Americans.
  10. Girls Rock the Stage and Smash the Patriarchy

    Trisha L. Crawshaw on a rock camp helping eqip kids to resist gender norms, acknowledge privilege, and confront racism.