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  1. 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.

  2. A Design and a Model for Investigating the Heterogeneity of Context Effects in Public Opinion Surveys

    Context effects on survey response, caused by the unobserved interaction between beliefs stored in personal memory and triggers generated by the structure of the survey instrument, are a pervasive challenge to survey research. The authors argue that randomized survey experiments on representative samples, when paired with facilitative primes, can enable researchers to model selection into variable context effects, revealing heterogeneity at the population level.

  3. 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.

  4. Does Owning a Well Foster Environmental Citizenship? A New Study Provides Evidence

    Kansans who own water wells show more awareness of state water policy issues than those who rely on municipal water supplies, according to a study that could have implications for groundwater management and environmental policies. 

    Brock Ternes, a University of Kansas doctoral student in sociology, found that well owners prioritized issues related to the depletion of the High Plains Aquifer — which is the underground reservoir of freshwater beneath much of the western half of the state. 

  5. One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion

    Debates about science and religion—whether they conflict and how they factor into public opinion, policies, and politics—are of longstanding interest to social scientists. Research in this area often examines how elites use science and religion to justify competing claims. But, how do members of the public more generally incorporate science and religion into their worldviews? The assumption that science and religion inherently conflict with one another has come under increasing scrutiny and recent studies reveal that science and religion are more compatible than previously assumed.

  6. Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings

    Contemporary social research often has located religion’s public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people’s religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context.

  7. 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

  8. Socius Special Issue Call for Papers

    Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World invites papers for a special issue on gender in the 2016 elections. We invite contributions on all topics relevant to gender and politics. Potential topics could include (but are not limited to): gender and the executive; women, social policy, and state legislative elections; intersectionality and the media; gender and public opinion; and women in changing political institutions. Informative papers on trends or cross-national comparisons are welcome as long as they are framed in relation to the 2016 U.S. election.

  9. 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.

  10. Protests with Many Participants and Unified Message Most Likely to Influence Politicians, Study Suggests

    Protests that bring many people to the streets who agree among themselves and have a single message are most likely to influence elected officials, suggests a new study.

    “We found that features of a protest can alter the calculations of politicians and how they view an issue,” said Ruud Wouters, an assistant professor of political communication and journalism at the University of Amsterdam and the lead author of the study. “More specifically, the number of participants and unity are the characteristics of a protest that have the greatest ability to change politicians’ opinions.”