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  1. Do Sociology Courses Make More Empathetic Students? A Mixed-Methods Study of Empathy Change in Undergraduates

    Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
  2. From Waste to Resources? Interrogating ‘Race to the Bottom’ in the Global Environmental Governance of the Hazardous Waste Trade

    The rise of global environmental governance regimes allegedly contradicts the process of an environmental “race to the bottom” (RTB) that results from capitalist globalization. We examine new developments in this area through a qualitative case study of the Basel Convention. Here, we find that new regulations in toxic wastes governance are in fact being co-created with industry actors and aim to accelerate the flow of toxic “resources” to less-developed countries.

  3. Mapping Cultural Schemas: From Theory to Method

    A growing body of research in sociology uses the concept of cultural schemas to explain how culture influences beliefs and actions. However, this work often relies on belief or attitude measures gleaned from survey data as indicators of schemas, failing to measure the cognitive associations that constitute schemas. In this article, we propose a concept-association-based approach for collecting data about individuals’ schematic associations, and a corresponding method for modeling concept network representations of shared cultural schemas.
  4. Family Complexity into Adulthood: The Central Role of Mothers in Shaping Intergenerational Ties

    As a result of the divorce revolution, more children grow up in complex families. Yet, we know little about how family complexity affects relationships when children are adults and parents are ageing. In this article, we use unique survey data to test fundamental ideas about intergenerational ties: the role of biology, partnerships (marriage and cohabitation), residence, and selection.
  5. Preventing Violence: Insights from Micro-Sociology

    Micro-sociology of violence looks at what happens in situations where people directly threaten violence, but only sometimes carry it out. This process and its turning points have become easier to see in the current era of visual data: cell-phone videos, long-distance telephoto lenses, CCTV cameras. New cues and instruments are on the horizon as we look at emotional signals, body rhythms, and monitors for body signs such as heart rate (a proxy for adrenaline level).
  6. Hearing Gender: Voice-Based Gender Classification Processes and Transgender Health Inequality

    This study examines the link between self-rated health and two aspects of gender: an individual’s gender identity, and whether strangers classify that person’s voice as male or female. In a phone-based general health survey, interviewers classified the sex of transgender women (n = 722) and transgender men (n = 446) based on assumptions they made after hearing respondents’ voices.
  7. Certainty, Uncertainty, or Indifference? Examining Variation in the Identity Narratives of Nonreligious Americans

    Much research in social science concludes that uncertainty surrounding individual beliefs and identities is negative and anxiety-inducing, and that people are continuously searching for certainty. In the context of rising rates of religious disaffiliation in the United States, and the rise of social and political organizations created to promote nonreligious beliefs and values, the nonreligious offer a strategic case to explore the meaning and lived experience of certainty and uncertainty surrounding belief and identity formation.
  8. Talking Your Self into It: How and When Accounts Shape Motivation for Action

    Following Mills, several prominent sociologists have encouraged researchers to analyze actors’ motive talk not as data on the subjective desires that move them to pursue particular ends but as post hoc accounts oriented toward justifying actions already undertaken.
  9. Equifinality and Pathways to Environmental Concern: A Fuzzy-Set Analysis

    Studying how people understand and develop concern for environmental problems is a key area of research within environmental sociology. Previous research shows that numerous social factors have measurable effects on environmental concern. However, results tend to be somewhat inconsistent across studies on this topic. One possible explanation for this is because these social factors are typically examined as independent from one another. However, these factors are interrelated in complex ways, as shown by research on the moderating effects of race and political ideology on education.
  10. Residuality and Inconsistency in the Interpretation of Socio-Theoretical Systems

    This article addresses the interpretation and criticism of theoretical systems. Its particular focus is on how to assess the success of theories in dealing with some specific phenomenon. We are interested in how to differentiate between cases where a theory offers an unsatisfactory acknowledgment of a specified phenomenon and those where a theory offers a deeper, more systematic understanding.