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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. The Geometry of Culture: Analyzing the Meanings of Class through Word Embeddings

    We argue word embedding models are a useful tool for the study of culture using a historical analysis of shared understandings of social class as an empirical case. Word embeddings represent semantic relations between words as relationships between vectors in a high-dimensional space, specifying a relational model of meaning consistent with contemporary theories of culture.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Meaning and Modularity: The Multivalence of “Mechanism” in Sociological Explanation

    Mechanisms are ubiquitous in sociological explanation. Recent theoretical work has sought to extend mechanistic explanation further still: into cultural and interpretative analysis. Yet it is not clear that the concept of mechanism can coherently unify interpretation and causal explanation within a single explanatory framework. We note that sociological mechanistic explanation is marked by a crucial disjuncture.
  7. “Daddies,” “Cougars,” and Their Partners Past Midlife: Gender Attitudes and Relationship and Sexual Well-Being among Older Adults in Age-Heterogenous Partnerships

    Discussion of “daddies” has exploded in popular discourse, yet there is little sociological research on age-heterogenous partnerships. This paper uses data from the 2013 Midlife in the United States survey and the 2015–2016 National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project to examine age-heterogenous partnerships at older ages (63 was the approximate average age of each sample).

  8. Who Wants to Lead? Anticipated Gender Discrimination Reduces Women’s Leadership Ambitions

    We examine whether anticipated gender discrimination—specifically, gendered sanctions for leadership failure—decreases women’s leadership ambitions. We find that laypeople expect that women leaders will be punished more harshly for failure than otherwise similar men. We also compare the leadership ambitions of women and men under conditions of benign and costly failure and find that leadership roles with costly failure—which implicitly have the potential for gendered sanctions for failure—disproportionally depress women’s leadership ambitions relative to men’s.
  9. Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

    Where ethnoracial boundaries are treated as rigid and real, their consequences are also rigid and real. But if Rachel Dolezal had lived in Brazil, she would have been just another negra frustrada.

  10. The Temporal Logic of Deservingness: Inequality Beliefs in Two Postsocialist Societies

    Employing a cultural sociological approach, this article asks how individuals from two postsocialist societies articulate principles of justice by providing narrative accounts of other peoples’ perceived choices and social mobility trajectories after 1989.