American Sociological Association



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  1. 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.
  2. Post-Colonial Africa and the World Economy: The Long Waves of Uneven Development Fouad Makki

    The aim of this article is to examine the interactive dynamics of "Africa" and the "world economy" over the past half century. By relating the overarching developmental trajectory of the continent to the long-wave rhythms of the world economy, the article identifies three relatively articulated periods in the political economy of postcolonial Africa. The first, from circa 1960 to the late 1970s, was a period of state-led developmentalism enabled by the long postwar boom in the world economy and the embedded liberalism of the Bretton Woods system.

  3. Will China's Development lead to Mexico's Underdevelopment?

    China has become an important global actor in the arenas of production, trade, and foreign investment. In 1948, China contributed slightly less than 1 percent to global exports; by 2013, it had grown to almost 12 percent. Has China's vertiginous trade growth come at the expense of other exporters or does it represent an expansion of new consumer markets? For policy makers in the so-called "emerging markets," this is most relevant since many have adopted the export-led model as their engine of development.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.
  6. The Political-Military Foundations of China’s Global Ascendency

    In recent years China has positioned itself as a global economic leader, working through its “Belt and Road” initiative (BRI) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), to not only expand its global economic reach, but to organize and lead global economic relations. China’s rise is largely understood in economic terms, but the history of global power dynamics suggests that such leadership is built on both economic and political-military foundations.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  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.