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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. 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. 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.

  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. 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.
  7. Sugar, Slavery, and Creative Destruction: World-Magnates and “Coreification” in the Longue-Durée

    Recent literature in the world-systems perspective has refocused attention on questions of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ in historical capitalism, yet rarely critically examines the underlying assumptions regarding these zones. Drawing on a developing dataset on the world’s wealthiest individuals (the World-Magnates Database), we trace the development and expansion of sugar circuits across the Atlantic world from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries to explain how the sugar commodity chain leads us to rethink some prevailing notions of core and periphery.
  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. What’s Alter Got to Do with It? A Consideration of Network Content and the Social Ties That Provide It

    The strength of weak ties is among the most important theories in the social sciences. One paradoxical element of the theory has been widely understood and valued—that weak ties connect disparate regions of social structure. Less appreciated, however, is the arguably more paradoxical implication that someone only weakly connected to another would provide value beyond that which is provided by the recipient’s (ego’s) strong ties. Once this paradoxical feature of the theory and associated empirical literatures is acknowledged, the interests of the resource provider (alter) demand consideration.