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  1. The Theory of Legal Cynicism and Sunni Insurgent Violence in Post-Invasion Iraq

    We elaborate a cultural framing theory of legal cynicism—previously used to account for neighborhood variation in Chicago homicides—to explain Arab Sunni victimization and insurgent attacks during the U.S. post-invasion occupation of Iraq. Legal cynicism theory has an unrecognized power to explain collective and interpersonal violence in international as well as U.S. settings. We expand on how "double and linked" roles of state and non-state actors can be used to analyze violence against Arab Sunni civilians.

  2. Ideology and Threat Assessment: Law Enforcement Evaluation of Muslim and Right-Wing Extremism

    Does ideology affect assessment of the threat of violent extremism? A survey of law enforcement agencies in the United States in 2014 offers a comparison suggesting a small but statistically significant effect: Political attitudes were correlated with assessment of threats posed by Muslim extremists, and threat assessment was not correlated with the number of Muslim Americans who had engaged in violent extremism within the agency’s jurisdiction.
  3. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).
  4. Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists

    The terms terror, terrorism, and terrorist do not identify causally coherent and distinct social phenomena but strategies that recur across a wide variety of actors and political situations. Social scientists who reify the terms confuse themselves and render a disservice to public discussion. The U.S. government's own catalogs of terrorist events actually support both claims.

  5. The Social Sources of Geopolitical Power: French and British Diplomacy and the Politics of Interstate Recognition, 1689 to 1789

    Why did France influence the geopolitical system of eighteenth-century Europe more effectively than did Britain? Explanations pointing to states’ military and economic power are unable to explain this outcome. I argue that durable geopolitical influence depends on states’ symbolic capacities to secure recognition from competitor states, in addition to their coercive and economic capacities. And I show that states are liable to secure recognition to the extent that their agents embody social dispositions congruent with those of competitor agents.
  6. A Haunted Generation Remembers

    Second-generation Sikhs grew up with fragments and half-told stories of the anti-Sikh violence of 1984, but it is not just direct descendants of survivors who “remember” traumatic experiences. Sikhs’ collectivist orientation, cultural traditions and diasporic location offer new insights into understanding intergenerational trauma and memory work.
  7. Scars: The Long-term Effects of Combat Exposure on Health

    Although the effects of combat exposure on mental health receive a good deal of attention, less attention has been directed to the long-term effects of combat exposure on physical health, apart from combat injuries. Using the 2010 National Survey of Veterans, the author evaluates the long-term effects of combat generally, as well as more specific dimensions of combat experience, including exposure to the dead and wounded.
  8. The Heavy Hands of the State

    The modern state is that ensemble of fields of struggle among actors, agencies, and institutions over the capacity and right to monopolize not only the legitimate means of physical violence, as Max Weber famously argued, but also the means of symbolic violence over a given territory and its inhabitants. So argues Pierre Bourdieu, whose critical sociology of symbolic power is globally one of the most widely acknowledged approaches in sociology today.
  9. Racial and Other Sociodemographic Disparities in Terrorism Sting Operations

    Previous research suggests a high prevalence of entrapment in post-9/11 terrorism sting operations, but it is unknown whether entrapment abuses are disproportionately targeted at specific racial/ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic groups. Drawing on Black’s theory of law, symbolic threat theory, and research on stereotypes, cognitive biases, and institutional incentives, the authors hypothesize that government agents and informants will use problematic tactics disproportionately against certain marginalized groups.

  10. Public Concern about Terrorism: Fear, Worry, and Support for Anti-Muslim Policies

    In the era of 9/11, terrorist attacks occur with sufficient frequency and lethality to constitute a realistic threat to the well-being of the American public. Sensing this concern, politicians emphasize the threat of violent attacks to advance a platform of making public safety a priority. In this context, the authors assess the extent, sources, and emotional impact of the public’s concern about terrorism. On the basis of a national survey of 1,000 Americans, the authors examine levels of fear of a terrorist attack and worry about terrorism relative to other potential harms.