American Sociological Association



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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. Paradoxes of Social Policy: Welfare Transfers, Relative Poverty, and Redistribution Preferences

    Korpi and Palme’s (1998) classic “The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality” claims that universal social policy better reduces poverty than social policies targeted at the poor. This article revisits Korpi and Palme’s classic, and in the process, explores and informs a set of enduring questions about social policy, politics, and social equality.

  3. Policy Entrepreneurs and the Origins of the Regulatory Welfare State: Child Labor Reform in Nineteenth-Century Europe

    Industrial child labor laws were the earliest manifestation of the modern regulatory welfare state. Why, despite the absence of political pressure from below, did some states (but not others) succeed in legislating working hours, minimum ages, and schooling requirements for working children in the first half of the nineteenth century? I use case studies of the politics behind the first child labor laws in Germany and France, alongside a case study of a failed child labor reform effort in Belgium, to answer this question.
  4. Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? Political Articulation and the Canadian Comparison, 1932 to 1948

    Why is there no labor party in the United States? This question has had deep implications for U.S. politics and social policy. Existing explanations use "reflection" models of parties, whereby parties reflect preexisting cleavages or institutional arrangements. But a comparison with Canada, whose political terrain was supposedly more favorable to labor parties, challenges reflection models.

  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  7. Response to Morgan: On the Role of Status Threat and Material Interests in the 2016 Election

    I am delighted to have the opportunity to respond to Morgan’s article, which is a critique of my recent publication (Mutz 2018). I will restrict my response to matters concerning the data and analysis, excluding issues such as whether the journal PNAS is appropriately named (Morgan this issue:3) as well as Morgan’s views about how this work was covered in various media outlets (Morgan this issue:3–6). These issues are less important than whether material self-interest or status threat motivated Trump supporters.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.