American Sociological Association

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  1. Choice, Information, and Constrained Options: School Transfers in a Stratified Educational System

    It is well known that family socioeconomic background influences childhood access to opportunities. Educational reforms that introduce new information about school quality may lead to increased inequality if families with more resources are better able to respond. However, these policies can also level the playing field for choice by equalizing disadvantaged families’ access to information. This study assesses how a novel accountability system affected family enrollment decisions in the Chicago Public Schools by introducing new test performance information and consequences.

  2. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  3. Understanding Educational Policy Formation: The Case of School Violence Policies in Israel

    This study explores mechanisms underlying processes of educational policy formation. Previous studies have given much attention to processes of diffusion when accounting for educational policy formation. Less account has been given to the day-to-day institutional dynamics through which educational policies develop and change. Building on extensive governmental archival data, complemented with interviews and media analysis, I study the development and transformation of school violence policies in Israel.

  4. Symbolic Politics of the State: The Case of In-state Tuition Bills for Undocumented Students

    A symbolic politics approach contends that the meanings policy proposals convey, and the audiences they attract, may matter more than whether they become law. Yet, we know little about the sociopolitical conditions prompting lawmakers to engage in symbolic politics.

  5. The Origins of Race-conscious Affirmative Action in Undergraduate Admissions: A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change in Higher Education

    What explains the rise of race-conscious affirmative action policies in undergraduate admissions? The dominant theory posits that adoption of such policies was precipitated by urban and campus unrest in the North during the late 1960s. Based on primary research in a sample of 17 selective schools, we find limited support for the dominant theory. Affirmative action arose in two distinct waves during the 1960s. A first wave was launched in the early 1960s by northern college administrators inspired by nonviolent civil rights protests in the South.

  6. Saving Children, Controlling Families: Punishment, Redistribution, and Child Protection

    This study shows that state efforts at child protection are structured by the policy regimes in which they are enmeshed. Using administrative data on child protection, criminal justice, and social welfare interventions, I show that children are separated from their families and placed into foster care far more frequently in states with extensive and punitive criminal justice systems than in states with broad and generous welfare programs.
  7. Relationships between the Public and Crimmigration Entities in North Carolina: A 287(g) Program Focus

    How does local law enforcement, with the aid of city and county governments, respond to racialized immigrant threat through policy implementation, namely, through adoption of intergovernmental agreements? More specifically, how is this response tailored for Latino immigrant communities, particularly in new destination communities?
  8. 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.
  9. Protest Campaigns and Movement Success: Desegregating the U.S. South in the Early 1960s

    Can protest bring about social change? Although scholarship on the consequences of social movements has grown dramatically, our understanding of protest influence is limited; several recent studies have failed to detect any positive effect. We investigate sit-in protest by black college students in the U.S. South in 1960, which targeted segregated lunch counters.

  10. Working at the Intersection of Race and Public Policy: The Promise (and Perils) of Putting Research to Work for Societal Transformation

    Today, race and ethnicity scholars generate a wealth of important research that documents the parameters of racial and/or ethnic inequality, how such inequality persists, and how it relates to, or intersects with, other dimensions of social life. Here we argue that these scholars should devote their abundant intellectual energies not only to illuminating the parameters and causes of racial injustice but also to producing work that might shift popular understandings and stimulate change.