American Sociological Association

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  1. 2012 Presidential Address: Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias

    This address explores a broad framework for thinking sociologically about emancipatory alternatives to dominant institutions and social structures, especially capitalism. The framework is grounded in two foundational propositions: (1) Many forms of human suffering and many deficits in human flourishing are the result of existing institutions and social structures. (2) Transforming existing institutions and social structures in the right way has the potential to substantially reduce human suffering and expand the possibilities for human flourishing.

  2. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

    Stanley Cohen revisits Foucault's _Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison_.
  8. Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

    At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits.
  9. How Do We “Do Gender”? Permeation as Over-Talking and Talking Over

    Gendered expectations are imported from the larger culture to permeate small-group discussions, creating conversational inequalities. Conversational roles also emerge from the negotiated order of group interactions to reflect, reinforce, and occasionally challenge these cultural patterns. The authors provide a new examination of conversational overlaps and interruptions. They show how negotiated conversational roles lead a status distinction (gender) to shape conversational inequality.

  10. Intersubjectivity, Normativity, and Grammar

    Interactants depend on background knowledge and commonsense inferences to establish and maintain intersubjectivity. This study investigates how the resources of language—or more specifically, of grammar—can be mobilized to address moments when such inferences might risk jeopardizing understanding in lieu of promoting it. While such moments may initially seem to undermine the normative commonsensicality of the particular inference(s) in question, the practice examined here is shown to legitimize those inferences through the very act of setting them aside.