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  1. Biases of Online Political Polls: Who Participates?

    With a large portion of the population online and the high cost of phone-based surveys, querying people about their voter preference online can offer an affordable and timely alternative. However, given that there are biases in who adopts various sites and services that are often used as sampling frames (e.g., various social media), online political polls may not represent the views of the overall population. How are such polls biased? Who is most likely to participate in them?
  2. Teaching Content Analysis through Harry Potter

    Content analysis is a valuable research tool for social scientists that unfortunately can prove challenging to teach to undergraduate students. Published classroom exercises designed to teach content analysis have thus far been predominantly envisioned as lengthy projects for upper-level courses. A brief and engaging exercise may be more beneficial for introductory social science courses in which less time can be allotted to any one topic, such as content analysis.

  3. Discovering Race in a “Post-Racial” World: Teaching Race through Primetime Television

    Teaching students about race remains a challenging task for instructors, made even more difficult in the context of a growing “post-racial” discourse. Given this challenge, it is important for instructors to find engaging ways to help students understand the continuing significance of race and racial/ethnic inequality. In this article, we detail an exercise that asks students to analyze representations of race/ethnicity on network television for one week as a way of illustrating white dominance, white privilege, and racial inequality.

  4. Analyzing the Social Construction of Media Claims: Enhancing Media Literacy in Social Problems Classes

    Recent research has called on scholars to develop pedagogical interventions to address issues of media literacy. This teaching note answers that call by describing a media literacy project designed for use in social problems classes. The project acquaints students to the constructionist approach to social problems and the method of content analysis. Guided by the principles of scaffolding, the note discusses how students are guided through a series of readings, assignments, and activities that enables them to analyze how social problems are portrayed in news media.
  5. Who Counts as a Notable Sociologist on Wikipedia? Gender, Race, and the “Professor Test”

    This paper documents and estimates the extent of underrepresentation of women and people of color on the pages of Wikipedia devoted to contemporary American sociologists. In contrast to the demographic diversity of the discipline, sociologists represented on Wikipedia are largely white men. The gender and racial/ethnic gaps in likelihood of representation have exhibited little change over time. Using novel data, we estimate the “risk” of having a Wikipedia page for a sample of contemporary sociologists.
  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Nuclear War in the Rivalry Phase of the Modern World-System

    Large-scale war is a world-system phenomenon of the rivalry phase. Such conflicts have once again become a concern, and nuclear weapons make these prospects especially dangerous. This is particularly problematic since several world-systems perspectives suggest the chances for war will be greatest in the period from 2030 to 2050. I review the logic of rivalry, the reasons for the endurance of nuclear weapons, old and new nuclear strategies, and the processes that may pose the greatest existential dangers.
  9. From Promoting Political Polyarchy to Defeating Participatory Democracy: U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Far Left in Latin America

    During the 1980s, the United States initiated an explicit policy of democracy promotion throughout the world. William Robinson (1996) more accurately described this initiative as “promoting polyarchy,” whereby the United States supported moderate elite actors that promoted neoliberal economic policies to displace both right-wing and communist despots, such as General Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Soviet rulers in Eastern Europe.