American Sociological Association

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  1. What is Critical Realism? And Why Should You Care?

    Critical realism (CR) is a philosophical system developed by the Indo-British philosopher, Roy Bhaskar, in collaboration with a number of British social theorists, including Margaret Archer, Mervyn Hartwig, Tony Lawson, Alan Norrie, and Andrew Sayer. It has a journal, a book series, an association, an annual meeting and, in short, all the usual trappings of an intellectual movement. The movement is centered in the UK but has followers throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Antipodes.

  2. No Laughter among Thieves: Authenticity and the Enforcement of Community Norms in Stand-Up Comedy

    Why might observers label one social actor’s questionable act a norm violation even as they seem to excuse similar behavior by others? To answer this question, I use participant-observer data on Los Angeles stand-up comics to explore the phenomenon of joke theft. Informal, community-based systems govern the property rights pertaining to jokes. Most instances of possible joke theft are ambiguous owing to the potential for simultaneous and coincidental discovery.
  3. The Racial Composition of Neighborhoods and Local Schools: The Role of Diversity, Inequality, and School Choice

    In an education system that draws students from residentially based attendance zones, schools are local institutions that reflect the racial composition of their surrounding communities. However, with opportunities to opt out of the zoned public school system, the social and economic contexts of neighborhoods may affect the demographic link between neighborhoods and their public neighborhood schools.

  4. Eclipsing Community? Neighborhood Disadvantage, Social Mechanisms, and Neighborly Attitudes and Behaviors

    This study investigates how objective neighborhood characteristics influence attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of community social organization. Grounded in ecological and neighborhood effects traditions, I extend prior inquiries by adjudicating the social mechanisms that link neighborhood disadvantage with residents’ satisfaction and neighboring.

  5. Do‐It‐Yourself Urban Design: The Social Practice of Informal “Improvement” Through Unauthorized Alteration

    There are numerous ways in which people make illegal or unauthorized alterations to urban space.

  6. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy

    Social relationships—both quantity and quality—affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk. Sociologists have played a central role in establishing the link between social relationships and health outcomes, identifying explanations for this link, and discovering social variation (e.g., by gender and race) at the population level.

  7. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  8. Resisting the Stigma of Mental Illness

    The relationship between stigmatization and the self-regard of patients/consumers with mental disorder is negative but only moderate in strength, probably because a subset of persons with mental illness resists devaluation and discrimination by others. Resistance has seldom been discussed in the stigma and labeling literatures, and thus conditions under which individuals are resistant have not been identified.

  9. Exchange, Identity Verification, and Social Bonds

    Although evidence reveals that the social exchange process and identity verification process each can produce social bonds, researchers have yet to examine their conjoined effects. In this paper, we consider how exchange processes and identity processes separately and jointly shape the social bonds that emerge between actors. We do this with data from an experiment that introduces the fairness person identity (how people define themselves in terms of fairness) in a negotiated exchange context.
  10. Schemas and Frames

    A perennial concern in frame analysis is explaining how frames structure perception and persuade audiences. In this article, we suggest that the distinction between personal culture and public culture offers a productive way forward. We propose an approach centered on an analytic contrast between schemas, which we define as a form of personal culture, and frames, which we define as a form of public culture. We develop an “evocation model” of the structure and function of frames.