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  1. The Dynamics of Opportunity and Insurgent Practice How Black Anti-colonialists Compelled Truman to Advocate Civil Rights

    Political opportunity theory has proven extremely generative, highlighting the importance of macro-structural shifts in making established authorities vulnerable to insurgent challenge. But as critics point out, political opportunity theory flattens both culture and agency, and has fared poorly in explaining the timing of insurgency. Re-theorizing opportunity as leveraged by particular practices, rather than independently conferring to groups, redresses these limits, revealing the proximate causes of mobilization and influence.

  2. “No Fracking Way!” Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.

  3. Is Popular More Likeable? Choice Status by Intrinsic Appeal in an Experimental Music Market

    There is widespread agreement from many areas of status research that evaluators’ judgments of performances can be distorted by the status of the performer. The question arises as to whether status distorts perceptions differently at different levels of performance quality. Using data from the Columbia Musiclab study, we conduct a large-scale test of whether the effect of popularity on private perceptions of likeability is contingent on songs’ intrinsic appeal.

  4. A Dynamic Process Model of Private Politics

    This project explores whether and how corporations become more receptive to social activist challenges over time. Drawing from social movement theory, we suggest a dynamic process through which contentious interactions lead to increased receptivity. We argue that when firms are chronically targeted by social activists, they respond defensively by adopting strategic management devices that help them better manage social issues and demonstrate their normative appropriateness.

  5. 2016 Presidential Address: A New Political Generation: Millennials and the Post-2008 Wave of Protest

    Building on Karl Mannheim’s theory of generations, this address argues that U.S. Millennials comprise a new political generation with lived experiences and worldviews that set them apart from their elders. Not only are they the first generation of “digital natives,” but, although they are more educated than any previous U.S. generation, they face a labor market in which precarity is increasingly the norm.

  6. The Micropolitics of Legitimacy: Political Positioning and Journalistic Scrutiny at the Boundary of the Mainstream

    When journalists elicit opinion and policy pronouncements from politicians, this engages a two-dimensional struggle over (1) where the politician stands on the issue in question and (2) the legitimacy of that position. Using data drawn from broadcast news interviews and news conferences, this paper anatomizes the key features of political positioning questions and their responses, and documents a tension surrounding relatively marginal or extreme views that tend to be treated cautiously by politicians but are pursued vigorously by journalists.

  7. Measuring Resonance and Dissonance in Social Movement Frames With Affect Control Theory

    We present a methodological innovation for analyzing archival data that involves the framing strategies from the failed 1980 Iowa Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). First, we conducted an archival analysis that suggested that pro-ERA groups used “frame resonance,” a strategy prominent in the social movement literature where activists align issues with ideologies. Meanwhile, anti-ERA groups used what we coin here as “frame dissonance” by depicting how passing the ERA clashed with ideologies.

  8. Consuming Mexican Labor: From the Bracero Program to NAFTA

    That, historically, capital accumulation has required a supply of cheap, flexible labor is one of the most well-documented and widely accepted empirical findings in social science.

  9. Protests with Many Participants and Unified Message Most Likely to Influence Politicians, Study Suggests

    Protests that bring many people to the streets who agree among themselves and have a single message are most likely to influence elected officials, suggests a new study.

    “We found that features of a protest can alter the calculations of politicians and how they view an issue,” said Ruud Wouters, an assistant professor of political communication and journalism at the University of Amsterdam and the lead author of the study. “More specifically, the number of participants and unity are the characteristics of a protest that have the greatest ability to change politicians’ opinions.”

  10. Journeys in Sociology: From First Encounters to Fulfilling Retirements

    The editors and twenty contributors to the essential anthology Journeys in Sociology use a life-course perspective to address the role of sociology in their lives. The power of their personal experiences—during the Great Depression, World War II, or the student protests and social movements in the 1960s and '70s—magnify how and why social change prompted these men and women to study sociology. Moreover, all of the contributors include a discussion of their activities in retirement.