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  1. What’s Alter Got to Do with It? A Consideration of Network Content and the Social Ties That Provide It

    The strength of weak ties is among the most important theories in the social sciences. One paradoxical element of the theory has been widely understood and valued—that weak ties connect disparate regions of social structure. Less appreciated, however, is the arguably more paradoxical implication that someone only weakly connected to another would provide value beyond that which is provided by the recipient’s (ego’s) strong ties. Once this paradoxical feature of the theory and associated empirical literatures is acknowledged, the interests of the resource provider (alter) demand consideration.
  2. Summer 2019 Contexts Online Free until August 30

    From the Editors

    Special Issue on Freedom

  3. Sugar, Slavery, and Creative Destruction: World-Magnates and “Coreification” in the Longue-Durée

    Recent literature in the world-systems perspective has refocused attention on questions of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ in historical capitalism, yet rarely critically examines the underlying assumptions regarding these zones. Drawing on a developing dataset on the world’s wealthiest individuals (the World-Magnates Database), we trace the development and expansion of sugar circuits across the Atlantic world from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries to explain how the sugar commodity chain leads us to rethink some prevailing notions of core and periphery.
  4. Transnational Social Movement Organizations and Counter-Hegemonic Struggles Today

    World-systems analysts have drawn our attention to the importance of the long-standing worldwide struggles of subaltern groups to defend their livelihoods and address fundamental conflicts of our times. Climate change, financial volatility, and rising inequality are exposing the existential threats the global capitalist system poses to growing numbers—many of whom once enjoyed some of its benefits. These urgent challenges create possibilities for social movements to attract more widespread support for alternatives to global capitalism.
  5. CASM: A Deep-Learning Approach for Identifying Collective Action Events with Text and Image Data from Social Media

    Protest event analysis is an important method for the study of collective action and social movements and typically draws on traditional media reports as the data source. We introduce collective action from social media (CASM)—a system that uses convolutional neural networks on image data and recurrent neural networks with long short-term memory on text data in a two-stage classifier to identify social media posts about offline collective action. We implement CASM on Chinese social media data and identify more than 100,000 collective action events from 2010 to 2017 (CASM-China).
  6. The Rise of ‘Illiberal’ Democracy: The Orbánization of Hungarian Political Culture

    This article examines the rise of the political right and far-right in Hungarian political culture. It highlights the contribution that world-systems analysis can bring to an historical sociological understanding of the concept of political culture, with a particular focus on contemporary Hungary. Many commentators are asking: how it can be that 30 years of democratic transition has led to the dominance in Hungary of a politics of intolerance, illiberalism and ethno-Nationalism, as manifested in both the current government, Fidesz, and the neo-fascist party, Jobbik.
  7. Rents, Power and Governance in Global Value Chains

    This paper addresses the  generation  of  rents  and  the  distribution  of  gains  in  the  global  operations  of  governed Global  Value  Chains  (GVCs)  and  seeks  to  provide  an  architecture  for  analyzing  the  governance  of  GVCs.  It distinguishes between four sets of rent—gifts of nature; innovation rents; exogenously defined rents; and market power—and three spheres of governance—setting the rules -“legislative governance”; implementing the rules -“executive governance”; and monitoring rules and sanctioning malfeasance -“judicial governance.” The exercise of governance power in
  8. Geoeconomic Uses of Global Warming: The “Green” Technological Revolution and the Role of the Semi-Periphery

    While some semi-peripheral countries have seen renewable energies as an opportunity to build their industrial and technological capacities, core countries and global governance organizations have been promoting “green growth.” Since the 2008 global financial crisis, global warming has been used as a catalyst for big business. As the global economy may be entering the first stage of a “green” technology revolution, neo-Schumpeterian economists have regained visibility.
  9. A World-Systems Frontier Perspective to Land: Exploring the Uneven Trajectory of Land Rights Standardization in the Andes

    This paper proposes a world-systems frontier perspective by approaching frontiers and frontier zones as analytical tools in indicating and understanding the uneven local-global interactions underlying world-systemic incorporation processes. It argues that the notion of frontier can highlight the role of ‘peripheral agency’ in local-global interactions, revealing incorporation as a negotiated process.
  10. The Paradoxical Relationship between Renewable Energy and Economic Growth: A Cross-National Panel Study, 1990-2013

    This cross-national study employs a time-series cross-sectional Prais-Winsten regression model with panel-corrected standard errors to examine the relationship between renewable energy consumption and economic growth, and its impact on total carbon dioxide emissions and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP. Findings indicate that renewable energy consumption has its largest negative effect on total carbon emissions and carbon emissions per unit of GDP in low-income countries.