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  1. Ecometrics in the Age of Big Data: Measuring and Assessing "Broken Windows" Using Large-scale Administrative Records

    The collection of large-scale administrative records in electronic form by many cities provides a new opportunity for the measurement and longitudinal tracking of neighborhood characteristics, but one that will require novel methodologies that convert such data into research-relevant measures. The authors illustrate these challenges by developing measures of "broken windows" from Boston’s constituent relationship management (CRM) system (aka 311 hotline).

  2. Seeing Like the Fed: Culture, Cognition, and Framing in the Failure to Anticipate the Financial Crisis of 2008

    Seeing Like the Fed: Culture, Cognition, and Framing in the Failure to Anticipate the Financial Crisis of 2008
  3. How to Do Ethnography Right

    Selected essays from the Contexts forum on ethnographic best practices explore the practice of ethnographic "masking," IRBs and legal counsel, and gaining access to vulnerable populations.

  4. Enchanting Self-discipline: Methodical Reflexivity and the Search for the Supernatural in Charismatic Christian Testimonial Practice

    Social science has long operated under the assumption that enchantment, seeking out this-worldly manifestations of the supernatural, impedes the cultivation of self-discipline. How, then, to account for a Christian brotherhood whose testimonial practice is at once enchanting and disciplining of the self?
  5. The Uses of Ambiguity in Sociological Theorizing: Three Ethnographic Approaches

    Claims of causality and generalizability are the primary means through which sociologists triumph over ambiguity. Yet ambiguity also has significant uses in the process of theorizing.
  6. Review Essays: How to Think like an Economic Sociologist

    According to Google Scholar, over his long and distinguished career Mark Granovetter has written a remarkable number of “blockbuster” publications, with two very influential articles at the top of the list: “The Strength of Weak Ties” (Granovetter 1973) and “Economic Action and Social Structure” (Granovetter 1985). These have generated more than 43,000 (!!) and 34,000 (!) citations, respectively. Even without Google Scholar’s “big data,” however, almost all sociologists would recognize Granovetter’s seminal contributions to network analysis and economic sociology, among other topics.
  7. Conformers, Adaptors, Imitators, and Rejecters: How No-excuses Teachers’ Cultural Toolkits Shape Their Responses to Control

    In the past, sociologists have provided keen insights into the work of teaching, but classic studies by scholars like Dan Lortie and Willard Waller are now decades old. With the current emphasis on teacher evaluation and accountability, the field is ripe for new sociological studies of teaching. How do we understand the work of teaching in this new context of control? In this article, I use the case of an urban, ‘‘no-excuses’’ charter school to examine how teachers responded to the school’s intensive effort to socialize them into a uniform set of disciplinary practices.
  8. Surviving at the Street Level: How Counselors’ Implementation of School Choice Policy Shapes Students’ High School Destinations

    Given the dominance of residentially based school assignment, prior researchers have conceptualized K–12 enrollment decisions as beyond the purview of school actors. This paper questions the continued relevance of this assumption by studying the behavior of guidance counselors charged with implementing New York City’s universal high school choice policy.
  9. All That Is Solid: Bench-Building at the Frontiers of Two Experimental Sciences

    The belief that natural sciences are more scientific than the social sciences has been well documented in the perceptions of both lay and scientific populations. Influenced by the Kuhnian concept of "paradigm development" and empirical studies on the closure of scientific controversies, scholars from divergent traditions associate scientific development with increased consensus and stability. However, both the macro/quantitative and micro/qualitative approaches are limited in key ways.

  10. “On Culture, Politics, and Poverty”

    The Great Recession, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter: all have helped raise public consciousness around issues of economic disadvantage. Leading figures from both major political parties have debated these issues, and the popular media has reported on a wide variety of stories relating to poverty and inequality. Everyday conversations among millions of Americans now include casual references to the 1%—and the 99%.