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  1. Gabriel Tarde and Contemporary Social Theory

    After a century of obscurity, the work of Gabriel Tarde is once again attracting the attention of social theorists. In particular, Bruno Latour has been a fervent advocate of Tarde’s work as a form of sociology, which, he claims, anticipates actor network theory and which is therefore appropriate for an era of globalization. Rejecting Durkheimian appeals to an autonomous and preformed social reality, Tarde focuses on dynamic and hybrid processes of individual imitation and interaction. This article reexamines the work of Gabriel Tarde to assess the validity of Latour’s interpretation.

  2. Field and Ecology

    This article offers a theoretical comparison between field and ecology, as developed by Pierre Bourdieu and the Chicago School of sociology. While field theory and ecological theory share similar conceptualizations of actors, positions, and relations, and while they converge in their views on structural isomorphism, temporality, and social psychology, they are quite different on several other scores: power and inequality, endogeneity, heterogeneity, metaphorical sources, and abstraction.

  3. Community Sense: The Cohesive Power of Aesthetic Judgment

    Sociologists have undertheorized the role of aesthetic judgment in group identification. The author argues that the communication of aesthetic judgments in face-to-face interaction powerfully works to confirm or deny feelings of group belonging. The author introduces the concept of "community sense," the public face of shared aesthetic judgments that is communicated and upheld within a group. The author illustrates this concept through an ethnographic case study of an erotic arts club, a group predicated on achieving a shared sense of "good" and "bad" taste.

  4. The Habitus and the Critique of the Present: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Bourdieus Social Theory

    I tackle some major criticisms addressed to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus by foregrounding its affinities with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of rule-following. To this end, I first clarify the character of the habitus as a theoretical device, and then elucidate what features of Wittgenstein’s analysis Bourdieu found of interest from a methodological viewpoint. To vindicate this reading, I contend that Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following was meant to unearth the internal connection between rules and the performative activities whereby rules are brought into life.

  5. The Onset of Ethnic War: A General Theory

    This article develops a general theory regarding the onset of ethnic war, starting with two analytic innovations: a mechanism-based approach toward social facts and an emphasis on dynamic interactions. I deploy two meta-mechanisms – the security dilemma/spiral model and intergroup-intragroup interactions – as meta-synthesizers. I then bring together the numerous factors and mechanisms scattered in the literature into a more integrative and dynamic theory of ethnic war by linking factors with immediate drivers of conflictual behavior via the two meta-mechanisms.

  6. The Public Life of Secrets: Deception, Disclosure, and Discursive Framing in the Policy Process

    While secrecy enables policy makers to escape public scrutiny, leaks of classified information reveal the social construction of reality by the state. I develop a theory that explains how leaks shape the discursive frames states create to communicate the causes of social problems to the public and corresponding solutions to redress them. Synthesizing cultural sociology, symbolic interactionism, and ethnomethodology, I argue that leaks enable non–state actors to amplify contradictions between the public and secret behavior of the state.

  7. Does College Influence Sociopolitical Attitudes?

    Past research shows a statistically significant relationship between college completion and sociopolitical attitudes. However, recent scholarship suggests the effects of college on social outcomes may be confounded with unobserved family background. In this study, we leverage the shared family and social background of siblings to better identify the effect of college on sociopolitical attitudes.

  8. Critique of Glenn on Settler Colonialism and Bonilla-Silva on Critical Race Analysis from Indigenous Perspectives

    I critique Glenn’s article on settler colonialism and Bonilla-Silva’s article on critical race analysis from Indigenous perspectives, including racial genocide and world-systems analysis, to cover five centuries of global systemic racism during the conquest of the Americas, by Spanish and English colonizers and United States imperialism. I also propose macro-structural, comparative-historical analysis of racism including the destruction, resistance, and revitalization of Native Nations and American Indians.

  9. Reproducing and Reworking Colorblind Racial Ideology: Acknowledging Childrens Agency in the White Habitus

    What is the relationship between white children’s interpretations of racial phenomena and dominant racial ideology? Do children passively adopt dominant racial ideological positions, the result of a "deep cultural conditioning" that happens to children? Do kids assertively challenge ideologies, rejecting adults’ authoritative worldviews through enacting child agency? Or is something more dialectically complex occurring that includes both reproduction and reinvention?

  10. Institutionalizing Liminality: Jewish Summer Camps and the Boundary Work of Camp Participants

    This article examines ethnic boundary formation by analyzing how former participants in a liminal organization mobilize organizational schemas of identity and practice. I envisage Jewish summer camps as liminal organizations that provide an undifferentiated setup for immersive ethnic engagement within a clearly defined temporal period. I posit that the liminality of camp helps participants overlook the complexities of identity by transmitting organizational schemas without the constraint of structural pressures.