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  1. 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.

  2. When Two Bodies Are (Not) a Problem: Gender and Relationship Status Discrimination in Academic Hiring

    Junior faculty search committees serve as gatekeepers to the professoriate and play vital roles in shaping the demographic composition of academic departments and disciplines, but how committees select new hires has received minimal scholarly attention. In this article, I highlight one mechanism of gender inequalities in academic hiring: relationship status discrimination. Through a qualitative case study of junior faculty search committees at a large R1 university, I show that committees actively considered women’s—but not men’s—relationship status when selecting hires.
  3. Planning for Future Care and the End of Life: A Qualitative Analysis of Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Couples

    Two key components of end-of-life planning are (1) informal discussions about future care and other end-of-life preferences and (2) formal planning via living wills and other legal documents. We leverage previous work on the institutional aspects of marriage and on sexual-minority discrimination to theorize why and how heterosexual, gay, and lesbian married couples engage in informal and formal end-of-life planning. We analyze qualitative dyadic in-depth interviews with 45 midlife gay, lesbian, and heterosexual married couples (N = 90 spouses).
  4. Prepare for a Vote: Understanding the Proposed Revision to the ASA Code of Ethics

    At the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Executive Officer Sally Hillsman, met with the Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) and suggested that it was time to revise the Code of Ethics. Revisions were last made to the Code 20 years ago, and a great deal of change had taken place. Regulatory and technological advances have had striking impacts on the field. At the time, the Department of Health and Human Services was about to announce changes to The Common Rule, which governs the vast majority of human subjects research efforts.

  5. I’ve Got My Family and My Faith: Black Women and the Suicide Paradox

    Although existing suicide literature proposes black women’s strong religious ties and social networks protect them against suicide, few studies offer black women’s perceptions. The present study examines the factors black women perceive of as protective against suicide by conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with 33 U.S.-born black women. Results support current suicide literature on the role of social networks and religion in black women’s lives. The results also identify two important factors researchers continue to overlook.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. ASA Signs on to Letter Supporting Federal Data Sources

    The ASA signed on to a letter expressing our strong support for the critical Federal data sources that inform and strengthen our nation’s world-leading economic, educational, democratic and civic institutions and successes. Our Federal statistical and data systems provide information that is uniquely accurate, objective, relevant, timely, and accessible. 

  9. 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.
  10. What’s the Harm? The Coverage of Ethics and Harm Avoidance in Research Methods Textbooks

    Methods textbooks play a role in socializing a new generation of researchers about ethical research. How do undergraduate social research methods textbooks portray harm, its prevalence, and ways to mitigate harm to participants? We conducted a content analysis of ethics chapters in the 18 highest-selling undergraduate textbooks used in sociology research methods courses in the United States and Canada in 2013. We found that experiments are portrayed as the research design most likely to harm participants.