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  1. Whose Backyard and Whats at Issue? Spatial and Ideological Dynamics of Local Opposition to Fracking in New York State, 2010 to 2013

    What drives local decisions to prohibit industrial land uses? This study examines the passage of municipal ordinances prohibiting gas development using hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in New York State. I argue that local action against fracking depended on multiple conceptions of the shale gas industry.

  2. Comment: On the Association between Sequences in GIMSA

    We can think of three basic principles of classificatory judgment for comparing things and people. I call these judgments nominal (oriented to essence), cardinal (oriented to quantities), and ordinal (oriented to relative positions). Most social orders throughout history are organized around the intersection of these different types. In line with the ideals of political liberalism, however, democratic societies have developed an arsenal of institutions to untangle nominal and ordinal judgments in various domains of social life.

  3. Soldiers of the Cross: Calvinism, Humanitarianism, and the Genesis of Social Fields

    Field theory largely treats the cultural dimensions of social fields as an emergent property of their objective structures. In this article, I reconsider the role of culture in fields by studying how the logics that govern their emergence develop. As a study case, I examine the rise of the field of transnational humanitarianism by focusing on the early endeavors of the International Committee of the Red Cross (established 1863).

  4. On the Sociology of Occasions

    This article fills a long-standing gap, proposing a framework for what Goffman called for in 1967’s Interaction Ritual: a sociology of occasions. Occasions are omnipresent throughout the sociological literature yet are often only casually analyzed. The author proposes a perspective that solidifies occasions as a basic unit of sociological analysis. This proposal offers a framework based on (1) four resources, (2) three patterns, and (3) five properties. These simple and interlocking tools situate the occasion as a valuable and adaptable sociological focus.

  5. Summer 2016 Contexts online free until November 17

    Dateline: Seattle. Sitting together at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference, we’re reminded (not that we really needed reminding) that sociologists do a really good job of documenting and analyzing so many different facets of our social world. While the last issue was themed “Good News,” this issue is a cornucopia of sociological goodness.

  6. Dignity and Dreams: What the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Means to Low-Income Families

    Money has meaning that shapes its uses and social significance, including the monies low-income families draw on for survival: wages, welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This study, based on in-depth interviews with 115 low-wage EITC recipients, reveals the EITC is an unusual type of government transfer. Recipients of the EITC say they value the debt relief this government benefit brings. However, they also perceive it as a just reward for work, which legitimizes a temporary increase in consumption.

  7. “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.

  8. Ordinalization: Lewis A. Coser Memorial Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting 2014

    We can think of three basic principles of classificatory judgment for comparing things and people. I call these judgments nominal (oriented to essence), cardinal (oriented to quantities), and ordinal (oriented to relative positions). Most social orders throughout history are organized around the intersection of these different types. In line with the ideals of political liberalism, however, democratic societies have developed an arsenal of institutions to untangle nominal and ordinal judgments in various domains of social life.

  9. The Privatization of Political Representation: Community-Based Organizations as Nonelected Neighborhood Representatives

    In an era of public-private partnerships, what role do nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) play in urban governance? Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Boston, this article presents a new way to understand CBOs’ political role in poor neighborhoods: CBOs as nonelected neighborhood representatives. Over the course of four years, I followed nine CBOs in six Boston neighborhoods as they planned community development projects. The CBOs in my study superseded elected politicians as the legitimate representatives of poor urban neighborhoods.