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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Book Review: Journey into Social Activism: Qualitative Approaches

    In a preliminary content analysis of articles in the top social movement journals, Atkinson finds that scholars of social activism typically use a broad range of qualitative research methodologies. However, scholars of activism rarely elaborate on the methods they use. Similarly, previous research has largely failed to bring together and critically assess the qualitative methodologies used to study social activism.
  4. Career Funneling: How Elite Students Learn to Define and Desire ''Prestigious" Jobs

    Elite universities are credited as launch points for the widest variety of meaningful careers. Yet, year after year at the most selective universities, nearly half the graduating seniors head to a surprisingly narrow band of professional options. Over the past few decades, this has largely been into the finance and consulting sectors, but increasingly it also includes high-tech firms. This study uses a cultural-organizational lens to show how student cultures and campus structures steer large portions of anxious and uncertain students into high-wealth, high-status occupational sectors.

  5. Alumni from Britain’s Top Private Schools Are 94 Times More Likely to Reach Elite Positions

    The alumni of nine leading private schools are 94 times more likely to reach the most powerful elite positions in British society than those who attended any other school, according to a unique historical analysis of Who’s Who led by researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  6. Sweet and Sour: Social Networks and Inequality in a Chinese Restaurant

    The author examines how immigrant networks and labor segmentation by race and gender facilitate inequality in immigrant-owned restaurants. The author conducted three months of participant observation at an immigrant-owned restaurant and supplemental interviews with 18 workers and owners at similar restaurants in Austin, Texas. Labor segmentation by gender and race resulted in varied degrees of wage inequality, surveillance, and exposure to hazardous working conditions.
  7. 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.

  8. Shadow Capital: The Democratization of College Preparatory Education

    In this article, we examine the manifestation and consequences of shadow capital within two public, urban, nonselective, college preparatory–designated high schools serving exclusively nondominant students. Informed by three years of ethnographic data, we argue that the transference of a historically elite college preparatory education from dominant institutions to nondominant schools results in fundamental changes to the dominant capital it is expected to yield.
  9. Support for Beauty-Status Exchange Remains Illusory

    American Sociological Review, Volume 82, Issue 5, Page 1100-1110, October 2017.
  10. Eliciting Frontstage and Backstage Talk with the Iterated Questioning Approach

    This article advances interviewing methods by introducing the authors’ original contribution: the iterated questioning approach (IQA). This interviewing technique augments the interviewer’s methodological arsenal by exploiting insights from symbolic interactionism, particularly Goffman’s concepts of frontstage and backstage. IQA consists of sequenced iterations of a baseline question designed to elicit multiple forms of talk.