American Sociological Association

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  1. Contending with Capitalism: Fatwas and Neoliberal Ideology

    Neoliberal economic theorists posit that the economic sphere is to be differentiated from the social world and governed by its own rationality that is distinct from religious, ethical, social, or political considerations.
  2. Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

    At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits.
  3. School-to-Work Linkages, Educational Mismatches, and Labor Market Outcomes

    A recurring question in public and scientific debates is whether occupation-specific skills enhance labor market outcomes. Is it beneficial to have an educational degree that is linked to only one or a small set of occupations? To answer this question, we generalize existing models of the effects of (mis)match between education and occupation on labor market outcomes. Specifically, we incorporate the structural effects of linkage strength between school and work, which vary considerably across industrialized countries.
  4. Scaling Down Inequality: Rating Scales, Gender Bias, and the Architecture of Evaluation

    Quantitative performance ratings are ubiquitous in modern organizations—from businesses to universities—yet there is substantial evidence of bias against women in such ratings. This study examines how gender inequalities in evaluations depend on the design of the tools used to judge merit.
  5. Basic Income and the Pitfalls of Randomization

    This essay evaluates the state of the debate around basic income, a controversial and much-discussed policy proposal. I explore its contested meaning and consider its potential impact. I provide a summary of the randomized guaranteed income experiments from the 1970s, emphasizing how experimental methods using scattered sets of isolated participants cannot capture the crucial social factors that help to explain changes in people’s patterns of work.
  6. At the Foot of the Grave: Challenging Collective Memories of Violence in Post-Franco Spain

    Understanding the development and meaning of collective memory is a central interest for sociologists. One aspect of this literature focuses on the processes that social movement actors use to introduce long-silenced counter-memories of violence to supplant the “official” memory. To examine this, I draw on 15 months of ethnographic observations with the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) and 200 informal and 30 formal interviews with locals and activists.
  7. Performative State-Formation in the Early American Republic

    How do proto-state organizations achieve an initial accumulation of power, such that they are in a position to grow (or shrink) as an organization, maintain their prestige (or lose it), and be viewed, by elite and populace, as something real and consequential that can be argued about, supported, or attacked?
  8. Elusive Events

    The purpose of What Is an Event? by Robin Wagner-Pacifici is to “build a model for the analysis of events in general” (p. 3). To this end, it develops an “analytical apparatus, termed political semiosis,” the “basic features” of which are “performatives, demonstratives, and representations” (Chapter 1). At the forefront of this endeavor is the attempt to understand how “events take shape” (pp. 10, 83, 91, 109, 140) given the “grounds from which they erupt” (p. 48) and the “ruptures” that set them off (p. 105).
  9. Comment on Barbara Risman’s review of Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy

    The habit of contesting criticisms in print is one I have never acquired, in part because I am committed to the democracy and pace of scholarly debate. Nothing attracted me more to the sociological life than the opportunity to wrestle with ideas. But that is why I feel compelled to respond to Risman’s apoplectic interpretation of Cheap Sex. The reader learns next to nothing about what is actually in the book. Her remarks display far less interest in wrestling with ideas than in ad hominem assaults and sarcastic guesses at my character, values, and motives.
  10. Is Recreational Sex a Social Problem? Or, What’s Wrong with Kids Today?

    Decades have passed since we liberated normative sex from the confines of heterosexual marriage. But the divorce of sexual activity from romantic relationships among young people is still the topic of much debate. Both American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, by Lisa Wade, and Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy, by Mark Regnerus, address what’s happening with sex and relationships today; and although they identify similar trends, their analyses could not be more different.