American Sociological Association

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  1. Dual Autonomies, Divergent Approaches: How Stratification in Medical Education Shapes Approaches to Patient Care

    The United States relies on international and osteopathic medical graduates (“non-USMDs”) to fill one third of residency positions because of a shortage of American MD graduates (“USMDs”). Non-USMDs are often informally excluded from top residency positions, while USMDs tend to fill the most prestigious residencies. Little is known, however, about whether the training in these different settings is comparable or how it impacts patients.
  2. Timing Is Everything: Late Registration and Stratified Access to School Choice

    School choice policies necessarily impose registration timelines, constraining access to schools of choice for students who register late. Drawing on administrative data, survey data, and interviews with 33 parents in Boston, we find that late registration is common and highly stratified: Nearly half of black kindergarteners miss the first registration deadline, a rate almost three times higher than their white peers, consigning them to the least preferred schools.
  3. Activism and the Academy

    Cornel West wears many hats: He is a professor (currently Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University), author (of 20 books), film actor (including The Matrix Reloaded), artist (three spoken word albums), and activist (more on this below). And this summer, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of West’s influential book Race Matters. Sociologist Janice McCabe sat down with West in Cambridge to talk about activism and the academy. Here are some highlights from their discussion, edited for length and clarity.

  4. My Body of Work: Promotional Labor and the Bundling of Complementary Work

    What if certain types of work allow workers to earn higher incomes when bundled together? Using qualitative interview data on the careers of sex workers in California, the author argues that workers can attempt to increase overall earnings by taking part in promotional labor: a specific type of labor in which workers strategically bundle complementary forms of work with differing status and income levels to increase overall income.
  5. The Stratified Legitimacy of Abortions

    Roe v. Wade was heralded as an end to unequal access to abortion care in the United States. However, today, despite being common and safe, abortion is performed only selectively in hospitals and private practices. Drawing on 61 interviews with obstetrician-gynecologists in these settings, we examine how they determine which abortions to perform.

  6. Watching the Ethnographers

    Interrogating Ethnography: Why Evidence Matters by Steven Lubet Oxford University Press, 2017 216 pages

  7. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).
  8. The Emergence of Statistical Objectivity: Changing Ideas of Epistemic Vice and Virtue in Science

    The meaning of objectivity in any specific setting reflects historically situated understandings of both science and self. Recently, various scientific fields have confronted growing mistrust about the replicability of findings, and statistical techniques have been deployed to articulate a “crisis of false positives.” In response, epistemic activists have invoked a decidedly economic understanding of scientists’ selves. This has prompted a scientific social movement of proposed reforms, including regulating disclosure of “backstage” research details and enhancing incentives for replication.
  9. Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Health Inequalities: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications

    Link and Phelan (1995) developed the theory of fundamental causes to explain why the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and mortality has persisted despite radical changes in the diseases and risk factors that are presumed to explain it. They proposed that the enduring association results because SES embodies an array of resources, such as money, knowledge, prestige, power, and beneficial social connections that protect health no matter what mechanisms are relevant at any given time.

  10. Beyond Social Contagion: Associative Diffusion and the Emergence of Cultural Variation

    Network models of diffusion predominantly think about cultural variation as a product of social contagion. But culture does not spread like a virus. We propose an alternative explanation we call associative diffusion. Drawing on two insights from research in cognition—that meaning inheres in cognitive associations between concepts, and that perceived associations constrain people’s actions—we introduce a model in which, rather than beliefs or behaviors, the things being transmitted between individuals are perceptions about what beliefs or behaviors are compatible with one another.