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  1. Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It

    Thomas B. Hoffer reviews Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It by Russell W. Rumberger.

  2. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  3. The High of Cultural Experience: Toward a Microsociology of Cultural Consumption

    Does the experience of cultural consumption have its own sui generis attraction and value in itself, or is it an index of external social ranking? Four criteria are proposed that are observable in microsociological detail: (1) bodily self-absorption in the cultural experience, creating an intense internal interaction ritual; (2) collective effervescence among the audience; (3) Goffmanian front-stage self-presentation in settings of cultural consumption; and (4) verbal discourse during and around the cultural experience.

  4. A Theory of Resonance

    The metaphor of resonance often describes the fit between a message and an audience’s worldviews. Yet scholars have largely ignored the cognitive processes audiences use to interpret messages and interactions that determine why certain messages and other cultural objects appeal to some but not others. Drawing on pragmatism, we argue that resonance occurs as cultural objects help people puzzle through practical challenges they face or construct. We discuss how cognitive distance and the process of emotional reasoning shape the likelihood of cultural resonance.
  5. Inequality in Reading and Math Skills Forms Mainly before Kindergarten: A Replication, and Partial Correction, of “Are Schools the Great Equalizer?”

    When do children become unequal in reading and math skills? Some research claims that inequality grows mainly before school begins. Some research claims that schools cause inequality to grow. And some research—including the 2004 study ‘‘Are Schools the Great Equalizer?’’—claims that inequality grows mainly during summer vacations. Unfortunately, the test scores used in the Great Equalizer study suffered from a measurement artifact that exaggerated estimates of inequality growth. In addition, the Great Equalizer study is dated and its participants are no longer school-aged.
  6. How School Socioeconomic Status Affects Achievement Growth across School Transitions in Early Educational Careers

    Our study investigates how changing socioeconomic status (SES) composition, measured as percentage free and reduced priced lunch (FRL), affects students’ math achievement growth after the transition to middle school. Using the life course framework of cumulative advantage, we investigate how timing, individual FRL status, and legacy effects of a student’s elementary school SES composition each affect a student’s math achievement growth. We advance research on school transitions by considering how changing contexts affect achievement growth across school transitions.
  7. What’s Taking You So Long? Examining the Effects of Social Class on Completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Four Years

    Despite improved access in expanded postsecondary systems, the great majority of bachelor’s degree graduates are taking considerably longer than the allotted four years to complete their four-year degrees. Taking longer to finish one’s BA has become so pervasive in the United States that it has become the norm for official statistics released by the Department of Education to report graduation rates across a six-year window.
  8. Social Networks and Educational Attainment among Adolescents Experiencing Pregnancy

    Pregnant adolescents are a population at risk for dropout and have been found to complete fewer years of education than peers. Pregnant girls’ social experience in school may be a factor in their likelihood to persist, as social integration is thought to buffer dropout risk. Pregnant teens have been found to have fewer friends than their peers, but the academic ramifications of these social differences have yet to be studied. In this study the author examines whether friendship networks are associated with the relationship between adolescent pregnancy and educational attainment.

  9. Text Analysis with JSTOR Archives

    I provide a visual representation of keyword trends and authorship for two flagship sociology journals using data from JSTOR’s Data for Research repository. While text data have accompanied the digital spread of information, it remains inaccessible to researchers unfamiliar with the required preprocessing. The visualization and accompanying code encourage widespread use of this source of data in the social sciences.

  10. It’s Only Wrong If It’s Transactional: Moral Perceptions of Obfuscated Exchange

    A wide class of economic exchanges, such as bribery and compensated adoption, are considered morally disreputable precisely because they are seen as economic exchanges. However, parties to these exchanges can structurally obfuscate them by arranging the transfers so as to obscure that a disreputable exchange is occurring at all.