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  1. How Religious Composition Around the World Differs between Younger and Older Populations

    This graphic shows differences in the religious composition of people around the world by age group. Religious change caused by demographic processes is more than a hypothetical future possibility. The consequences of demographic differences can be seen today by comparing the religious composition of younger and older populations.

  2. Royall Must Fall: Old and New Battles on the Memory of Slavery in New England

    There is much scholarly and public debate over how slavery should be remembered, especially in the southern United States. We have seen this recently with the case of Charlottesville, Virginia, where protest ensued over a statue of Robert E. Lee. However, attention should also be paid to the history of slavery in the northern United States, particularly in places such as New England, where attempts were made to silence this history.

  3. Political Institutions and the Comparative Medicalization of Abortion

    Comparative-historical research on medicalization is rare and, perhaps for that reason, largely ignores political institutions, which tend to vary more across countries than within them. This article proposes a political-institutional theory of medicalization in which health care policy legacies, political decentralization, and constitutionalism shape the preferences, discourses, strategies, and influence of actors that seek or resist medicalization. The theory helps explain why abortion has been more medicalized in Britain than the United States.

  4. Overflowing Channels: How Democracy Didn’t Work as Planned (and Perhaps a Good Thing It Didn’t)

    When eighteenth-century revolutionary elites set about designing new political orders, they drew on commonplace theoretical understandings of “democracy” as highly undesirable. They therefore designed government institutions in which popular participation was to be extremely limited. The new political constructions, in both France and the United States, never worked as planned. The mobilizations of the revolutionary era did not vanish as the constitutional designers hoped.

  5. Crossing Categorical Boundaries: A Study of Diversification by Social Movement Organizations

    When do protest organizations borrow issues or claims that are outside their traditional domains? Sociologists have examined the consequences of borrowing claims across movement boundaries, but not the antecedents of doing so. We argue that movement boundaries are strong when there is consensus about the core claims of a social movement, which we measure by cohesion and focus. Cohesion and focus enhance the legitimacy of a movement and impede member organizations from adopting claims associated with other movements.

  6. The Advantaged Cause: Affect Control Theory and Social Movements

    The role of grievances in drawing public concern and activist support is a surprisingly understudied topic in modern social movement literature. This research is the first to parse issues into core components to understand whether some grievances are more successful than others in evoking reactions that can benefit social movements.

  7. Towards a Dynamic Theory of Civil Society: The Politics of Forward and Backward Infiltration

    This article develops a conceptual framework to theorize the processes of mutual penetration between civil society, the state, and the economy, where incumbents and challengers continuously formulate new strategies against each other. We criticize the prevailing Weberian and Tocquevillian concepts of civil society, and then, drawing on research in social movements and comparative political economy, propose a new framework: the politics of forward and backward infiltration.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.