Sociological Forum

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1573-7861
Print ISSN: 0884-8971
We explore the content and correlates of older adults' end-of-life treatment preferences in two hypothetical terminal illness scenarios: severe physical pain with no cognitive impairment, and severe cognitive impairment with no physical pain. For each scenario, we assess whether participants would reject life-prolonging treatment, accept treatment, or do not know their preferences. Using data from the 2004 wave of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (N = 5,106), we estimate multinomial logistic regression models to evaluate whether treatment preferences are associated with direct experience with end-of-life issues, personal beliefs, health, and sociodemographic characteristics. Persons who have made formal end-of-life preparations, persons with no religious affiliation, mainline Protestants, and persons who are pessimistic about their own life expectancy are more likely to reject treatment in both scenarios. Women and persons who witnessed the painful death of a loved one are more likely to reject treatment in the cognitive impairment scenario only. Consistent with rational choice perspectives, our results suggest that individuals prefer treatments that they perceive to have highly probable desirable consequences for both self and family.
Motivated by the dramatic increase in autism diagnoses in recent years, research into risk factors has uncovered substantial variation in autism prevalence by race/ethnicity, SES, and geography. Less studied is the connection between autism diagnosis rates and the social and political context. In this article, we link the temporal pattern of autism diagnosis for Hispanic children in California to state and federal anti-immigrant policy, particularly ballot initiative Proposition 187, limiting access to public services for undocumented immigrants and their families. Using a population-level dataset of 1992-2003 California births linked to 1992-2006 autism case records, we show that the effects of state and federal policies toward immigrants are visible in the rise and fall of autism risk over time. The common epidemiological practice of estimating risk on pooled samples is thereby shown to obscure patterns and mis-estimate effect sizes. Finally, we illustrate how spatial variation in Hispanic autism rates reflects differential vulnerability to these policies. This study reveals not only the spillover effects of immigration policy on children's health, but also the hazards of treating individual attributes like ethnicity as risk factors without regard to the social and political environments that give them salience.
The transmission of social disadvantage from teenage mothers to their children is well established, but when and why do these disparities emerge in the early life course? Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, this study investigated the relationship between teen childbearing and children's cognition, behavior, and health from infancy through preschool. Developmental disparities between teenage mothers' children and others were largely nonexistent at 9 months but accumulated with age. Having a teenage mother predicted compromised development across several domains by age 4½. Our conceptual model expected preexisting disadvantage, ongoing resource disadvantage, and compromised parenting quality to explain the association between teen childbearing and child outcomes. Preexisting social disadvantage accounted for much of this relationship. Financial, social, and material resources in the child's household partially or fully explained each of the remaining significant relationships between teenage childbearing and child outcomes. Parenting quality explained a smaller proportion of these relationships than did resources, and these factors' influences were largely independent. Because children of teenage mothers with a modest set of resources were not predicted to have compromised development, resources provided in early childhood may have the potential to reduce developmental disparities for teenage mothers' children.
Science on emerging environmental health threats involves numerous ethical concerns related to scientific uncertainty about conducting, interpreting, communicating, and acting upon research findings, but the connections between ethical decision making and scientific uncertainty are under-studied in sociology. Under conditions of scientific uncertainty, researcher conduct is not fully prescribed by formal ethical codes of conduct, increasing the importance of ethical reflection by researchers, conflicts over research conduct, and reliance on informal ethical standards. This paper draws on in-depth interviews with scientists, regulators, activists, industry representatives, and fire safety experts to explore ethical considerations of moments of uncertainty using a case study of flame retardants, chemicals widely used in consumer products with potential negative health and environmental impacts. We focus on the uncertainty that arises in measuring people's exposure to these chemicals through testing of their personal environments or bodies. We identify four sources of ethical concerns relevant to scientific uncertainty: 1) choosing research questions or methods, 2) interpreting scientific results, 3) communicating results to multiple publics, and 4) applying results for policy-making. This research offers lessons about professional conduct under conditions of uncertainty, ethical research practice, democratization of scientific knowledge, and science's impact on policy.
We examine the institutions that comprise the U.S. health system and their relationship to a surging immigrant population. The clash between the system and this human flow originates in the large number of immigrants who are unauthorized, poor, and uninsured and, hence, unable to access a system largely based on ability to pay. Basic concepts from sociological theory are brought to bear on the analysis of this clash and its consequences. Data from a recently completed study of health institutions in three areas of the United States are used as an empirical basis to illustrate various aspects of this complex relation. Implications of our results for theory and future health policy are discussed.
My presidential address looked back at the gendered imagery of American heroes and warriors, Muslim terrorists, and oppressed Islamic women as they appeared in comparatively sophisticated media sources in the first 6 months after September 11. The imagery was conventionally gendered, but the actions of women and men reported in the same sources showed multiple gendering—heterogeneity within homogeneity. Making this multiplicity of gendering visible blurs and undermines gender lines and the inequities built on them. The social constructions of heroism, masculinity, and Islamic womanhood are core parts of the gender politics of September 11, a politics deeply embedded in the current debates over the causes and consequences of terrorism and war.
Recent studies have challenged a long-prevailing notion that free women held unusually high economic status in colonial America. The present study tests a corresponding idea that the 19th century afforded American women fewer occupational opportunities, with a resulting loss in freedom and status. Drawing from a large and broad sample of newspapers, we examine the distribution of occupational pursuits and changes in this distribution over time, and then compare these findings with observations from an earlier study for the 18th century. The theoretical implications of the findings are discussed in terms of the ideology of separate spheres, increasing divorce patterns, and the growth of the midwestern frontier.
Recent research on the expansion of overall church membership in the United States has led to conflicting conclusions as to whether religious diversity or monopoly increases participation. This investigation helps resolve the debate by distinguishing among different religious traditions. It is hypothesized that differences in participation can be traced to racial, ethnic, and doctrinal divisions, and moreover, that these divisions also provide the contingent conditions under which competition or monopoly effects operate. Using pooled cross-sectional time series, comparisons center on Catholics, Baptists, and Mainline denominations. Separate analyses are presented for white and black Baptists, and for the Northern Baptist Convention that emerged in the early 20th century as a relatively liberal Baptist denomination. The results suggest that ecumenical and liberal religious traditions did accompany religious diversity, but membership in such churches grew very slowly. In contrast, groups that faced discrimination as well as those that shielded themselves from progressive currents of modernism sustained high rates of growth. Their monopoly situations are evident in the low religious diversity of counties in which they grew (as well as by low ethnic or racial diversity) and by their increasing spatial concentration over time.
A brief review of the evolutionism of Comte, Marx, Spencer, and Durkheim, representatives of the Masters, reveals an excessive concern with the integration of differentiation. This represents their most common feature, but neither it nor anything else adds up to a definite evolutionary theory. An antithetical convergence, with Comte excluded, refers to a varying utilization of the Darwinian mechanism, natural selection. It is not clear, however, that the masters fully grasped the meaning of natural selection, or indeed that this could be understood unequivocally. As a result they failed to convey unambiguously a fundamental interest in evolution to subsequent generations of social scientists. A period of estrangement from evolutionary theory ensued in which the focus seemed to shift from social evolution to social change. By the 1950s, sociology and anthropology experienced a revival of evolutionary interest largely in the form of a reiteration of old conceptions and problems. A critical glance at evolutionary biology reveals, next, an ambiguity in the concept of natural selection when understood as ultimate cause and mechanism of evolution. The basic significance of the evolutionistic alliance known as sociobiology lies in the latter's partial redressing of the ambiguity by way of the maximization principle. Equally important, indeed complementary, is the sociobiological appeal to the social sciences for help to discover the environmental parameters that impinge on the principle — and thus for a contribution to the development of a biocultural model. A few examples of biocultural theorizing follow that show varying degrees of systemic dependence between the biological and the cultural. The basic nomothetic thrust of the emerging biocultural model is to emphasize the adaptive paths along which cultural phenomena are likely to evolve.
The political role of Shi'i religion in the tobacco movement of 1890–1892 against the Qajar state and a British company in Iran is considered. Using this historically significant event, this article pursues a dual objective. First, it makes a modest attempt to clarify the connection between ideology and class action. The utility of conceiving ideology as a discourse, a set of general principles and concepts, rituals and symbols that shape class action, is suggested. Second, after summarizing and criticizing the existing explanations of Shi'i politics in the 19th century, it offers an alternative interpretation of the oppositional role of Shi'ism in the politics of late 19th-century Iran. I argue that in the tobacco movement Shi'i Islam constituted a language for addressing the problem of British domination; it transcended class differences and provided an effective tactic for mobilizing support against a British monopoly. The merchants' capacity to act was not simply the result of their organization and resources but was enhanced by Shi'i discourse.
Recent work on gender and technology debunks the claim that household technologies have liberated women from domestic work. The history of telephone use in North America suggests, however, that global conclusions about gender and consumer technologies may be misleading. Although marketed primarily as a business instrument and secondarily as an instrument to facilitate housework, the telephone was, in a sense, appropriated by women for social and personal ends. This paper explores the affinity of women for the telephone, how women in the half-century before World War II used the telephone, and why. It suggests that there is a class of technologies that women have exploited for their own, gender-linked, social and personal ends.
Ten Lashes for Assaulter of Girl: 13-Year Old Girl Victim of Negro [headline in London Free Press, 3 October 1931]. If [John] Butler had committed his crime in the southern states, he would not likely be here to stand trial. It is fortunate for him that he is under the British flag, where he can get a fair trial in a fair manner and is not subject to the punishment of the masses. "Crimes of this kind (if they continue) would break down the social system and the whole religious training of children" (sentencing magistrate).
This study examines articles published in theAmerican Journal of Sociology (AJS) from its inception in 1895 through 1935 in a search for contributions that have escaped the attention of most contemporary sociologists. The articles reviewed here provide a glimpse of a less well-known, and sometimes more unseemly, side of American sociological history. My primary focus is on the criticism of the emergent discipline, the extraordinary diversity of thought found in the earlyAJS, and antiquated or prescient ideas, particularly in the fields of deviance, race, and gender.
Using data from the 1910 and 1930 Censuses of Population, this paper examines how patterns of industrial change in American's five largest cities conditioned occupational opportunities for men and women. Theoretically, cities are conceptualized as independent dimensions of the nation's stratification system. Men and women in the early part of this century, then, confronted widely varying sets of occupational possibilities depending upon where they were located with respect to the spatial division of labor in the country. Results from a shift-share analysis show that the sexual division of labor in the United States was a function of, among other things, the territorial division of labor in the country.
Why does the perception of Americans as conformists disappear after 1970 while the idea of a need for community persists? The literatures of social criticism, self-help, and the social scientific analysis of American character reveal a change in the paradigm used to understand individual–society relationships. A model that assumed the inevitability of conflict between the individual and society has been replaced by one that sees individual selves as possible only within society. For this relational or embedded self, both conformity and alienation are ever present, and community is a matter of personal choice. Hence, conformity ceases to be an issue, and the nature of individual ties to the broader community remains problematic. Some possible causes and implications of this paradigm shift are suggested.
In the early 1920s, millions of American men and women joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. As the movement expanded, it became heavily involved in local, state, and national politics. The Klan became the center of controversy at the Democratic National Convention of 1924. An anti-Klan faction proposed a plank to the party platform that, if accepted, would have condemned the Ku Klux Klan by name. After a raucous debate, the plank was defeated by a narrow margin. In this paper I analyze state-level variation in support for the Klan at the convention. Klan support is predicted by delegates' support for prohibition, by party competitiveness in non-Southern states, and by a three-way interaction between increasing numbers of voters, increasing numbers of manufacturing workers, and decreasing farm population within the states. The findings support predictions generated by the status politics model, political mediation theory, and the power devaluation model. I conclude the paper by discussing ways in which the central insights of the status politics model and of political mediation theory can be incorporated into the general framework of the power devaluation model.
There have been few studies of the concept of double jeopardy as it pertains to the effects of gender and aging on occupational outcomes. This research examines the utility of this concept in the field of film acting, traditionally a gender-integrated occupation. The results confirm significant negative effects of being female and being older on the number of film roles received by actors and their average star presence. Moreover, the gendered effects of aging on the career opportunities of actors have diminished somewhat over time with respect to number of film roles but not with respect to star presence.
The involvement of the power elite in social movements has been a neglected area of research. The investigation of elites has generally been limited to that of local elites, political parties, and philanthropic foundations, and their involvement in social movements is believed limited to resource support (either to further or deter the progress of an insurgent social movement) or the institutional obstruction or facilitation of the movement. I contend that under specific conditions, the power elite may become active mobilizers, leaders, and supporters of countermovements (movements to deter insurgent movements). These conditions arise during periods of heightened insurgent movement activity and when the efficacy of institutional channels to safeguard or advance the interests of the power elite is reduced. This is illustrated in the case of the Associated Farmers of California, Inc., a countermovement aimed at interfering with and obstructing the attempts of farmworkers to strike and unionize during the 1930s by enlisting citizens and citizen groups as anti-unionization shock troops. It also opposed New Deal policies and legislation. The mobilization of nonelites into the Associated Farmers originated in and was carried out by agricultural and industrial elite of California to advance their own interests. Citizens allied with the Associated Farmers either because of ideological alignment with their goals or dependence on their economic activities. The theoretical ramifications of this example will be explored.
This article uses six propositions developed from the resource mobilization and political opportunity structure approaches to social movements in order to highlight the importance of external resources and political environment in explaining the emergence, development, and decline of the Unemployed Councils—the major organization of the unemployed workers movement of the 1930s. The analysis emphasizes the dominance of the Communist Party on the inner life of the Councils but notes both the important exceptions to that dominance and the social functions served by that dominance. The analysis also suggests that conflicts among elites opened up the political space for short-term political concessions on the local, state, and national levels. Because Council leaders did not perceive the changing political opportunities of the New Deal, however, they were unable to consolidate these concessions nor build stable organizations among the working class. These conclusions speak to several unresolved or problematic issues in both resource mobilization and political opportunity structure approaches.
The existing literature on the impact of the state on the associational order has emphasized the state's concern on the implications of the associational order to the public goods and the role of the associational order as a policy tool of the state. However, few studies have investigated what particular characters of the state shape the pattern of the associational order. Through a historical analysis, this study highlights three important factors related to the state that contributed to the the rise of the associational order in Japan during the Great Depression and World War II. First, the shift of the state preference from protecting the liberties of private enterprises toward maintaining political stability in economic crisis and controlling resource allocation in war was the ultimate driving force behind the rise of associational order. Second, the constitutional order of the Japanese state, which involves not only the organization, composition, powers, and limitation of the state's executive, legislative, and jurisdictional branches, but also the people's liberties defined by the constitution, was strongly influenced by the continental legal tradition. This structurally shaped the Japanese pattern of the associational order. Third, the institutionalized legal and economic beliefs of property rights provided ideological support to the rise of the associational order.
We examine how mainstream sociology has used race as an explanatory factor by examining papers in the American Sociological Review between 1937 and 1999. We find a dramatic increase in the likelihood that sociologists will take race into account, and we suggest that methodological innovations are largely responsible for creating an environment in which it is taken for granted that analysts in many fields will control for race. This pattern of usage may reinforce an implicit conception of racial differences that we call broad but shallow, in that race is expected to matter almost everywhere, but its effect can be neutralized by the addition of a control.
The impact of female labor force participation (FLFP) on suicide has been debated from two opposed paradigms. From the stand-point of Gibbs and Martin's status integration theory, FLFP creates stress for both husbands and wives, and so should increase suicide due to role conflict and overload. In contrast, from the position of role accumulation/expansion theory, the benefits of FLFP such as higher incomes outweigh the costs and, hence, suicide should be decreased by FLFP. The present paper formulates a third, synthetic view on the effects of FLFP on suicide based on the cultural context surrounding FLFP. Control variables are included from the domestic integration and economic paradigms. A time series analysis finds that given the antipathy towards FLFP in the culture of the 1948–1963 period, FLFP increased both male and female rates of suicide as suggested by status integration theory. In contrast, during the 1964–1980 period, an emancipation era characterized by gender role change and cultural supports for FLFP, there was no relationship between FLFP and female suicide. However, while the role accumulation/expansionist position is supported for the case of contemporary female suicide, it is not supported for male suicide. For the contemporary male it is contended that the costs for FLFP still outweigh the benefits, a situation which contributes to male suicide potential.
This paper explores Hout's (1980) conceptual model of the development–fertility relationship under trade dependency of Hispanic America, 1950–1990. The results of this study are that the effects of development and dependency on fertility are consistent with Hout's (1980) theory and his findings and that his positive development dependency interaction term is not replicated. Thus, the well-known long-term negative effect of development might have been misspecified in Hout's model. In contrast to Hout's findings, our results based on all models support that as dependency increased, the long-term negative effect of development on fertility increased in magnitude for Hispanic America. Hence, the findings of this study suggest that the fertility transition for Hispanic America can occur based on an explanation that is alternative to what world system theorists' have so far offered.
If the 1950s are remembered for conformity, the 1960s for rebellious individualism, and the 1970s for narcissistic individualism, images of the 1980s contain an ambiguous mixture of individualism and conformity, with similarities to the 1950s. But if the 1980s resemble the 1950s in some respects, are portraits of individualism and conformity in the later decade nevertheless different from their earlier incarnations? A comparative analysis of best-selling self-help books in the 1950s and the 1980s reveals the following changes: from maturity as a desirable end to an ever-changing self; from determinism about the self to antideterminism and constructionism; from institutional constraints and joys to interpersonal ones. These changes reflect the incorporation of ideas from the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and may also stem from perceptions of a simultaneous increase in structural determinism and individual empowerment.
This paper examines the relationship between traditions of social action and patterns of organizational development, using data on the formation of national African American protest, advocacy, and service organizations between 1955 and 1985. Following research in organizational ecology, Poisson regression is used to examine the association between organizational density and organizational formation across strategic forms. The results provide some support for the idea that interorganizational influences are important in shaping the contours of the African American social movement industry. Outside funding, internal organizational capacities and protest levels also play a significant role.
Examinations of executive turnover have analyzed whether poor organizational performance predicts changing leadership. However, few have examined environmental factors affecting turnover. Applying event history analysis to a random sample of California hospitals, we find that poor performance prompts executive turnover and that the legal environment impacts turnover in three ways. First, the legal form of hospitals shapes evaluation and replacement of executives. Second, a shift in the legal definition of not-for-profit hospitals affects turnover. Finally, turnover increases when hospitals change from for-profit to not-for-profit and vice versa. These findings persist in the presence of numerous control variables.
We combine a historical case study approach with a multivariate time series analysis to examine one of the consequences of the decline of the steel industry in Lake County, Indiana, from 1964 to 1993. Specifically, we investigate how deindustrialization contributed to the county's impoverishment, measured by the percentage of the population receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). We find that the loss of manufacturing jobs, especially steel jobs, triggered a rise in AFDC recipiency rates. The growth in service jobs during the period does little to offset the negative impact of lost steel jobs. We further find that the deleterious impact of lost steel jobs on AFDC recipiency is greatest after 1980, the period of heaviest job loss in Lake County's steel industry. These results persist even after including several control variables that represent plausible alternative explanations for Lake County's rise in AFDC recipiency. We discuss the implications of our analyses for better understanding the link between deindustrialization and poverty.
In recent years scholars have identified racial disparities in wealth and home ownership as crucial factors underlying patterns of racial inequality and residential segregation in American metropolitan housing markets. While numerous federal housing policies have been identified as responsible for reinforcing residential segregation and racial inequalities in home ownership, little research has focused on the segregative effects of the Section 235 program. As one component of the 1968 Housing Act, Section 235 was designed to shift the focus of federal housing policy away from dispensing aid to local housing authorities for building public housing to providing direct supply-side subsidies to the private sector to stimulate home ownership for nonwhites and the poor. Archival and census data, government reports and housing analyses, and oral histories and interviews are used to examine the segregative effects of the Section 235 program in Kansas City, Missouri from 1969 through the early 1970s. Findings indicate that while the housing subsidy program allowed a vast majority of participating white families to purchase new housing in suburban areas, most participating African American families purchased existing homes located in racially transitional neighborhoods in the inner city. These findings corroborate recent research showing how the market-centered focus of federal housing policy has impaired the ability of African Americans to accumulate wealth through home ownership and reinforced racially segregative housing patterns.
This paper investigates the determinants of labor force participation of women living in male-headed households in Seoul, South Korea, at two points in time, 1970 and 1980. Analysis of data from the 1970 and 1980 Korean Population Censuses suggests that both women's educational level and the family economic status determine women's labor force participation in Seoul. Women with middle school education or above are more economically active than those with no education. Women from lower economic backgrounds are almost two to three times more likely to be employed than those in high-status families, controlling for age, number of children under 6, and marital status. However, this pattern is not found among women from the blue-collar wage-working families.
This paper addresses causes and consequences of sociological interest in gender stratification after 1970. The most recent women's movement spurred empirical research on the topic but development of a general theory was slowed by accidents of disciplinary history. A theory of preindustrial gender stratification that leans on anthropology is therefore used to interpret trends that occur during industrialization. This analysis helps to explain why trends in mortality, education, fertility, women's labor force participation, and men's household participation should continue to improve women's status relative to the status of men.
The cultural context affects the relationship between women's involvement in the labor force and the odds of suicide for both men and women. In this study, we examine this relationship in Canada in 1971 and then again in 1981, when cultural conditions were significantly different. Two hypotheses are evaluated: (1) in 1971 the effects of married female labor force participation increase suicide risk for both men and women, due to the relative antipathy of society toward women's participation in the labor force; and (2) in 1981 the effects of married female labor force participation decrease the risk of suicide for both sexes, for there are net positive gains (psychic and material) in a context of widespread acceptance of women's involvement in the paid economy. The empirical analysis provides support for these two hypotheses.
Studies have shown that attitudes toward abortion are polarizing. Yet, these studies have not focused upon what is often assumed to be the cause of polarization—religion. In this paper I find that polarization has increased between mainline and evangelical Protestants, as well as between black Protestants and both Catholics and white evangelicals. Moreover, I find that mainline Protestants and Catholics are internally polarizing. Finally, while I cannot determine the cause of the internal polarization of Catholics, the polarization within mainline Protestantism is caused by demographic changes. For white evangelicals, demographic changes have restrained polarization that would otherwise have occurred.
The middle class is central to American political life, yet the political alignment of this occupationally diverse class is unclear. This paper proposes an ideal-typical scheme of alignment structures for the middle class that incorporates several major theories of middle-class politics. Using data from the General Social Surveys and employing Multiple Correspondence Analysis, this framework is used as the basis for comparing the observed pattern of political alignments among middle-class occupations in two recent periods, 1974–1978 and 1989–1994. In the earlier period, the middle class was clearly segmented into liberal, conservative, and centrist groups in a way that accorded with established sociological descriptions. By the second period, this clear segmentation had largely broken down. Much of this breakdown occurred on the political right. The paper concludes with a discussion of this finding.
This study examines the relationship between the Philadelphia elite and upper class in 1975. Much of this study is a historical replication of Baltzell's 1958 analysis of the Philadelphia elite and upper class in 1940. Data on the occupations, educational affiliations, club memberships, and religious affiliations of upper class and nonupper class members of the Philadelphia elite of 1975 generally are comparable to those presented by Baltzell for 1940. Yet the proportion of the elite that is upper class is smaller than in Baltzell's analysis, and holds a smaller proportion of all corporate directorships reported by the elite, including directorships in major Philadelphia banks. These latter data support the assertion that the Philadelphia upper class lost some of its influence in the decades after World War II.
Incidence of business model and related management terms, 1975-2000. Note: For each term, we included searches on stem words and variations (e.g., business model and models). Data for business policy and management strategy are not included. The trend for business policy parallels that for business plan and shows 22 mentions total. The trend for management strategy parallels that for business strategy, but also at more modest counts-130 mentions total.
Keywords chronicle and capture cultural change by creating common categories of meaning against diverse local usages. We call this the global-local tension. To test competing theories of this tension, we employ frame analysis of more than 500 journal abstracts over a 25-year period, tracking the spread of business model as an economic keyword generated during unsettled economic times. Analyses reveal the simultaneous adoption of “global” and “local”frames without one supplanting or co-opting the other. The global-local tension is conciliated by providing primacy across communities of discourse to a small collection of frames (i.e., the global presence) while maintaining a plurality of local use within communities (i.e., the local alternative).
Though many studies address the role of religion in predicting social attitudes over time, none has examined this relationship specifically for euthanasia. Using a large, nationally representative data source, this study seeks to address this void. Our findings indicate that considerable differences exist among religious denominations regarding the legalization of euthanasia. Specifically, we note a liberalizing trend for all included denominations. We also demonstrate substantial differences in the rates of liberalization, particularly in comparison to conservative Protestants. We conclude with an assessment of our findings relative to previous studies on religion and public opinion.
Pluralist and class-based theories offer alternative hypotheses about the political behavior of organized interests in the United States. Using network methods and data on political action committees' (PAC) contributions to congressional candidates in the 1984 elections, we identify interest groups with politically similar behavior in an attempt to assess these perspectives concerning elites in the United States. The analysis includes corporate, labor, membership association, and nonconnected PACs. Counter to pluralist expectations, we find just two large groups—one primarily business oriented and the other primarily labor/public-interest oriented. Our findings thus support a class-based interpretation of the nature of organized interests. These findings are framed in terms of the meaning of unity and fragmentation.
This paper presents the results of an ecological analysis of the relationship between infant mortality and economic status in a metropolitan aggregate comprised of seven of the larger cities in Ohio during the three years centering on the 1990 census. Using a summary income score derived for the census tract of mother's usual residence, the census tracts in the seven metropolitan centers were divided into broad income groupings and three-year average infant mortality rates were computed for each area, by age, sex, race, and selected causes of death. The most important conclusion to be drawn from the data is that in spite of some remarkable declines in overall levels of infant mortality during the past few decades, there continues to be a very clear and pronounced inverse association between income status and infant mortality. The general inverse association is observed for both sexes, for whites and nonwhites, and for all major causes of infant death. At the same time, the data reveal notable differences in the magnitude of the relationship by sex, and especially by age at death, race, and cause of death. Explanations of these differences are suggested, and a conclusion notes some of the difficulties encountered in developing programs aimed at closing the infant mortality gap between the richest and poorest segments of the society.
Social movement research has often been divided between organizational and cultural analyses of collective action. Organizationally oriented theorists have viewed indigenous organizational structure as the critical variable in the emergence of collective action. Political culture and cultural frame theorists have focused instead on the cultural frames that resonate with audiences, mobilizing them to action. But social movements cannot be the result of one or the other of these factors. An analysis of the 1989 Chinese movement illuminates the multivariate aspects of this social movement. This movement was a two-tiered movement with an organized student leadership tier and a mass audience. Enmeshed in university organizations and student networks, the student leaders relied on an organizational structure that had been emerging since the mid-1980s. This organized leadership tier employed cultural symbols and acts to mobilize mass audiences that were beyond the scope of the students' organizational linkages. The political theater of the organized student leaders was complemented by institutional changes that had been occurring over the decade of reform in China and a political opportunity that allowed wide coverage of the students' activities.
Drawing on my own 40 years as a social scientist, I argue, as have others in recent years, that rather than a contaminant, one's own biography can be a useful tool in social analysis. I place my personal struggle with this issue in a larger cultural context and point to a shift in the boundaries between public and private, which has profound implications for the way we teach, write, and do research.
Recent transformations of global economic structures have been accompanied by divergent national, regional, and local patterns of development, including severe socioeconomic crises for many Third World countries. At the same time, established conceptualizations of development processes have been called into question by divergent models of social change, such as those of world systems and postmodernist theorists. These phenomena present major analytical challenges for sociologists specializing in the study of development. New technologies and production processes, changing forms of international dependency, and the appearance of new social actors are among the most important topics for study. We argue that political economy, based on midrange propositions and comparative historical methods, constitutes the most fruitful approach to this task.
Civil society provides essential balance to the rising power of national states and market economies. Particularly in the United States, however, the economy and state are squeezing civil society, with negative consequences. One result is that market rationality supplants other moralities, with attendant changes in social practices. Examples are offered from education, health care, and federal tax policy. All three legs of the metaphorical social tripod of civil society, economy, and the state need to be strong. Institutions of civil society sustain individuals and societies, but require structural and cultural support if they are to complement and counterbalance the logic and practices of economy and state.
Drawing on data gathered through qualitative techniques, I suggest that the management of problems faced by children with a specific invisible neurological difference, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, teaches us about problematic areas of postindustrial society. I pay particular attention to how members of the children's and parents' separate moral universes assign stigma and to such behavioral-management techniques as patterned scheduling and “super-momming.” The problematic areas of contemporary life that I identify include the call for social conformity in the face of an ostensible demand for flexible social arrangements.
This study compares models of the good employer in the late 19th and late 20th centuries, using a content analysis of leading business periodicals. We find striking differences between the two eras, both in their recipes for more efficient employment practices and in their understanding of the benefits of those practices. We consider possible explanations for these divergent conceptions of rational labor relations and argue that each period's image of the exemplary employer corresponds to prevailing ideals of political reform.
This research focuses on the impact of literacy on major crimes of violence, homicide, and suicide in France, between 1852 and 1914. A time-series analysis shows that declining rates of serious crimes of violence and passion-inspired homicide were associated with increasing literacy. On the other side, literacy and rates of cold-blooded murder were unrelated, and literacy was a positive predictor of suicide. In view of this, and the fact that the negative relationship between homicide and suicide depends on it, literacy, or broader cultural change, such as urbanity, or the education system itself may have been the causal agent in transforming expressions of passion from an explosion of violence against others to an implosion of violence against the self. Overall, literacy cannot be seen to have repressed violence per se. In fact between 1852 and 1914, the increase in rates of suicide in France was almost eight times greater than the decline in homicide, suggesting that literacy transformed rather than depressed death by violence.
Top-cited authors
Abigail C. Saguy
  • University of California, Los Angeles
Rene Almeling
  • Yale University
Neil Fligstein
  • University of California, Berkeley
Taekjin Shin
  • San Diego State University
Christine A Mair
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County