Sunday, April 28, 2013

American Journal of Sociology 118(4)

American Journal of Sociology, January 2013: Volume 118, Issue 4

For a Sociology of Expertise: The Social Origins of the Autism Epidemic
Gil Eyal
This article endeavors to replace the sociology of professions with the more comprehensive and timely sociology of expertise. It suggests that we need to distinguish between experts and expertise as requiring two distinct modes of analysis that are not reducible to one another. It analyzes expertise as a network linking together agents, devices, concepts, and institutional and spatial arrangements. It also suggests rethinking how abstraction and power were analyzed in the sociology of professions. The utility of this approach is demonstrated by using it to explain the recent precipitous rise in autism diagnoses. This article shows that autism remained a rare disorder until the deinstitutionalization of mental retardation created a new institutional matrix within which a new set of actors—the parents of children with autism in alliance with psychologists and therapists—were able to forge an alternative network of expertise.

Coordinating Futures: Toward a Theory of Anticipation
Iddo Tavory and Nina Eliasoph
This article presents a theoretical approach for studying the coordination of futures. Building off theories of temporality and action, the authors map three different modes of future making—protentions, trajectories, and temporal landscapes—that actors need to coordinate in order to make sense of action together. Using a wide range of empirical evidence, they then show that these modes of future-coordination are autonomous from each other, so that although they are connected, they can clash or move in disjointed directions in interaction. By focusing on the coordination and disjunctures of those three modes, the authors argue that sociologists can provide a methodological axis of comparison between cases; depict mechanisms through which other theoretical or empirical constructs—such as racism or late modernity—operate; and open a window into the ways in which people organize and coordinate their futures, a topic of inquiry in its own right.

Exposure to Classroom Poverty and Test Score Achievement: Contextual Effects or Selection?
Douglas Lee Lauen and S. Michael Gaddis
It is widely believed that impoverished contexts harm children. Disentangling the effects of family background from the effects of other social contexts, however, is complex, making causal claims difficult to verify. This study examines the effect of exposure to classroom poverty on student test achievement using data on a cohort of children followed from third through eighth grade. Cross-sectional methods reveal a substantial negative association between exposure to high-poverty classrooms and test scores; this association grows with grade level, becoming especially large for middle school students. Growth models, however, produce much smaller effects of classroom poverty exposure on academic achievement. Even smaller effects emerge from student fixed-effects models that control for time-invariant unobservables and from marginal structural models that adjust for observable time-dependent confounding. These findings suggest that causal claims about the effects of classroom poverty exposure on achievement may be unwarranted.

Overdoing Gender: A Test of the Masculine Overcompensation Thesis
Robb Willer, Christabel L. Rogalin, Bridget Conlon, and Michael T. Wojnowicz
The masculine overcompensation thesis asserts that men react to masculinity threats with extreme demonstrations of masculinity, a proposition tested here across four studies. In study 1, men and women were randomly given feedback suggesting they were either masculine or feminine. Women showed no effects when told they were masculine; however, men given feedback suggesting they were feminine expressed more support for war, homophobic attitudes, and interest in purchasing an SUV. Study 2 found that threatened men expressed greater support for, and desire to advance in, dominance hierarchies. Study 3 showed in a large-scale survey on a diverse sample that men who reported that social changes threatened the status of men also reported more homophopic and prodominance attitudes, support for war, and belief in male superiority. Finally, study 4 found that higher testosterone men showed stronger reactions to masculinity threats than those lower in testosterone. Together, these results support the masculine overcompensation thesis, show how it can shape political and cultural attitudes, and identify a hormonal factor influencing the effect.

Betrayal as Market Barrier: Identity-Based Limits to Diversification among High-Status Corporate Law Firms
Damon J. Phillips, Catherine J. Turco, and Ezra W. Zuckerman
Why are some diversified market identities problematic but others are not? We examine this question in the context of high-status corporate law firms, which often diversify into one low-status area of work—family law (FL)—but face a barrier (strong disapproval from existing clients) that prevents diversification into another such area—plaintiffs’ personal injury law (PIL). Drawing on a qualitative study of the Boston legal market, we argue that this barrier reflects a situation where loyalty norms have been violated, and it surfaces because service to individual plaintiffs is tantamount to betraying the interests of corporate clients. Our analysis clarifies identity-based limits to diversification, indicating that they are rooted in concerns about the firm’s commitments as well as its capabilities, and suggests a more general refinement of theory on status and conformity.

Spanning the Institutional Abyss: The Intergovernmental Network and the Governance of Foreign Direct Investment
Juan Alcacer and Paul Ingram
Global economic transactions such as foreign direct investment (FDI) must extend over an institutional abyss between the jurisdiction, and therefore protection, of the states involved. Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) represent an important attempt to span this abyss. The authors use a network approach to demonstrate that the connections between two countries, through joint membership in the same IGOs, are associated with a large positive influence on the FDI that flows between them. Moreover, they show that this effect occurs not only in the case of connections through economic IGOs but also through those with social and cultural mandates. This demonstrates that relational governance is important and feasible in the global context, even for the most risky transactions. The authors also examine the interdependence between the IGO network and the domestic institutions of states. Social and cultural IGO connections do more and economic IGO connections less to increase FDI when the target country is more democratic.

Quantitative Cross-National Sociology and the Methodological Abyss: Comment on Alcacer and Ingram
Andrew Schrank

Theory and Society 42(3)

Theory and Society, May 2013; Volume 42, Issue 3

Imagined futures: fictional expectations in the economy
Jens Beckert
Starting from the assumption that decision situations in economic contexts are characterized by fundamental uncertainty, this article argues that the decision-making of intentionally rational actors is anchored in fictions. “Fictionality” in economic action is the inhabitation in the mind of an imagined future state of the world and the beliefs in causal mechanisms leading to this future state. Actors are motivated in their actions by the imagined future and organize their activities based on these mental representations. Since these representations are not confined to empirical reality, fictional expectations are also a source of creativity in the economy. Fictionality opens up a way to an understanding of the microfoundations of the dynamics of the economy. The article develops the notion of fictional expectations. It discusses the role of fictional expectations for the dynamics of the economy and addresses the question of how fictional expectations motivate action. The last part relates the notion of fiction to calculation and social macrostructures, especially institutions and cultural frames. The conclusion hints at the research program developing from the concept of fictional expectations.

Inventing the axial age: the origins and uses of a historical concept
John D. Boy, John Torpey
The concept of the axial age, initially proposed by the philosopher Karl Jaspers to refer to a period in the first millennium BCE that saw the rise of major religious and philosophical figures and ideas throughout Eurasia, has gained an established position in a number of fields, including historical sociology, cultural sociology, and the sociology of religion. We explore whether the notion of an “axial age” has historical and intellectual cogency, or whether the authors who use the label of a more free-floating “axiality” to connote varied “breakthroughs” in human experience may have a more compelling case. Throughout, we draw attention to ways in which uses of the axial age concept in contemporary social science vary in these and other respects. In the conclusion, we reflect on the value of the concept and its current uses and their utility in making sense of human experience.

Powerful emotions: symbolic power and the (productive and punitive) force of collective feeling
Dawne Moon
This article argues that emotions can be a medium of social power. Using qualitative interview material from American Jews discussing anti-Semitism and its relationship to contemporary politics, it engages recent scholarship on emotions and political contention and shows how emotions make effective the various forms of symbolic exclusion by which group members exercise what Bourdieu calls symbolic power. It also explores the emotional connections to group membership by which some “excluded” members can engage in symbolic struggle over “the principles of vision and division” Bourdieu (Sociological Theory 7(1), 14–25, 1989) that define the group. Finally, it shows how emotions work to incite discipline in some group members, inspiring them to conform to dominant definitions of group membership so as to avoid both symbolic struggle and exclusion.

Insurgency and institutionalization: the Polanyian countermovement and Chinese labor politics
Eli Friedman
Why is it that in the nearly 10 years since the Chinese central government began making symbolic and material moves towards class compromise that labor unrest has expanded greatly? In this article I reconfigure Karl Polanyi’s theory of the coutermovement to account for recent developments in Chinese labor politics. Specifically, I argue that countermovements must be broken down into two constituent but intertwined “moments”: the insurgent moment that consists of spontaneous resistance to the market, and the institutional moment, when class compromise is established in the economic and political spheres. In China, the transition from insurgency to institutionalization has thus far been confounded by conditions of “appropriated representation,” where the only worker organizations allowed to exist are those within the state-run All China Federation of Trade Unions. However, in drawing on two case studies of strikes in capital-intensive industries in Guangdong province, I show that the relationship between insurgency and institutionalization shifted between 2007 and 2010.

Critical Criminology 21(2)

 Critical Criminology, May 2013: Volume 21, Issue 2

Brutal Serendipity: Criminological Verstehen and Victimization
Carl Root, Jeff Ferrell & Wilson R. Palacios
This article explores police use of force and its aftermath by focusing on the immediacy of police–citizen interactions via an autoethnographic account that invokes the concept of criminological verstehen. Specifically, the article explores issues of constructed meaning via Yuen’s interpretive constructs of ‘safe spaces’ and ‘creative analytic practice’ as a way of coming to terms with the first author’s lived experience of police brutality and its consequent legal process. Based on document analysis of official records such as police citations, medical files, and court transcripts, along with media accounts and the first author’s personal notes, the process of memoing provides an immersion into and an exploration of the data, and a tool for ascertaining meaning from it. Resultant themes of presentation of self, identity accomplishment, and silence are discussed in relation to the sorts of experiences and emotions necessary to a verstehen-oriented victimology. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of this exercise in criminological verstehen.

Resilience and Criminal Justice: Unsafe at Low Altitude
Willem de Lint & Nerida Chazal
Resilience is increasingly featuring in crime and justice policy discussions. It appears in the fusion of military, security and criminal justice. It offers an alignment by which individual actors are to be adaptive to the uncertain conditions of high risk societies. This article unpacks the application of resilience to criminal justice to reveal at least one negative implication: by placing the focus on self-directed change resilient subjects have limited transformative power. The concept of resilience involves discounting a longer view that challenges the dominant social institutions and orders of neoliberalism. In contrast, we propose the dignified subject and the re-assertion of the discounted institutional context at a level above the individual and community. This analysis supports renewing the transformative agenda of a critical criminology.

Examining the Ruggie Report: Can Voluntary Guidelines Tame Global Capitalism?
Steven Bittle & Laureen Snider
In recent years many academics, social activists and NGOs have turned to international bodies in an attempt to hold corporations accountable for their harmful and illegal acts. Significant amongst these is the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on issues of human rights and transnational corporations. In 2008, following extensive research and consultation with states, corporations and civil society groups, the Special Representative released a series of guidelines outlining the responsibilities of states and corporations to respect human rights, and of both to ensure access to effective judicial and non-judicial remedies for victims. This paper argues that the UN guidelines fail to recognize or incorporate the empirically and historically demonstrated imperatives that guide transnational global capitalism. While global capitalism is complex and rife with contradictions, its raison d’etre is rooted in profit maximization. The paper sets out alternative provisions with, we argue, greater potential to subject global capital to the rule of law.

You Say Regulation, I Say Punishment: The Semantics and Attributes of Punitive Activity
Karol Lucken
Recent trends in crime control have given new energy to an age-old question, namely what kinds of activity qualify as punishment. In addressing this question, jurists and scholars have often employed a logic that either restricts interpretations of punishment to traditional forms (e.g., prison, probation, death penalty) and functions (e.g., deterrence and retribution), or expands them to include the broader forms and functions of social control. This paper examines these opposing logics and considers an alternative logic based in common stipulations in power theory. Within this particular framework, punishment is conceived as action that is necessarily relational, intentional, personal and coercive.

How the News was Made: The Anti-Social Behaviour Day Count, Newsmaking Criminology and the Construction of Anti-Social Behaviour
Phil Edwards
‘Newsmaking criminology’ is an approach to criminological research characterised by critical engagement with topics being covered by the news media, offering greater engagement with public debate and reflexive critique of the objects of criminological knowledge. Two examples of Brisith criminological researchers taking an identifiable ‘newsmaking’ approach are discussed in this paper: the Anti-Social Behaviour One Day Count, a 24-h comprehensive survey of reports of anti-social behaviour carried out in 2003, and the 24-h Domestic Violence Audit, carried out in 2000. This paper analyses the construction of knowledge of anti-social behaviour through the Day Count, identifying continuities and discontinuities between the Day Count and the Domestic Violence Audit. This leads to a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the ‘newsmaking’ approach, suggesting that it may serve conservative as well as progressive ends.

Teaching Criminological Theory: The Power of Film and Music
Dawn L. Rothe & Victoria E. Collins
Interest in utilizing pop culture as a means of teaching and enhancing students’ understanding of complex or abstract ideas in the classroom has increased over the course of the past decade. This includes the use of film, television, fiction books, the internet, and music. The fields of criminology and criminal justice have also increasingly noted the value of using such means to teach about atrocities such as state crime, transnational crime and corporate crimes as well as issues of inequality, racism, and classism. Film, music and television can also be great tools to enhance the understanding of and ability to apply criminological theory. Most articles that have focused on incorporating the use of a ‘popular criminology’ within the classroom, however, have concentrated on one form or another of ‘pop culture’ (i.e., film). This article seeks to add to the existing literature by providing an example of how the use of film combined with music can not only enhance undergraduate criminology and criminal justice students’ ability to grasp criminological theory and apply it in their everyday lives, but also can be utilized as tools for exams.

Monday, April 8, 2013

British Journal of Criminology 53(3)

British Journal of Criminology, May 2013: Volume 53, Issue 3

‘Fighting is the Most Real and Honest Thing’: Violence and the Civilization/Barbarism Dialectic
John J. Brent and Peter B. Kraska
Over the past two decades, the activity of ‘cage-fighting’ has attracted massive audiences and significant attention from media and political outlets. Underlying the spectacle of these mass-consumed events is a growing world of underground sport fighting. By offering more brutal and less regulated forms of violence, this hidden variant of fighting lies at the blurry and shifting intersection between licit and illicit forms of recreation. This paper offers a theoretical and ethnographic exploration of the motivations and emotive frameworks of these unsanctioned fighters. We find that buried within the long-term process towards greater civility rest the seeds for social unrest, individual rebellion and ontological upheaval. By revealing the dialectical relationship between contemporary mechanisms of control and these uncivil performances, we argue these transgressions are a visceral reaction to today’s highly rationalized modes of state and social governance. More broadly, we attempt to understand the interrelationship between contemporary controls and sport fighting as a microcosm of the long-running struggle between civility and barbarism.

Making Sense of Disaster: Towards a Contextual, Phase-Based Understanding of Organizationally Based Acute Civilian Disasters
Howard Davis
Notwithstanding their visibility and the evident harm they cause, criminological attention to organizationally based acute civilian disasters (OBACDs) has been sporadic and the field has been left, in the main, to practitioners and scholars from other disciplines. This article suggests a research template for the contextual analysis of OBACDs examining the actions and omissions of key stakeholders through a succession of phases. A review of disaster literature was undertaken using this framework and used to develop a simple model of OBACDs elucidating issues around three criminological themes: the origins of OBACDs; the impact of and response to OBACDs; and the processes of sense-making, learning and accountability that follow OBACDs.

Former Refugees and Community Resilience: ‘Papering Over’ Domestic Violence
Gail Mason and Mariastella Pulvirenti
The efforts of new, former refugee communities to grow their legitimacy as citizens often in hostile host environments puts community needs at odds with individual needs. From an analysis of interviews with service providers across two states in Australia, and borrowing the concept of ‘papering over’, we demonstrate how these tensions impact on women in these communities building resilience to domestic violence. Despite community being vital for building individual resilience, ‘papering over’ operates to keep communities quiet about domestic violence and reliant on definitions of violence that serve to save the face of communities. While this is a challenge for how former refugee communities respond to domestic violence, it is also a challenge for how we conceptualize resilience across intersecting subject positions.

‘You Have to do it for Yourself’: Responsibilization in Youth Justice and Young People’s Situated Knowledge of Youth Justice Practice
Jo Phoenix and Laura Kelly
Drawing on governmentality theories, accounts of the responsibilizing effects of policy and practice have dominated recent studies of youth justice in England and Wales. This article develops this debate by asking: what can it mean to claim that young offenders are responsibilized by contemporary modes of governing youth offending? An exposition of the dominant ways in which ‘responsibilization’ is conceptualized highlights the theoretical foreclosures that, within such frameworks, make the subjective experiences of young offenders ‘unknowable’. We suggest that an empirical analysis of young people’s situated knowledge helps elucidate what responsibilization could mean in relation to young offenders: that they came to know there was no one else to help them change their lives.

Official Bias in Intergenerational Transmission of Criminal Behaviour
Sytske Besemer, David P. Farrington, and Catrien C.J.H. Bijleveld
We investigated to what extent children of convicted parents might have a higher risk of a conviction themselves because criminal justice systems, such as the police and courts, focus more attention towards certain criminal families—a concept called official bias. Bias was measured using several variables: a convicted parent, low family income, low family socio-economic status, poor housing and a father’s poor job record. A convicted parent as well as poorer social circumstances such as a father’s poor job record, low family income and poor housing predicted an increased conviction risk while controlling for self-reported offending. The results support the official bias mechanism, but also suggest that other mechanisms are needed to explain intergenerational transmission of criminal convictions.

Crime as a Price of Inequality?: The Gap in Registered Crime between Childhood Immigrants, Children of Immigrants and Children of Native Swedes
Martin Hällsten, Ryszard Szulkin, and Jerzy Sarnecki
We examine the gap in registered crime between the children of immigrants and the children of native Swedes. We follow all individuals who completed compulsory schooling during the period 1990–93 in the Stockholm Metropolitan area (N = 63,462) up to their thirties and analyse how family of origin and neighbourhood segregation during adolescence, subsequent to arriving in Sweden, influence the gap in recorded crimes. For males, we are able to explain between half and three-quarters of the gap in crime by reference to parental socio-economic resources and neighbourhood segregation. For females, we can explain even more, sometimes the entire gap. In addition, we tentatively examine the role of co-nationality or culture by comparing the crime rates of randomly chosen pairs of individuals originating from the same country. We find only a small correlation in the crime of individuals who share the same origin, indicating that culture is unlikely to be a strong cause of crime among immigrants.

China’s Death Penalty: The Supreme People’s Court, the Suspended Death Sentence and the Politics of Penal Reform
Susan Trevaskes
This paper examines the issue of judicial discretion and the role of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in death penalty reform since 2007. The SPC has been encouraging judges to give ‘suspended’ death sentences rather than ‘immediate execution’ for some homicide cases. Lower court judges are encouraged to use their discretion to recognize mitigating circumstances that would allow them to sentence offenders to a suspended death sentence. The SPC has used ‘guidance’ instruments which include ‘directives’ and other SPC interpretations and a new ‘case guidance’ system which provides case exemplars to follow. We explore these guidance instruments as a way of deepening our understanding of how law, politics and judicial practices are interwoven to achieve reform goals.

The Politics of China’s Death Penalty Reform in the Context of Global Abolitionism
Michelle Miao
This paper explores the influences of worldwide anti-death penalty campaigns in the local institutional environment in China and its implications for China’s capital punishment reforms in recent years. It found a ‘concentric pattern’ of the dissemination of human rights values and anti-death penalty activisms may explain the varying attitudes towards human rights and international activism among different social groups across the Chinese society. Divergent interests of and perceptions held by national-level and lower-level legal elites are likely to be one of the causes for China to adopt an incremental reformist stance. Further, this study shows that the Chinese legal elites were poorly informed of the current status of public opinion on capital punishment. A populist-sentiment-driven administration of capital punishment is closely tied to reliance on capital punishment.

The ANNALS of the AAPSS 647

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 2013: Volume 647

Reconsidering the Urban Disadvantaged: The Role of Systems, Institutions, and Organizations
Scott W. Allard and Mario L. Small


Transnationalism and Community Building: Chinese Immigrant Organizations in the United States
Min Zhou and Rennie Lee

Studying the Roles of Nonprofits, Government, and Business in Providing Activities and Services to Youth in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area
Joseph Galaskiewicz, Olga V. Mayorova, and Beth M. Duckles

The Micro Dynamics of Support Seeking: The Social and Economic Utility of Institutional Ties for HIV-Positive Women
Celeste Watkins-Hayes

The Development of Sectoral Worker Center Networks
Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán, Pamela A. Izvanariu, and Victor Narro


People, Place, and System: Organizations and the Renewal of Urban Social Theory
Nicole P. Marwell and Michael McQuarrie

Beyond Hierarchies and Markets: Are Decentralized Schools Lifting Poor Children?
Bruce Fuller and Danfeng Soto-Vigil Koon

Mass Incarceration, Macrosociology, and the Poor
Bruce Western and Christopher Muller

Can Drug Courts Help to Reduce Prison and Jail Populations?
Eric L. Sevigny, Harold A. Pollack, and Peter Reuter


Home Is Hard to Find: Neighborhoods, Institutions, and the Residential Trajectories of Returning Prisoners
David J. Harding, Jeffrey D. Morenoff, and Claire W. Herbert

Integration and Exclusion: Urban Poverty, Public Housing Reform, and the Dynamics of Neighborhood Restructuring
Robert J. Chaskin

Segregating Shelter: How Housing Policies Shape the Residential Locations of Low-Income Minority Families
Stefanie DeLuca, Philip M. E. Garboden, and Peter Rosenblatt

Sociological Theory 31(1)

Sociological Theory, March 2013: Volume 31, Issue 1 

The Politics of Theory and the Constitution of Meaning
Peeter Selg
How should sociologists use the word theory? Gabriel Abend’s recent insistence that this question should be tackled politically raises two important issues: Is sociology political? And if so, what normative implications follow for its organization? Drawing on Wittgenstein’s notion of family resemblance and post-Gramscian theories of hegemony, I argue that Abend’s proposal that semantic questions about theory can be addressed separately from ontological, evaluative, and teleological ones is untenable. Disagreements about the latter are constitutive, not merely supplementary to the meaning of theory. Against Abend’s deliberative-democratically oriented vision, I propose an agonistic politics of theory. In doing so, I consider both the internal inconsistencies of deliberativism and the practical advantages and sociological relevance of agonism.

Transnational State Formation and the Global Politics of Austerity
Aaron Major
A perennial concern among scholars of globalization is the relationship between global social formations and national and subnational political and economic developments. While sociological understanding of “the global” has become increasingly rich, stressing the complex relationship between material and cultural pressures, an undertheorized nation state often sits on the receiving end of the sociologist’s model of globalization. The goal of this article is to help move the sociology of globalization out of the analytical trap of global-national dualism by developing an account of the transnationalization of political authority. Building on neo-Marxist and Weberian theories of the transnational, or global state, which explicate the macro-structural dynamics that have led to the transnationalization of the state as such, I look at the process of the transnationalization of political authority from an institutional perspective, one that focuses on processes of transnationalization within, and across, specific state agencies. These theoretical points are empirically motivated through an historical investigation of the transnationalization of monetary authority and its relationship to the international diffusion of policies of austerity from the era of the classical gold standard through the economic crisis of 2008.

Decolonizing Bourdieu: Colonial and Postcolonial Theory in Pierre Bourdieu’s Early Work
Julian Go
While new scholarship on Pierre Bourdieu has recovered his early work on Algeria, this essay excavates his early thoughts on colonialism. Contrary to received wisdom, Bourdieu did in fact offer a theory of colonialism and a systematic understanding of its effects and logics. Bourdieu portrayed colonialism as a racialized system of domination, backed by force, which restructures social relations and creates hybrid cultures. His theory entailed insights on the limits and promises of colonial reform, anticolonial revolution, and postcolonial liberation. Bourdieu’s early thinking on colonialism drew upon but extended French colonial studies of the time. It also contains the seeds of later concepts like habitus, field, and reflexive sociology while prefiguring more recent disciplinary postcolonial studies. Bourdieusian sociology in this sense originates not just as a study of Algeria but more specifically a critique of colonialism. It can be seen as contributing to the larger project of postcolonial sociology.

The Invisible Animal: Anthrozoology and Macrosociology
Richard York and Philip Mancus
Animals have had a profound influence on human societies, playing a major role in the course of human history. However, their presence and theoretical significance has been overlooked in sociological theory, while being the central concern of the growing field of anthrozoology (the study of the interaction between humans and other animals). To illustrate how a focus on other animal species can improve our understanding of sociocultural evolution, we assess the influential work of Gerhard Lenski and Patrick Nolan and their materialist approach to macrosociology. Animals are largely invisible in Lenski and Nolan’s Ecological-Evolutionary Theory, yet they underlie the key subsistence technologies identified by Lenski and Nolan as crucial for explaining uneven development. By considering the history of domestication, the role animals played in the development of agricultural technology, and the translocation of Eurasian livestock during the colonial era, we show how sociocultural evolution is situated within a larger nexus of socioecological and historical conditions that reciprocally determine technological development and cultural heritage. Our analysis illustrates that anthrozoology, far from being an esoteric field of study, has the potential to contribute to a refined understanding of a wide array of social phenomena.

American Sociological Review 78(2)

American Sociological Review, April 2013: Volume 78, Issue 2

The Genomic Revolution and Beliefs about Essential Racial Differences: A Backdoor to Eugenics?
Jo C. Phelan, Bruce G. Link, and Naumi M. Feldman
Could the explosion of genetic research in recent decades affect our conceptions of race? In Backdoor to Eugenics, Duster argues that reports of specific racial differences in genetic bases of disease, in part because they are presented as objective facts whose social implications are not readily apparent, may heighten public belief in more pervasive racial differences. We tested this hypothesis with a multi-method study. A content analysis showed that news articles discussing racial differences in genetic bases of disease increased significantly between 1985 and 2008 and were significantly less likely than non–health-related articles about race and genetics to discuss social implications. A survey experiment conducted with a nationally representative sample of 559 adults found that a news-story vignette reporting a specific racial difference in genetic risk for heart attacks (the Backdoor Vignette) produced significantly greater belief in essential racial differences than did a vignette portraying race as a social construction or a no-vignette condition. The Backdoor Vignette produced beliefs in essential racial differences that were virtually identical to those produced by a vignette portraying race as a genetic reality. These results suggest that an unintended consequence of the genomic revolution may be the reinvigoration of age-old beliefs in essential racial differences.

Can Honorific Awards Give Us Clues about the Connection between Socioeconomic Status and Mortality?
Bruce G. Link, Richard M. Carpiano, and Margaret M. Weden
Social epidemiologists Marmot and Wilkinson argue that relative deprivation is the dominant mechanism through which socioeconomic status (SES) affects mortality. If such an argument is valid, we would expect to consistently see the influence of relative deprivation in situations where two or more highly qualified and very similar individuals are nominated in a status competition, but only one receives the status boost conferred by winning. We studied mortality experiences of Emmy Award winners, Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, and presidents and vice presidents—comparing each to nominated losers in the same competition. Our findings and results of similar studies fail to show consistent advantages for winners. The association between winning and longevity is sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and sometimes nonexistent. We conclude that the critical processes determining the strength and direction of any status effect on longevity are changes in life circumstances that result from winning or losing, rather than the processes that inexorably flow from one’s relative position in a status hierarchy.

How Macro-Historical Change Shapes Cultural Taste: Legacies of Democratization in Spain and Portugal
Robert M. Fishman and Omar Lizardo
In this article, we show that large-scale macro-political change can powerfully condition how institutional practices shape individual cultural choice. We study the paired comparison of Portugal and Spain, two long-similar societies that moved from authoritarianism to democracy through divergent pathways in the 1970s. Data from the 2001 Eurobarometer indicate that while the cultural choices of persons born before democratic transition are comparable across the two cases, Portuguese youth born under democracy are substantially more omnivorous than their Spanish counterparts. We shed light on this puzzle through a structured, focused comparison. Our argument is that whereas revolution in Portugal overturned hierarchies in numerous social institutions and unleashed an ambitious program of cultural transformation, Spain’s consensus-oriented transition was largely limited to remaking political institutions. We show that this macro-political divergence resulted in a key cross-case difference at the institutional level. Whereas pedagogical practices in Portugal encourage young people to adopt the post-canonical, anti-hierarchical orientation toward aesthetics constitutive of the omnivorous orientation, corresponding practices in Spain restrict omnivorousness by instilling a hierarchical, largely canonical attitude toward cultural works.

Increasing Rejection of Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence of Global Cultural Diffusion
Rachael S. Pierotti
This study extends existing world society research on ideational diffusion by going beyond examinations of national policy change to investigate the spread of ideas among nonelite individuals. Specifically, I test whether recent trends in women’s attitudes about intimate partner violence are converging toward global cultural scripts. Results suggest that global norms regarding violence against women are reaching citizens worldwide, including in some of the least privileged parts of the globe. During the first decade of the 2000s, women in 23 of the 26 countries studied became more likely to reject intimate partner violence. Structural socioeconomic or demographic changes, such as urbanization, rising educational attainment, increasing media access, and cohort replacement, fail to explain the majority of the observed trend. Rather, women of all ages and social locations became less likely to accept justifications for intimate partner violence. The near uniformity of the trend and speed of the change in attitudes about intimate partner violence suggest that global cultural diffusion has played an important role.

Only 15 Minutes? The Social Stratification of Fame in Printed Media
Arnout van de Rijt, Eran Shor, Charles Ward, and Steven Skiena
Contemporary scholarship has conceptualized modern fame as an open system in which people continually move in and out of celebrity status. This model stands in stark contrast to the traditional notion in the sociology of stratification that depicts stable hierarchies sustained through classic forces such as social structure and cumulative advantage. We investigate the mobility of fame using a unique data source containing daily records of references to person names in a large corpus of English-language media sources. These data reveal that only at the bottom of the public attention hierarchy do names exhibit fast turnover; at upper tiers, stable coverage persists around a fixed level and rank for decades. Fame exhibits strong continuity even in entertainment, on television, and on blogs, where it has been thought to be most ephemeral. We conclude that once a person’s name is decoupled from the initial event that lent it momentary attention, self-reinforcing processes, career structures, and commemorative practices perpetuate fame.

Race, Legality, and the Social Policy Consequences of Anti-Immigration Mobilization
Hana E. Brown
With the dramatic rise in the U.S. Hispanic population, scholars have struggled to explain how race affects welfare state development beyond the Black-White divide. This article uses a comparative analysis of welfare reforms in California and Arizona to examine how anti-Hispanic stereotypes affect social policy formation. Drawing on interviews, archival materials, and newspaper content analysis, I find that animus toward Hispanics is mobilized through two collective action frames: a legality frame and a racial frame. The legality frame lauds the contributions of documented noncitizens while demonizing illegal immigrants. The racial frame celebrates the moral worth of White citizens and uses explicit racial language to deride Hispanics as undeserving. These subtle differences in racialization and worth attribution create divergent political opportunities for welfare policy. When advocates employ the legality frame, they create openings for rights claims by documented noncitizens. Use of the racial frame, however, dampens cross-racial mobilization and effective claims-making for expansive welfare policies. These findings help to explain why the relationship between race and welfare policy is less predictable for Hispanics than for Blacks. They also reveal surprising ways in which race and immigration affect contemporary politics and political mobilization.

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Immigrant Unionization through the Great Recession
Peter Catron
Previous research has found that in recent years immigrants had a higher propensity to unionize than did native-born workers. However, little research shows that historically marginalized immigrant workers are able to maintain newly acquired union jobs, especially during times unfavorable to unionization more generally. This comment focuses on immigrant unionization during the Great Recession of 2008 to determine whether inroads that immigrants made through organizing were maintained in hostile union environments. Using the Current Population Survey (CPS), I extend Rosenfeld and Kleykamp’s (2009) models for Hispanic unionization (which end in 2007) through the recent downturn and beyond. I find that Hispanic immigrants, who held higher odds of union entry or membership in Rosenfeld and Kleykamp’s pre-recession analysis, lost union jobs at an increased rate during the Great Recession compared with native-born white workers. These effects for Hispanic immigrants filtered throughout various subcategories and control variables, including years since entry, citizenship status, and nationality. These results are likely not due to immigrants’ unfavorable labor market allocation, and to some degree undercut the hopes of those who view immigrants as the key to organized labor’s future and organized labor as the key to immigrant prosperity.

Immigration, Organization, and the Great Recession: Structural Change or Continuity?
Jake Rosenfeld and Meredith Kleykamp