The differentiation of occupations is of central concern to stratification scholars studying class and mobility, yet little is known about how individuals actually see the occupational landscape. Sociologists have long collected data on individual perceptions of where occupations stand relative to one another, but these data are rarely used to study the logics that individuals employ when categorizing occupations. Using the 1989 GSS occupational prestige module, we investigate how cognitive maps of the occupational hierarchy vary in terms of content and structure. The results show that maps are more homogeneous among individuals with more versus less education. This increased consensus arises, in part, because better educated respondents are more likely to set aside training-intensive occupations as a relatively elite set of occupations at the top of the hierarchy. In contrast, less educated respondents generate more gradational classification systems that are significantly less sensitive to training intensiveness as a basis for categorical distinction. This study contributes to our empirical knowledge of valuation and raises new questions about how individuals organize and navigate social structures.
While influential across a wide variety of subfields, cultural analysis in sociology continues to be hampered by coarse-grained conceptualizations of the different modes in which culture becomes personal, as well as the process via which persons acquire and use different forms of culture. In this article, I argue that persons acquire and use culture in two analytically and empirically distinct forms, which I label declarative and nondeclarative. The mode of cultural acquisition depends on the dynamics of exposure and encoding, and modulates the process of cultural accessibility, activation, and use. Cultural knowledge about one domain may be redundantly represented in both declarative and nondeclarative forms, each linked via analytically separable pathways to corresponding public cultural forms and ultimately to substantive outcomes. I outline how the new theoretical vocabulary, theoretical model, and analytic distinctions that I propose can be used to resolve contradictions and improve our understanding of outstanding substantive issues in empirically oriented subfields that have recently incorporated cultural processes as a core explanatory resource.
Most analyses of sexual orientation and earnings find that gay men face a wage gap, whereas lesbian women earn higher wages than similar heterosexual women. However, analyses rarely consider bisexual men and women as a unique group separate from other sexual minorities. I argue that such binary views of sexual orientation—treating sexual minorities as a homogenous non-heterosexual group—have obscured understandings of the impact of sexual orientation on labor market outcomes. Specifically, I predict that unequal outcomes for gay men and lesbian women are partly due to the influence of family arrangements and their effects on earnings. In contrast, I argue that bisexual men and women should be the most disadvantaged in the labor market, due to particularly disadvantaging stereotypes, perceptions of choice to their sexual orientation, and prejudicial treatment. Using data from the General Social Survey (N = 13,554) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 14,714), I show that family arrangements explain some of the observed earnings differentials for gay men and lesbian women. Bisexual men and women, in contrast, face wage penalties that are not explained by human capital differences or occupational characteristics. Perceptions of prejudicial treatment partially explain the observed wage gaps.
A recurring theme in sociological research is the tradeoff between fitting in and standing out. Prior work examining this tension tends to take either a structural or a cultural perspective. We fuse these two traditions to develop a theory of how structural and cultural embeddedness jointly relate to individual attainment within organizations. Given that organizational culture is hard to observe, we develop a novel approach to assessing individuals’ cultural fit with their colleagues based on the language expressed in internal e-mail communications. Drawing on a unique dataset that includes a corpus of 10.24 million e-mail messages exchanged over five years among 601 employees in a high-technology firm, we find that network constraint impedes, whereas cultural fit promotes, individual attainment. More importantly, we find evidence of a tradeoff between the two forms of embeddedness: cultural fit benefits individuals with low network constraint (i.e., brokers), whereas network constraint promotes attainment for people with low cultural fit.
This study uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, in conjunction with neighborhood-level data from the U.S. decennial census and American Community Survey, to examine the trajectory of individuals’ neighborhood characteristics from initial household formation into mid-to-late adulthood. Multilevel growth curve models reveal both different starting points and different life course trajectories for blacks and whites in neighborhood economic status and neighborhood racial composition. Among respondents who first established an independent household during the 1970s, improvement in neighborhood income over the adult life course was substantially greater for white than for black respondents; the racial difference in the percentage of neighbors who were non-Hispanic white narrowed slightly with age. Racial differences in the characteristics of neighborhoods inhabited during adolescence help explain racial differences in starting points and, to a lesser extent, subsequent trajectories of neighborhood attainment. Residing in an economically advantaged neighborhood during adolescence confers greater subsequent benefits in neighborhood economic status for white than for black respondents. We use these findings to begin developing a life course perspective on neighborhood attainment.
The negative outcomes associated with cultural stereotypes based on race, class, and gender and related schema-consistency biases are well documented. How these biases become culturally entrenched is less well understood. In particular, previous research has neglected the role of information transmission processes in perpetuating cultural biases. In this study, I combine insights from the cultural cognition, affect control theory, and cultural transmission frameworks to examine how one form of internalized culture—fundamental cultural sentiments—affects the content of information shared in communication. I argue that individuals communicate narratives in ways that minimize deflection of internalized cultural sentiments, resulting in cultural-consistency bias. I test this proposition using a serial transmission study in which participants read and retell short stories. Results show that culturally inconsistent, high-deflection information experiences an initial boost in memorability, but consistency biases ultimately win out as information is altered to increase cultural consistency, demonstrating that deflection provides a promising measure of cultural schema-consistency. This measure is predictive of the information that individuals share in communication and changes to this information in the transmission process.
Research on the mechanisms that reproduce social class advantages in the United States focuses primarily on formal schooling and pays less attention to social class discrimination in labor markets. We conducted a résumé audit study to examine the effect of social class signals on entry into large U.S. law firms. We sent applications from fictitious students at selective but non-elite law schools to 316 law firm offices in 14 cities, randomly assigning signals of social class background and gender to otherwise identical résumés. Higher-class male applicants received significantly more callbacks than did higher-class women, lower-class women, and lower-class men. A survey experiment and interviews with lawyers at large firms suggest that, relative to lower-class applicants, higher-class candidates are seen as better fits with the elite culture and clientele of large law firms. But, although higher-class men receive a corresponding overall boost in evaluations, higher-class women do not, because they face a competing, negative stereotype that portrays them as less committed to full-time, intensive careers. This commitment penalty faced by higher-class women offsets class-based advantages these applicants may receive in evaluations. Consequently, signals of higher-class origin provide an advantage for men but not for women in this elite labor market.
In an era of public-private partnerships, what role do nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) play in urban governance? Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Boston, this article presents a new way to understand CBOs’ political role in poor neighborhoods: CBOs as nonelected neighborhood representatives. Over the course of four years, I followed nine CBOs in six Boston neighborhoods as they planned community development projects. The CBOs in my study superseded elected politicians as the legitimate representatives of poor urban neighborhoods. Private funders and government agencies legitimated CBO leaders’ claims and treated them as the preferred representatives of neighborhoods’ interests. Elected district representatives, by contrast, exhibited limited influence over resources and were rarely involved in community development decision-making. By reconsidering CBOs’ political role in urban neighborhoods, this study uncovers a consequential realignment of urban political representation. It also identifies an important tradeoff between the urban poor’s access to resources and the ability to hold their leaders democratically accountable—a tradeoff that will remain so long as governments continue to rely on private actors in public governance.
Despite the relevance of nationalism for politics and intergroup relations, sociologists have devoted surprisingly little attention to the phenomenon in the United States, and historians and political psychologists who do study the United States have limited their focus to specific forms of nationalist sentiment: ethnocultural or civic nationalism, patriotism, or national pride. This article innovates, first, by examining an unusually broad set of measures (from the 2004 GSS) tapping national identification, ethnocultural and civic criteria for national membership, domain-specific national pride, and invidious comparisons to other nations, thus providing a fuller depiction of Americans’ national self-understanding. Second, we use latent class analysis to explore heterogeneity, partitioning the sample into classes characterized by distinctive patterns of attitudes. Conventional distinctions between ethnocultural and civic nationalism describe just about half of the U.S. population and do not account for the unexpectedly low levels of national pride found among respondents who hold restrictive definitions of American nationhood. A subset of primarily younger and well-educated Americans lacks any strong form of patriotic sentiment; a larger class, primarily older and less well educated, embraces every form of nationalist sentiment. Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and partisan identification, these classes vary significantly in attitudes toward ethnic minorities, immigration, and national sovereignty. Finally, using comparable data from 1996 and 2012, we find structural continuity and distributional change in national sentiments over a period marked by terrorist attacks, war, economic crisis, and political contention.
We examine the extent to which the gender wage gap stems from dual-earner couples jointly choosing where to live. If couples locate in places better suited for the man’s employment than for the woman’s, the resulting mismatch of women to employers will depress women’s wages. Examining data from Denmark, our analyses indicate that (1) Danish couples choose locations with higher expected wages for the man than for the woman, (2) the better matching of men in couples to local employers could account for up to 36 percent of the gender wage gap, and (3) the greatest asymmetry in the apparent importance of the man’s versus the woman’s potential earnings occurred among couples with young children and where the male partner accounted for a larger share of household income before the potential move.
In this article, I theorize "complicit masculinity" to examine how access to capital, in other words, making or spending money, mediates masculine identity for un- and underemployed black men. Arguing that hegemony operates around producer-provider norms of masculinity and through tropes of blackness within a system of racial capitalism, I show how complicity underscores the reality of differential aspirational models in the context of severe un- and underemployment and the failure of the classic breadwinner model for black men globally. I draw on participant observation fieldwork and interviews with men from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s informal sector from 2008 to 2009. I investigate two groups of men: political propagandists (orators) for former President Laurent Gbagbo and mobile street vendors. Rejecting racialized colonial narratives that positioned salaried workers as "evolved," orators used anti-French rhetoric and ties to the political regime to pursue entrepreneurial identities. Vendors, positioned as illegitimate workers and non-citizens, asserted consumerist models of masculinity from global black popular culture. I show how entrepreneurialism and consumerism, the two paradigmatic neoliberal identities, have become ways for black men to assert economic participation as alternatives to the producer-provider ideal.
Assimilation is theorized as a multi-stage process where the structural mobility of immigrants and their descendants ultimately leads to established and immigrant-origin populations developing a subjective sense of social similarity with one another, an outcome I term symbolic belonging. Yet existing work offers little systematic evidence as to whether and how immigrants’ gains—in terms of language ability, socioeconomic status, neighborhood integration, or intermarriage—cause changes in the perceptions of the native-born U.S. population. I use a nationally representative conjoint survey experiment to explore whether and how immigrants’ mobility gains shape native-born white citizens’ perceptions of symbolic belonging. I find that white natives are generally open to structural relationships with immigrant-origin individuals (e.g., friends and neighbors), with the exception of black immigrants and natives, and undocumented immigrants. Yet, white Americans simultaneously view all non-white people, regardless of legal status, as dissimilar and far from achieving symbolic belonging in U.S. society. The results offer optimism about the potential structural mobility of legal immigrants and their descendants, yet simultaneously suggest that explicitly racialized lines of division remain just below the surface.
Using IPUMS data for five decennial years between 1970 and 2010, we delineate and compare the trends and sources of the racial pay gap among men and women in the U.S. labor force. Decomposition of the pay gap into components underscores the significance of the intersection between gender and race; we find meaningful gender differences in the composition of the gap and in the gross and the net earnings gaps—both are much larger among men than among women. Despite these differences, the over-time trend is strikingly similar for both genders. Racial gaps sharply declined between 1970 and 1980 and continued to decline, but at a slower rate, until 2000. However, at the turn of the millennium, the trend reversed for both gender groups. The growth of the racial pay gap at the turn of the millennium is attributable to the increase in overall income inequality, stagnation in occupational segregation, and an increase in the unexplained portion of the gap, a portion we attribute to economic discrimination.
Despite the profound impact Durkheim’s Suicide has had on the social sciences, several enduring issues limit the utility of his insights. With this study, we offer a new Durkheimian framework for understanding suicide that addresses these problems. We seek to understand how high levels of integration and regulation may shape suicide in modern societies. We draw on an in-depth, qualitative case study (N = 110) of a cohesive community with a serious adolescent suicide problem to demonstrate the utility of our approach. Our case study illustrates how the lives of adolescents in this highly integrated community are intensely regulated by the local culture, which emphasizes academic achievement. Additionally, the town’s cohesive social networks facilitate the spread of information, amplify the visibility of actions and attitudes, and increase the potential for swift sanctions. This combination of cultural and structural factors generates intense emotional reactions to the prospect of failure among adolescents and an unwillingness to seek psychological help for adolescents’ mental health problems among both parents and youth. Ultimately, this case illustrates (1) how high levels of integration and regulation within a social group can render individuals vulnerable to suicide and (2) how sociological research can provide meaningful and unique insights into suicide prevention.
What drives local decisions to prohibit industrial land uses? This study examines the passage of municipal ordinances prohibiting gas development using hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in New York State. I argue that local action against fracking depended on multiple conceptions of the shale gas industry. Matching these alternative conceptions with prevailing spatial models of public response to industrial land uses—"not in my backyard," "not in anyone’s backyard," and "please in my backyard"—improves our understanding of where local contention might emerge and how it contributes to policy change. Results from event history and logistic regression analyses show, first, that communities lying above favorable areas of the shale did not pass anti-fracking laws because opposition to fracking was counteracted by significant local support for development. Fracking bans passed primarily in a geographic sweet spot on the periphery of targeted regions, where little or no compelling economic interest in development existed. Second, as fracking became the subject of a highly politicized national debate, local opposition increasingly reflected mobilization by political liberals. This trend is reflected in the increasing rate of ordinance adoption among Democratic-leaning communities outside the geographic sweet spot.
The shift to more time-intensive and child-centered parenting in the United States is widely assumed to be positively linked to healthy child development, but implications for adult well-being are less clear. We assess multiple dimensions of parents’ subjective well-being in activities with children and explore how the gendered nature of time potentially contributes to differences in mothers’ and fathers’ parenting experiences. Relying on nationally representative time diary data linked to respondents’ feelings in activities from the 2010, 2012, and 2013 well-being module of the American Time Use Survey (N = 12,163 persons and 36,036 activities), we find that parents consistently report greater subjective well-being in activities with children than without. Mothers, however, report less happiness, more stress, and greater fatigue in time with children than do fathers. These gaps are relatively small and can be accounted for by differences in the activities that mothers and fathers engage in with children, whether other adults are present, and the quality of their sleep and leisure. We go beyond prior work on parental happiness and life satisfaction to document how contemporary parenting is woven differently into the lives of mothers and fathers.
Many aggregate-level studies suggest a relationship between economic inequality and sociodemographic outcomes such as family formation, health, and mortality; individual-level evidence, however, is lacking. Nor is there satisfactory evidence on the mechanisms by which inequality may have an effect. We study the determinants of transitions to a nonmarital first birth as a single parent or as a cohabiting parent compared to transitions to marriage prior to a first birth among unmarried, childless young adults in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort, from 1997 to 2011. We include measures of county-group-level household income inequality and the availability of jobs typically held by high school graduates that pay above-poverty wages (i.e., middle-skilled jobs). We find that greater income inequality is associated with a reduced likelihood of transitioning to marriage prior to a first birth for both women and men. The association between levels of inequality and transitions to marriage can be partially accounted for by the availability of middle-skilled jobs. Some models also suggest that greater income inequality is associated with a reduced likelihood of transitioning to a first birth while cohabiting.
Tensions between the demands of the knowledge-based economy and remaining, blue-collar jobs underlie renewed debates about whether schools should emphasize career and technical training or college-preparatory curricula. We add a gendered lens to this issue, given the male-dominated nature of blue-collar jobs and women’s greater returns to college. Using the ELS:2002, this study exploits spatial variation in school curricula and jobs to investigate local dynamics that shape gender stratification. Results suggest a link between high school training and jobs in blue-collar communities that structures patterns of gender inequality into early adulthood. Although high school training in blue-collar communities reduced both men’s and women’s odds of four-year college enrollment, it had gender-divergent labor market consequences. Men in blue-collar communities took more blue-collar courses, had higher rates of blue-collar employment, and earned similar wages relative to otherwise comparable men from non-blue-collar communities. Women were less likely to work and to be employed in professional occupations, and they suffered severe wage penalties relative to their male peers and women from non-blue-collar communities. These relationships were due partly to high schools in blue-collar communities offering more blue-collar and fewer advanced college-preparatory courses. This curricular tradeoff may benefit men, but it appears to disadvantage women.
Drawing on Bayesian probability theory, we propose a generalization of affect control theory (BayesACT) that better accounts for the dynamic fluctuation of identity meanings for self and other during interactions, elucidates how people infer and adjust meanings through social experience, and shows how stable patterns of interaction can emerge from individuals’ uncertain perceptions of identities. Using simulations, we illustrate how this generalization offers a resolution to several issues of theoretical significance within sociology and social psychology by balancing cultural consensus with individual deviations from shared meanings, balancing meaning verification with the learning processes reflective of change, and accounting for noise in communicating identity. We also show how the model speaks to debates about core features of the self, which can be understood as stable and yet malleable, coherent and yet composed of multiple identities that may carry competing meanings. We discuss applications of the model in different areas of sociology, implications for understanding identity and social interaction, as well as the theoretical grounding of computational models of social behavior.
The financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 was marked by widespread fraud in the mortgage securitization industry. Most of the largest mortgage originators and mortgage-backed securities issuers and underwriters have been implicated in regulatory settlements, and many have paid multibillion-dollar penalties. This article seeks to explain why this behavior became so pervasive. We evaluate predominant theories of white-collar crime, finding that theories emphasizing deregulation or technical opacity identify only necessary, not sufficient, conditions. Our argument focuses instead on changes in competitive conditions and firms’ positions within and across markets. As the supply of mortgages began to decline around 2003, mortgage originators lowered credit standards and engaged in predatory lending to shore up profits. In turn, vertically integrated mortgage-backed securities issuers and underwriters committed securities fraud to conceal this malfeasance and enhance the value of other financial products. Our results challenge several existing accounts of how widespread the fraud should have been and, given the systemic crimes that occurred, which financial institutions were the most likely to commit fraud. We consider the implications of our results for regulations that were based on some of these models. We also discuss the overlooked importance of illegal behavior for the sociology of markets.
This article demonstrates how class origin shapes earnings in higher professional and managerial employment. Taking advantage of newly released data in Britain’s Labour Force Survey, we examine the relative openness of different high-status occupations and the earnings of the upwardly mobile within them. In terms of access, we find a distinction between traditional professions, such as law, medicine, and finance, which are dominated by the children of higher managers and professionals, and more technical occupations, such as engineering and IT, that recruit more widely. Moreover, even when people who are from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering high-status occupations, they earn 17 percent less, on average, than individuals from privileged backgrounds. This class-origin pay gap translates to up to £7,350 ($11,000) lower annual earnings. This difference is partly explained by the upwardly mobile being employed in smaller firms and working outside London, but it remains substantial even net of a variety of important predictors of earnings. These findings underline the value of investigating differences in mobility rates between individual occupations as well as illustrating how, beyond entry, the mobile population often faces an earnings "class ceiling" within high-status occupations.
Contemporary debates on the relationship between migration and development focus extensively on how migrant remittances affect the economies of sending countries. Yet remittances also produce dynamic political consequences in migrants’ origin communities. Income earned abroad creates political opportunities for migrant groups to participate in the provision of public services in their hometowns. Focusing on organizational variation in partnerships across time and space, this article examines the conditions under which the transnational coproduction of public goods between organized migrants and public agencies at origin shapes democratic governance. I argue that local citizen inclusion and government engagement interact to determine four different types of coproduction: corporatist, fragmented, substitutive, and synergetic. Using four comparative case studies based on fieldwork in three Mexican states, I trace central mechanisms to organizational forms of coproduction and describe how emergent variation affects democratic governance and state–society relations. I show how transnational forces, when collaborating with local social and political institutions, can profoundly affect democratic development.
Bureaucratic and patrimonial theories of organized crime tend to miss the history and mobility of crime groups integrating into and organizing with legitimate society. The network property of multiplexity—when more than one type of relationship exists between a pair of actors—offers a theoretical and empirical inroad to analyzing overlapping relationships of seemingly disparate social spheres. Using the historical case of organized crime in Chicago and a unique relational database coded from more than 5,000 pages of archival documents, we map the web of multiplex relationships among bootleggers, politicians, union members, businessmen, families, and friends. We analyze the overlap of criminal, personal, and legitimate networks containing 1,030 individuals and 3,726 mutual dyads between them. Multiplexity is rare in these data: only 10 percent of the mutual dyads contain multiplex ties. However, results from bivariate exponential random graph models demonstrate that multiplexity is a relevant structural property binding the three networks together. Even among our sample of criminals, we find dependencies between the criminal and personal networks and the criminal and legitimate networks. Although not pervasive, multiplexity glued these worlds of organized crime together above and beyond the personalities of famous gangsters, ethnic homophily, and other endogenous network processes.
To what extent do voluntary organizations like sports, leisure, and neighborhood associations provide a platform where ethnic groups mingle and ethnic boundaries are overcome? This study uses unique panel data from the Netherlands Longitudinal Life Course Study (NELLS) to shed light on the integrative power of voluntary associations. I investigate decisions to join and leave associations of different ethnic composition, as a member or a volunteer, among individuals of Turkish, Moroccan, and native Dutch origin. In general, all ethnic groups are equally likely to join voluntary organizations, but ethnic minorities are more likely to leave than are Dutch natives, even after accounting for relevant sociodemographic characteristics. This alone explains ethnic minorities’ lower involvement rates. Moreover, joining decisions are characterized by strong ethnic sorting across organizations of different ethnic composition: people are much more likely to join associations containing fewer ethnic out-group members. This limits the potential of voluntary associations as pathways to social integration. In contrast, once the initial hurdle of getting involved has been taken, people are no more likely to disengage from organizations with more ethnic out-group members. Inter-ethnic neighborhood contact and the local supply of involvement opportunities are most influential in explaining the strong sorting tendencies in people’s joining decisions.
In this article, we use comparative historical analysis to explain agenda-setting and the timing of policy outcomes on same-sex marriage in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Unlike the United States and Canada, Australia does not have a bill of rights, making litigation to obtain rights not enumerated in existing legislation unavailable to activists. Extending the literatures on the development of public policy and on political and historical institutionalism, we argue that in the absence of domestic opportunities for legal change, international law becomes more important to activists in wealthy democracies, but it is contingent on states’ specific institutional and cultural features. Even when international law is "domesticated" into national political structures, it is still secondary to internal conditions in countries with extensive rights-based polities. International law may set a political agenda, but once introduced, policies move according to internal conditions related to party discipline, the centralization of courts, and policy legacies within those countries.
Do police treat religious-based protest events differently than secular ones? Drawing on data from more than 15,000 protest events in the United States (1960 to 1995) and using quantitative methods, we find that law enforcement agents were less likely to show up at protests when general religious actors, actions, or organizations were present. Rather than reflecting privileged legitimacy, we find that this protective effect is explained by religious protesters’ use of less threatening tactics at events. When religion is disaggregated into different traditions, only mainline and black Protestant groups have lower rates of policing than secular groups. As with the general religion finding, the buffering effect these traditions have on policing is mediated by protester tactics. Moreover, we find that fundamentalist Christians are more likely to be policed than are secular activists when threatening tactics are included. Finally, when actors associated with non-Christian religions engage in extremely confrontational tactics, they are more likely to provoke a police response than are similarly behaving secular groups.
Scholars have documented the emergence of apparently race-neutral discourses that serve to entrench racial stratification following the elimination of de jure segregation. These discourses deny the existence of both present-day racism and the contemporary effects of histories of racial oppression. Researchers posit that individuals are socialized into these views, but little empirical attention has been paid to the processes through which such socialization occurs. Focusing on the South African case study, I draw on five months of daily observations in seventeen 9th-grade history classrooms, content analysis of notes distributed in class, and 170 in-depth interviews with teachers and students to document how and why students are taught not to attend to the effects of apartheid on their society. To mitigate race-based conflict in their local school context, teachers told "both sides of the story," highlighting that not all whites were perpetrators and not all blacks were victims. By decoupling the racialized coding of victims and perpetrators, and sidelining discussions of beneficiaries, teachers hindered students’ abilities to make connections to the present. In outlining how and why individuals are taught about the irrelevance of the past, this study contributes to literatures on race, education, collective memory, and transition to democracy.
Why do workers participate in their own exploitation? This article moves beyond the situational production of consent that has dominated studies of the labor process and outlines the relational production of labor’s surplus value. Using a case of unpaid women who perform valuable work for VIP nightclubs, I present ethnographic data on the VIP party circuit from New York, the Hamptons, Miami, and Cannes, as well as 84 interviews with party organizers and guests. Party promoters, mostly male brokers, appropriate surplus value from women in four stages: recruitment, mobilization, performance, and control. Relational work between promoters and women, cemented by gifts and strategic intimacies, frames women’s labor as leisure and friendship, and boundary work legitimizes women’s work as distinct from sexual labor. When boundaries, media, and meanings of relationships do not appropriately align, as in relational mismatches, women experience the VIP party less as leisure and more as work, and they are less likely to participate. My findings embed the labor process in a relational infrastructure and hold insights for explaining why people work for free in culture and technology sectors of the post-Fordist economy.
The belief that natural sciences are more scientific than the social sciences has been well documented in the perceptions of both lay and scientific populations. Influenced by the Kuhnian concept of "paradigm development" and empirical studies on the closure of scientific controversies, scholars from divergent traditions associate scientific development with increased consensus and stability. However, both the macro/quantitative and micro/qualitative approaches are limited in key ways. This article is the first comparative ethnography of a natural science (molecular biology) and a social science (psychology) and it highlights important differences between the fields. Molecular biologists engage in a process of "bench-building," in which they create and integrate new manipulation techniques and technologies into their practice, whereas psychologists have far less opportunity for this type of development. This suggests an alternative conception of the natural/social divide, in which the natural sciences are defined by dynamic material evolution while the social sciences remain relatively stable.
This study examines whether working with a broker increases or reduces the payment received for the last client among female sex workers. Building on research on the informal economy and sex work, we formulate a positive embeddedness hypothesis, expecting a positive association, and an exploitation hypothesis, expecting a negative association. We analyze a large survey combined with intensive interview data on female sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, India. These data uniquely distinguish between the amount the sex worker actually received and the amount the client paid. The analyses show that brokers are associated with significantly lower last payment received. Although brokers are associated with a greater number of clients in the past week, this does not result in significantly higher total earnings in the past week. Further analyses suggest that much of the negative relationship with earnings is due to the fact that brokers lead to a lack of control over the amount clients are charged. At the same time, the results fail to show that brokers actually provide services of value. Ultimately, the results support the exploitation hypothesis. We conclude by encouraging the refinement of theories of embeddedness and exploitation and calling for greater research on workers in the informal economy of developing countries.
Competing visions of who is deserving of rewards and privileges, and different understandings of the fairness of reward allocation processes, are at the heart of political conflict. Indeed, social movement scholars generally agree that a key component of most, if not all, social movements is a shared belief that existing conditions are unfair and subject to change (Gamson 1992; McAdam 1982; Snow et al. 1986; Turner and Killian 1987). In this article we consider the role that residential segregation by education level plays in shaping perceptions of distributive justice and, in turn, providing a context conducive to conservative political mobilization. We apply these ideas in an analysis of Tea Party activism and show that educational segregation is a strong predictor of the number of Tea Party organizations in U.S. counties. In a complementary analysis, we find that individuals with a bachelor’s degree are more likely than people who do not have any college education to support the Tea Party; this relationship is strongest in counties with higher levels of educational segregation.
Schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life may help employees manage the work-family interface. Existing data and research designs, however, have made it difficult to conclusively identify the effects of these work resources. This analysis utilizes a group-randomized trial in which some units in an information technology workplace were randomly assigned to participate in an initiative, called STAR, that targeted work practices, interactions, and expectations by (1) training supervisors on the value of demonstrating support for employees’ personal lives and (2) prompting employees to reconsider when and where they work. We find statistically significant, although modest, improvements in employees’ work-family conflict and family time adequacy, and larger changes in schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life. We find no evidence that this intervention increased work hours or perceived job demands, as might have happened with increased permeability of work across time and space. Subgroup analyses suggest the intervention brought greater benefits to employees more vulnerable to work-family conflict. This study uses a rigorous design to investigate deliberate organizational changes and their effects on work resources and the work-family interface, advancing our understanding of the impact of social structures on individual lives.
Homophily, the tendency for similar actors to be connected at a higher rate than dissimilar actors, is a pervasive social fact. In this article, we examine changes over a 20-year period in two types of homophily—the actual level of contact between people in different social categories and the level of contact relative to chance. We use data from the 1985 and 2004 General Social Surveys to ask whether the strengths of five social distinctions—sex, race/ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, and education—changed over the past two decades in core discussion networks. Changes in the actual level of homophily are driven by the demographic composition of the United States. As the nation has become more diverse, cross-category contacts in race/ethnicity and religion have increased. After describing the raw homophily rates, we develop a case-control model to assess homophily relative to chance mixing. We find decreasing rates of homophily for gender but stability for race and age, although the young are increasingly isolated from older cohorts outside of the family. We also find some weak evidence for increasing educational and religious homophily. These relational trends may be explained by changes in demographic heterogeneity, institutional segregation, economic inequality, and symbolic boundaries.
The modernization thesis claims that intergenerational social mobility increased over time due to industrialization and other modernization processes. Here, we test whether this is indeed the case. We study approximately 360,000 brothers from 189,000 families covering more than 500 municipalities in the Netherlands and a 70-year period (1827 to 1897). We complement these sibling- and family-level data with municipal indicators for the degree of industrialization, mass communication, urbanization, educational expansion, geographic mobility, and mass transportation. We analyze these data by applying sibling models, that is, multilevel regression models where brothers are nested in families, which in turn are nested in communities. We find that the total—unmeasured—family effect on sons’ status attainment decreases slightly and is higher than that found for contemporary societies. The measured influence of the family, operationalized by father’s occupational status, decreased gradually in the Netherlands in the second half of the nineteenth century. A substantial part of this decrease was due to some, but not all, of the modernization processes adduced by the modernization thesis.
This article uses data on prisoners incarcerated for misdemeanors in late-nineteenth-century U.S. cities to assess a three-part argument that asserts that threats to white dominance prompted efforts of social control directed against African Americans and foreign-born whites: (1) For African Americans, competition with whites for jobs instigated efforts by whites to enforce the racial barrier. (2) For the foreign-born, upward mobility became associated with white identity, which allowed those who "became white" to be seen as less threatening. We thus expect the threat from foreign-born whites to be highest where their concentration in poverty was greatest. (3) We suggest that violence against a given boundary raises the salience of group threat, so a positive relationship should exist between prior violence against a group and its level of incarceration for misdemeanors. Using panel analyses of cities from 1890 through 1910, we find supporting evidence for the first two arguments and partial support for the third.
This article draws on more than 15 years of research to analyze "Black Mexicans," phenotypically "Mexican-looking" youth who identified as Black during adolescence, used this identity to become upwardly mobile, and then abandoned it in early adulthood. Black Mexicans are potentially iconic cases among emerging varieties of U.S. ethnic and racial life, given Mexicans’ status as a key, usually negative, case in assimilation theory. Most such theory posits that assimilation into Black, inner-city culture leads to downward mobility. To explain how and why this did not happen for Black Mexicans, I propose a sensitizing framework using the concepts of conjunctural ethnicity, emphasizing analysis of racial and ethnic identity in local, historical, and life course contexts; and operating identity, which analyzes identities in interactions and can accommodate slippage in informants’ understanding or use of ethnic and racial categories. Some Mexicans used a Black culture of mobility to become upwardly mobile in the late-1990s and early-2000s in New York, adopting a socially advantaged operating identity that helped them in ways they felt Mexicanness could not in that historical conjuncture, especially given intra-ethnic competition between teen migrants and second-generation youth. This article uses case-based ethnographic analysis and net-effects analysis to explain why and how Blackness aided upward mobility among Black and non-Black Mexicans, but was left behind in early adulthood.
Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the increasing prevalence of "overwork" (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the rising hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hours are especially common and the norm of overwork is deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupational cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.
The degree and scope of criminal justice surveillance increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Recent qualitative research suggests the rise in surveillance may be met with a concomitant increase in efforts to evade it. To date, however, there has been no quantitative empirical test of this theory. In this article, I introduce the concept of "system avoidance," whereby individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system avoid surveilling institutions that keep formal records. Using data from Add Health (n = 15,170) and the NLSY97 (n = 8,894), I find that individuals who have been stopped by police, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated are less likely to interact with surveilling institutions, including medical, financial, labor market, and educational institutions, than their counterparts who have not had criminal justice contact. By contrast, individuals with criminal justice contact are no less likely to participate in civic or religious institutions. Because criminal justice contact is disproportionately distributed, this study suggests system avoidance is a potential mechanism through which the criminal justice system contributes to social stratification: it severs an already marginalized subpopulation from institutions that are pivotal to desistance from crime and their own integration into broader society.
Durkheim argued that strong social relationships protect individuals from suicide. We posit, however, that strong social relationships also have the potential to increase individuals’ vulnerability when they expose people to suicidality. Using three waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we evaluate whether new suicidal thoughts and attempts are in part responses to exposure to role models’ suicide attempts, specifically friends and family. We find that role models’ suicide attempts do in fact trigger new suicidal thoughts, and in some cases attempts, even after significant controls are introduced. Moreover, we find these effects fade with time, girls are more vulnerable to them than boys, and the relationship to the role model—for teenagers at least—matters. Friends appear to be more salient role models for both boys and girls. Our findings suggest that exposure to suicidal behaviors in significant others may teach individuals new ways to deal with emotional distress, namely by becoming suicidal. This reinforces the idea that the structure—and content—of social networks conditions their role in preventing suicidality. Social ties can be conduits of not just social support, but also antisocial behaviors, like suicidality.
What accounts for the formation and disintegration of social movement alliances? The dominant approach in social movement studies stresses the role of political opportunities and threats in facilitating or undermining alliances between oppositional groups. This article argues, by contrast, that the convergence and divergence of contenders’ perceptions mediate between political opportunities and shifting alliances. Whereas previous studies conceptualize perceptions as global assessments of actors’ environments, I disaggregate three dimensions of the concept: optimism about state elites, optimism about state institutions, and optimism about contentious collective action. The Iranian Reform Movement of 1997 to 2005 offers a nearly ideal case for the study of perceptions and alliances, because it encompasses a variety of opposition groups whose alliances formed and disintegrated over the course of the movement’s rise and decline. This article examines shifting perceptions of opportunity among these groups and documents how these perceptions affected alliances, independent of state repression and groups’ ultimate goals.
In this article we examine how social capital affects the creation of human capital. Specifically, we study how college students’ peers affect academic performance. Building on existing research, we consider the different types of peers in the academic context and the various mechanisms through which peers affect performance. We test our model using data from an engineering college in India. Our data include information about the performance of individual students as well as their randomly assigned roommates, chosen friends, and chosen study-partners. We find that students with able roommates perform better, and the magnitude of this roommate effect increases when the roommate’s skills match the student’s academic goals. We also find that students benefit equally from same- and different-caste roommates, suggesting that social similarity does not strengthen peer effects. Finally, although we do not find strong evidence for independent friendship or study-partner effects, our results suggest that roommates become study-partners, and in so doing, affect performance. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that peer effects are a consequential determinant of academic achievement.
Human capital theory posits that individuals increase their labor market returns through investments in education and training. This concept has been studied extensively across several disciplines. An analog concept of criminal capital, the focus of some speculation and limited empirical study, remains considerably less developed theoretically and methodologically. This article offers a formal theoretical model of criminal capital indicators and tests for greater illegal wage returns using a sample of serious adolescent offenders, many of whom participate in illegal income-generating activities. Our results reveal that, consistent with human capital theory, important illegal wage premiums are associated with investments in criminal capital, notably an increasing but declining marginal return to experience and a premium for specialization. Furthermore, as in studies of legal labor markets, we find strong evidence that, if left unaccounted for, nonrandom sample selection causes severe bias in models of illegal wages. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these results, along with directions for future research.
In response to dramatic increases in imprisonment, a burgeoning literature considers the consequences of incarceration for family life, almost always documenting negative outcomes. But effects of incarceration may be more complicated and nuanced. In this article, we consider the countervailing consequences of paternal incarceration for a host of family relationships, including fathers’ parenting, mothers’ parenting, and the relationship between parents. Using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find recent paternal incarceration sharply diminishes parenting behaviors among residential but not nonresidential fathers. Virtually all of the association between incarceration and parenting among residential fathers is explained by changes in fathers’ relationships with their children’s mothers. Consequences for mothers’ parenting, however, are weak and inconsistent. Furthermore, our findings show recent paternal incarceration sharply increases the probability a mother repartners, potentially offsetting some losses from the biological father’s lesser involvement while simultaneously leading to greater family complexity. Taken together, the collateral consequences of paternal incarceration for family life are complex and countervailing.
The literature on social capital and entrepreneurship often explores individual benefits of social capital, such as the role of personal networks in promoting self-employment. In this article, we instead examine social capital’s public good aspects, arguing that the benefits of social trust and organization memberships accrue not just to the individual but to the community at large. We test these arguments using individual data from the 2000 Census that have been merged with two community surveys, the Social Capital Benchmark Survey and the General Social Survey. We find that individuals in communities with high levels of social trust are more likely to be self-employed compared to individuals in communities with lower levels of social trust. Additionally, membership in organizations connected to the larger community is associated with higher levels of self-employment, but membership in isolated organizations that lack connections to the larger community is associated with lower levels of self-employment. Further analysis suggests that the entrepreneurship-enhancing effects of community social capital are stronger for whites, native-born residents, and long-term community members than for minorities, immigrants, and recent entrants.
Research on immigration, educational achievement, and ethnoraciality has followed the lead of racialization and assimilation theories by focusing empirical attention on the immigrant-origin population (immigrants and their children), while overlooking the effect of an immigrant presence on the third-plus generation (U.S.-born individuals of U.S.-born parents), especially its white members. We depart from this approach by placing third-plus-generation individuals at center stage to examine how they adjust to norms defined by the immigrant-origin population. We draw on fieldwork in Cupertino, California, a high-skilled immigrant gateway, where an Asian immigrant-origin population has established and enforces an amplified version of high-achievement norms. The resulting ethnoracial encoding of academic achievement constructs whiteness as having lesser-than status. Asianness stands for high-achievement, hard work, and success; whiteness, in contrast, represents low-achievement, laziness, and academic mediocrity. We argue that immigrants can serve as a foil against which the meaning and status of an ethnoracial category is recast, upending how the category is deployed in daily life. Our findings call into question the position that treats the third-plus generation, especially whites, as the benchmark population that sets achievement norms and to which all other populations adjust.
Why did Communism take root in China during the May Fourth Movement era (1917 to 1921)? I argue that a key factor was the revolutionary vanguard’s emergence through taking over existing activist organizations. Using reports and meeting minutes of 28 organizations and individual activists’ correspondence, diaries, and memoirs as sources for comparative cross-sectional analysis and processual case studies of the organizational debates over whether to adopt Bolshevism as a unifying ism, I find that a crucial factor explaining an organization’s positive response to Communist bloc recruitment was whether it practiced ethical activism, which engendered a sectarian group ethos that meshed with Bolshevik organizational culture. By contrast, the absence of ethical activism, and the correlative mismatch in organizational ethos, was associated with a negative response to Communist recruitment efforts. Two key mechanisms—frame resonance and group discipline—mediate this selective attraction. I conclude by discussing how organization-level analysis of selective spillover between social movements enhances our understanding of both individual participants’ motivations and the distinct style in which a movement responds to its political environment.
Although the working poor are a much larger population than the unemployed poor, U.S. poverty research devotes much more attention to joblessness than to working poverty. Research that does exist on working poverty concentrates on demographics and economic performance and neglects institutions. Building on literatures on comparative institutions, unionization, and states as polities, we examine the influence of a potentially important labor market institution for working poverty: the level of unionization in a state. Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) for the United States, we estimate (1) multi-level logit models of poverty among employed households in 2010; and (2) two-way fixed-effects models of working poverty across seven waves of data from 1991 to 2010. Further, we replicate the analyses with the Current Population Survey while controlling for household unionization, and assess unionization’s potential influence on selection into employment. Across all models, state-level unionization is robustly significantly negative for working poverty. The effects of unionization are larger than the effects of states’ economic performance and social policies. Unionization reduces working poverty for both unionized and non-union households and does not appear to discourage employment. We conclude that U.S. poverty research can advance by devoting greater attention to working poverty, and by incorporating insights from the comparative literature on institutions.
Today’s typical minority student attends school with fewer whites than his counterpart in 1970. This apparent resegregation of U.S. schools has sparked outrage and debate. Some blame a rollback of desegregation policies designed to distribute students more evenly among schools; others blame the changing racial composition of the student population. This study clarifies the link between distributive processes of segregation, population change, and school racial composition by framing school segregation as a mode of social closure. I use a novel decomposition approach to determine the relative contributions of distributive processes and compositional change in the apparent resegregation of schools from 1993 to 2010. For the most part, compositional changes are to blame for the declining presence of whites in minorities’ schools. During this period, whites and minorities actually became more evenly distributed across schools, helping increase minority students’ exposure to whites. Further decompositions reveal the continued success of district-level desegregation efforts, but the greatest barrier to progress appears to be the uneven distribution of students between school districts in the same area. These findings call for new research and new policies to address contemporary school segregation.
Recent research on collective memory suggests that commemorations of difficult pasts take either a multivocal or a fragmented form. I suggest these forms exist as ideal types for the initial commemoration, but the commemorative field, as a whole, remains dynamic over time, effectively shifting between forms. This study traces the creation, maintenance, and transformation of collective memory of the May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State from 1970 to 2013 using archival sources, media accounts, and participant observation. In examining the commemorative field at Kent, I theorize the existence of a third commemorative form—the integrated commemorative field, which allows for the expression of divergent narratives and the maintenance of separate commemorative spaces while simultaneously enhancing social solidarity through shared meta-narratives that stress overarching values, like human rights or scientific inquiry.