rvenkat + sociology   100

Mapping Society
From a rare map of yellow fever in eighteenth-century New York, to Charles Booth’s famous maps of poverty in nineteenth-century London, an Italian racial zoning map of early twentieth century Asmara, to a map of wealth disparities in the banlieues of twenty-first-century Paris, Mapping Society traces the evolution of social cartography over the past two centuries. In this richly illustrated book, Laura Vaughan examines maps of ethnic or religious difference, poverty, and health inequalities, demonstrating how they not only serve as historical records of social enquiry, but also constitute inscriptions of social patterns that have been etched deeply on the surface of cities.

The book covers themes such as the use of visual rhetoric to change public opinion, the evolution of sociology as an academic practice, changing attitudes to physical disorder, and the complexity of segregation as an urban phenomenon. While the focus is on historical maps, the narrative carries the discussion of the spatial dimensions of social cartography forward to the present day, showing how disciplines such as public health, crime science, and urban planning chart spatial data in their current practice. Containing examples of space syntax analysis alongside historical maps and photographs, this volume will appeal to all those interested in the long-term forces that shape how people live in cities.

book  spatial_statistics  cities  geography  sociology  via:cshalizi 
27 days ago by rvenkat
The Oversocialized Conception of Man in Modern Sociology on JSTOR
"Sociological theory originates in the asking of general questions about man and society. The answers lose their meaning if they are elaborated without reference to the questions, as has been the case in much contemporary theory. An example is the Hobbesian question of how men become tractable to social controls. The two-fold answer of contemporary theory is that man 'internalizes' social norms and seeks a favorable self-image by conforming to the 'expectations' of others. Such a model of man denies the very possibility of his being anything but a thoroughly socialized being and thus denies the reality of the Hobbesian question. The Freudian view of man, on the other hand, which sociologists have misrepresented, sees man as a social though never a fully socialized creature. Sociologists need to develop a more complex, dialectical conception of human nature." Man's nature is the source of conflicts creating resistances to socialization.

sociology  critique  nature-nurture  debates 
november 2018 by rvenkat
Kavanaugh is lying. His upbringing explains why. - The Washington Post
--Surely, as the chair of sociology at Columbia, the author could have crafted a better article instead of virtue signaling and pandering to the *good* people.
distrust_of_elites  institutions  sociology  misguided  WaPo 
september 2018 by rvenkat
Randomistas | Yale University Press
Experiments have consistently been used in the hard sciences, but in recent decades social scientists have adopted the practice. Randomized trials have been used to design policies to increase educational attainment, lower crime rates, elevate employment rates, and improve living standards among the poor.

This book tells the stories of radical researchers who have used experiments to overturn conventional wisdom. From finding the cure for Scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, Leigh shows how randomistas have shaped life as we know it. Written in a “gladwell-esque” style, this book provides a fascinating account of key RCT studies from across the globe and the challenges that randomistas have faced in getting their studies accepted and their findings implemented. In telling these stories, Leigh draws out key lessons learned and shows the most effective way to conduct these trials.
empiricism  experiments  economics  sociology  public_policy  book 
march 2018 by rvenkat
The Space between Us by Ryan D. Enos
The Space between Us brings the connection between geography, psychology, and politics to life. By going into the neighborhoods of real cities, Enos shows how our perceptions of racial, ethnic, and religious groups are intuitively shaped by where these groups live and interact daily. Through the lens of numerous examples across the globe and drawing on a compelling combination of research techniques including field and laboratory experiments, big data analysis, and small-scale interactions, this timely book provides a new understanding of how geography shapes politics and how members of groups think about each other. Enos' analysis is punctuated with personal accounts from the field. His rigorous research unfolds in accessible writing that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike, illuminating the profound effects of social geography on how we relate to, think about, and politically interact across groups in the fabric of our daily lives.

book  sociology  geography  political_sociology  homophily  social_networks  networks  dmce  teaching 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Garip, F.: On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
Why do Mexicans migrate to the United States? Is there a typical Mexican migrant? Beginning in the 1970s, survey data indicated that the average migrant was a young, unmarried man who was poor, undereducated, and in search of better employment opportunities. This is the general view that most Americans still hold of immigrants from Mexico. On the Move argues that not only does this view of Mexican migrants reinforce the stereotype of their undesirability, but it also fails to capture the true diversity of migrants from Mexico and their evolving migration patterns over time.

Using survey data from over 145,000 Mexicans and in-depth interviews with nearly 140 Mexicans, Filiz Garip reveals a more accurate picture of Mexico-U.S migration. In the last fifty years there have been four primary waves: a male-dominated migration from rural areas in the 1960s and '70s, a second migration of young men from socioeconomically more well-off families during the 1980s, a migration of women joining spouses already in the United States in the late 1980s and ’90s, and a generation of more educated, urban migrants in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For each of these four stages, Garip examines the changing variety of reasons for why people migrate and migrants’ perceptions of their opportunities in Mexico and the United States.

Looking at Mexico-U.S. migration during the last half century, On the Move uncovers the vast mechanisms underlying the flow of people moving between nations.

Review here
book  migration  immigration  sociology  economic_geography  economic_sociology  social_networks 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Gentrification and the Criminalization of Neighborhoods - The Atlantic
-- very interesting, the process of gentrification lowers the threshold of what is allowed and hence what is *criminal* and a form of generalized *broken windows* policing amplifies policing intensity which ends up disproportionately affecting minorities and lower socio-economic classes.
economic_geography  cities  poverty  policing  criminal_justice  norms  institutions  sociology  gentrification  the_atlantic 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Thinking Through Methods: A Social Science Primer, Martin
Sociological research is hard enough already—you don’t need to make it even harder by smashing about like a bull in a china shop, not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re heading. Or so says John Levi Martin in this witty, insightful, and desperately needed primer on how to practice rigorous social science. Thinking Through Methods focuses on the practical decisions that you will need to make as a researcher—where the data you are working with comes from and how that data relates to all the possible data you could have gathered.
This is a user’s guide to sociological research, designed to be used at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Rather than offer mechanical rules and applications, Martin chooses instead to team up with the reader to think through and with methods. He acknowledges that we are human beings—and thus prone to the same cognitive limitations and distortions found in subjects—and proposes ways to compensate for these limitations. Martin also forcefully argues for principled symmetry, contending that bad ethics makes for bad research, and vice versa. Thinking Through Methods is a landmark work—one that students will turn to again and again throughout the course of their sociological research.

-- a sequel to his _Thinking Through Theory_?
sociology  methods  advice  book 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent CrimeAmerican Sociological Review - Patrick Sharkey, Gerard Torrats-Espinosa, Delaram Takyar, 2017
Largely overlooked in the theoretical and empirical literature on the crime decline is a long tradition of research in criminology and urban sociology that considers how violence is regulated through informal sources of social control arising from residents and organizations internal to communities. In this article, we incorporate the “systemic” model of community life into debates on the U.S. crime drop, and we focus on the role that local nonprofit organizations played in the national decline of violence from the 1990s to the 2010s. Using longitudinal data and a strategy to account for the endogeneity of nonprofit formation, we estimate the causal effect on violent crime of nonprofits focused on reducing violence and building stronger communities. Drawing on a panel of 264 cities spanning more than 20 years, we estimate that every 10 additional organizations focusing on crime and community life in a city with 100,000 residents leads to a 9 percent reduction in the murder rate, a 6 percent reduction in the violent crime rate, and a 4 percent reduction in the property crime rate.

a forthcoming book based on this work

and a dilute version here
crime  longitudinal-study  causal_inference  sociology  non-profit  institutions  social_movements  cities  models_of_behavior  book 
november 2017 by rvenkat
The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America - Encounter Books
A compelling case can be made that violent crime, especially after the 1960s, was one of the most significant domestic issues in the United States. Indeed, few issues had as profound an effect on American life in the last third of the twentieth century. After 1965, crime rose to such levels that it frightened virtually all Americans and prompted significant alterations in everyday behaviors and even lifestyles. The risk of being mugged was a concern when Americans chose places to live and schools for their children, selected commuter routes to work, and planned their leisure activities. In some locales, people were afraid to leave their dwellings at any time, day or night, even to go to the market. In the worst of the post-1960s crime wave, Americans spent part of each day literally looking back over their shoulders.

The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America is the first book to comprehensively examine this important phenomenon over the entire postwar era. It combines a social history of the United States with the insights of criminology and examines the relationship between rising and falling crime and such historical developments as the postwar economic boom, suburbanization and the rise of the middle class, baby booms and busts, war and antiwar protest, the urbanization of minorities, and more.
book  sociology  violence  crime  criminal_justice  united_states_of_america  20th_century 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Racial Projects in Black Box Societies – Digital Sociology at VCU – Medium
-- use of fancy high theory seems unnecessary

-- discourse on race in this country keeps rediscovering caste system, they should read more sub-continental post-colonial thought.
race  discrimination  inequality  critical_theory  cultural_studies  sociology  cybernetics  tressie.cottom 
october 2017 by rvenkat
[1103.2273] Category theoretic analysis of hierarchical protein materials and social networks
Materials in biology span all the scales from Angstroms to meters and typically consist of complex hierarchical assemblies of simple building blocks. Here we describe an application of category theory to describe structural and resulting functional properties of biological protein materials by developing so-called ologs. An olog is like a "concept web" or "semantic network" except that it follows a rigorous mathematical formulation based on category theory. This key difference ensures that an olog is unambiguous, highly adaptable to evolution and change, and suitable for sharing concepts with other olog. We consider simple cases of alpha-helical and amyloid-like protein filaments subjected to axial extension and develop an olog representation of their structural and resulting mechanical properties. We also construct a representation of a social network in which people send text-messages to their nearest neighbors and act as a team to perform a task. We show that the olog for the protein and the olog for the social network feature identical category-theoretic representations, and we proceed to precisely explicate the analogy or isomorphism between them. The examples presented here demonstrate that the intrinsic nature of a complex system, which in particular includes a precise relationship between structure and function at different hierarchical levels, can be effectively represented by an olog. This, in turn, allows for comparative studies between disparate materials or fields of application, and results in novel approaches to derive functionality in the design of de novo hierarchical systems. We discuss opportunities and challenges associated with the description of complex biological materials by using ologs as a powerful tool for analysis and design in the context of materiomics, and we present the potential impact of this approach for engineering, life sciences, and medicine.
dynamical_system  category_theory  operad  mathematics  foundations  sociology  molecular_biology  social_networks 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Post-racial rhetoric, racial health disparities, and health disparity consequences of stigma, stress, and racism | Equitable Growth
We explore the paradox of why high achieving black Americans, as measured by education, still exhibit large health disparities. We discuss how the post-racial, politics of personal responsibility and “neoliberal paternalism” troupes discourage a public responsibility for the conditions of the poor and black Americans, and, instead, encourage punitive measures to “manage…surplus populations” of the poor and black Americans. We introduce an alternative frame and integrate it with John Henryism as a link to better understand the paradox above – the added efforts and stigma imposed upon high achieving blacks that threaten the relative position of the dominant white group translates in deleterious health for high achieving blacks. Ultimately, we explore how the potential physical and psychological costs of stigma and, ironically, exerting individual agency, which in the context of racist or stigmatized environment, may explain the limited role of education and income as protective health factors for blacks relative to whites.
health  inequality  race  mediation_analysis  sociology  united_states_of_america  for_friends 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Law and Psychology Grows Up, Goes Online, and Replicates by Kristin Firth, David A. Hoffman, Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan :: SSRN
Over the last thirty years, legal scholars have increasingly deployed experimental studies, particularly hypothetical scenarios, to test intuitions about legal reasoning and behavior. That movement has accelerated in the last decade, facilitated in large part by cheap and convenient Internet participant recruiting platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk. The widespread use of MTurk subjects, a practice that dramatically lowers the barriers to entry for experimental research, has been controversial. At the same time, law and psychology’s home discipline is experiencing a public crisis of confidence widely discussed in terms of the “replication crisis.” At present, law and psychology research is arguably in a new era, in which it is both an accepted feature of the legal landscape and also a target of fresh skepticism. The moment is ripe for taking stock.
In this paper, we bring an empirical approach to these problems. Using three canonical law and psychology findings, we document the challenges and the feasibility of reproducing results across platforms. We evaluate the extent to which we are able to reproduce the original findings with contemporary subject pools (MTurk, other national online platforms, and in-person labs). We partially replicate the results, and show marked similarities in subject responses across platforms. In the context of the experiments here, we conclude that meaningful replication requires active intervention in order to keep the materials relevant and sensible. The second aim is to compare Turk subjects to the original samples and to the replication samples. We find, consistent with the weight of recent evidence, that MTurk samples are highly reliable and useful. Subjects are highly similar to subjects on other online platforms an in-person samples, but they differ in their high level of attentiveness. Finally, we review the growing replication literature across disciplines, as well as our firsthand experience, to propose a set of standard practices for the publication of results in law and psychology.
review  empirical_legal_studies  amazon_turk  replication_of_studies  methods  sociology  social_psychology 
august 2017 by rvenkat
Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets
As robots and other computer-assisted technologies take over tasks previously performed by labor, there is increasing concern about the future of jobs and wages. We analyze the effect of the increase in industrial robot usage between 1990 and 2007 on US local labor markets. Using a model in which robots compete against human labor in the production of different tasks, we show that robots may reduce employment and wages, and that the local labor market effects of robots can be estimated by regressing the change in employment and wages on the exposure to robots in each local labor market—defined from the national penetration of robots into each industry and the local distribution of employment across industries. Using this approach, we estimate large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages across commuting zones. We bolster this evidence by showing that the commuting zones most exposed to robots in the post-1990 era do not exhibit any differential trends before 1990. The impact of robots is distinct from the impact of imports from China and Mexico, the decline of routine jobs, offshoring, other types of IT capital, and the total capital stock (in fact, exposure to robots is only weakly correlated with these other variables). According to our estimates, one more robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio by about 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.25-0.5 percent.

-- see also Autor's recent papers
automation  jobs  labor  robotics  artificial_intelligence  economics  sociology  technology  macroeconomics 
march 2017 by rvenkat
Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate, on Trump, Poverty, and Opioids - The Atlantic
-- read his critical remarks on Gordon's non-replicability of technological innovations and one sentence takes on other books that traces white poverty.
inequality  economics  health  book  review  united_states_of_america  nationalism  sociology  civilizing_process  ?  human_progress  the_atlantic 
march 2017 by rvenkat
4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump – Medium
As someone who has witnessed 4chan grow from a group of adolescent boys who could fit into a single room at my local anime convention to a worldwide coalition of right wing extremists (which is still somehow also a message board about anime), I feel I have some obligation to explain.
This essay is an attempt to untangle the threads of 4chan and the far right.

--another related sub-culture
democracy  norms  sociology  anthropology  culture  21st_century  collective_intention  networked_life  via:henryfarrell 
february 2017 by rvenkat
Hegemony How-To | AK Press
Hegemony How-To is a practical guide to political struggle for a generation that is deeply ambivalent about questions of power, leadership, and strategy. Hopeful about the potential of today’s burgeoning movements, long-time grassroots organizer Jonathan Smucker nonetheless pulls no punches when confronting their internal dysfunction. Drawing from personal experience, he provides deep theoretical insight into the all-too-familiar radical tendency toward self-defeating insularity and paralyzing purism. At the same time, he offers tools to bridge the divide between anti-authoritarian values and hegemonic strategies, tools that might just help today’s movements to navigate their obstacles—and change the world.

Jonathan Smucker is the Director of Beyond the Choir and has worked for more than two decades as an organizer and strategist in grassroots social movements. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Nation, The Sociological Quarterly, and elsewhere.

social_movements  democracy  collective_intention  cultural_cognition  sociology  via:zeynep 
february 2017 by rvenkat
The Tech Resistance Awakens
-- a typically misleading grandoise sounding title but our very own Maciej Ceglowski is mentioned often.
hactivism  social_movements  us_politics  political_economy  sociology 
february 2017 by rvenkat
The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism | Perspectives on Politics | Cambridge Core
In the aftermath of a potentially demoralizing 2008 electoral defeat, when the Republican Party seemed widely discredited, the emergence of the Tea Party provided conservative activists with a new identity funded by Republican business elites and reinforced by a network of conservative media sources. Untethered from recent GOP baggage and policy specifics, the Tea Party energized disgruntled white middle-class conservatives and garnered widespread attention, despite stagnant or declining favorability ratings among the general public. As participant observation and interviews with Massachusetts activists reveal, Tea Partiers are not monolithically hostile toward government; they distinguish between programs perceived as going to hard-working contributors to US society like themselves and “handouts” perceived as going to unworthy or freeloading people. During 2010, Tea Party activism reshaped many GOP primaries and enhanced voter turnout, but achieved a mixed record in the November general election. Activism may well continue to influence dynamics in Congress and GOP presidential primaries. Even if the Tea Party eventually subsides, it has undercut Obama's presidency, revitalized conservatism, and pulled the national Republican Party toward the far right.
social_movements  us_politics  us_conservative_thought  sociology  class_struggles 
february 2017 by rvenkat
The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism - Hardback - Theda Skocpol, Vanessa Williamson - Oxford University Press
Shortly after the Democrats' resounding victory in 2008, many prognosticators envisioned an enduring Democratic majority. As conventional wisdom had it, the Republican Party would be hamstrung by its far right wing, particularly in the wake of the financial crisis and the failures of the Bush presidency. Republicans, so the thinking went, would need to rediscover the center and cater to it. However, this is not what happened. Shortly after Obama took office and proposed bold new legislation that expanded the scope of federal power, a grassroots conservative movement spread like wildfire through the prairies: the Tea Party Movement.

In this sharp analysis of the Tea Party, Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson combine finely grained portraits of local Tea Party chapters with a big-picture analysis of the larger movement's rise and likely fate. After explaining the movement's demographic makeup as well as the organization and operation of local chapters, Skocpol and Williamson explore their belief system. Drawing from extensive interviews with Massachusetts and Virginia chapters, they found that while Tea Partiers profess to hate government, they are generally supportive of programs that working people pay into like Social Security and Medicare. They reserve their hostility for programs that fund the 'undeserving,' which puts the movement squarely in line with the long tradition of postwar American conservatism. Perhaps most interestingly, they have found that the movement resents illegal immigration more than any other social or economic phenomenon—even in places like Massachusetts, which is not a gateway for undocumented aliens.

The authors take their story through the 2010 Congressional elections and assess what the Tea Party's strength means for both the Republican Party and the Conservative movement in the future. Much of what the Tea Party supports cuts against other Republican commitments, like the elites' commitment to cutting social security and expanding free trade, so the movement's successes will generate new fissures. Also, the ongoing attempt by the national Republican Party to co-opt the movement will probably lead to contradictions and conflict. That said, they are a powerful new social movement in American politics—more powerful than most foresaw when they initially burst on the scene—and they will play an important role in conservatism for the foreseeable future.
social_movements  us_politics  us_conservative_thought  book  sociology 
february 2017 by rvenkat
Social Theory and Public Opinion | Annual Review of Sociology
Any study of public opinion must consider the ontological status of the public being represented. In this review, we outline several empirical problems in current public opinion research and illustrate them with a contemporary case: public opinion about same-sex marriage. We then briefly trace historical attempts to grapple with the public in public opinion and then present the most thoroughgoing critiques and defenses of polling. We detail four approaches to the ontology and epistemology of public opinion. We argue for a conceptualization of public opinion that relies upon polling techniques alongside other investigative modes but that understands public opinion as dynamic, reactive, and collective. Publics are shaped by techniques that represent them, including public opinion research.
public_opinion  cultural_cognition  political_science  sociology  opinion_formation  methods  critique  review  dmce  teaching 
february 2017 by rvenkat
Secrets and Misperceptions: The Creation of Self-Fulfilling Illusions | Sociological Science
This study examines who hears what secrets, comparing two similar secrets — one which is highly stigmatized and one which is less so. Using a unique survey representative of American adults and intake forms from a medical clinic, I document marked differences in who hears these secrets. People who are sympathetic to the stigmatizing secret are more likely to hear of it than those who may react negatively. This is a consequence not just of people selectively disclosing their own secrets but selectively sharing others’ as well. As a result, people in the same social network will be exposed to and influenced by different information about those they know and hence experience that network differently. When people effectively exist in networks tailored by others to not offend then the information they hear tends to be that of which they already approve. Were they to hear secrets they disapprove of then their attitudes might change but they are less likely to hear those secrets. As such, the patterns of secret-hearing contribute to a stasis in public opinion.

--her dissertation (Secrets and Social Influence) here
sociology  influence  public_opinion  opinion_dynamics  social_networks  norms  information_diffusion  people 
january 2017 by rvenkat
The Real Story About Fake News Is Partisanship - The New York Times
-- researchers mentioned in the article seem convinced of media mediated polarization is a large factor in observed partisanship and emergence of partyism. Are there meta-studies that back this outsized influence? Are they based on mediation analysis? .... I am not convinced...
cultural_cognition  political_psychology  sociology  us_politics  united_states_of_america  judgment_decision-making  dmce  teaching  NYTimes 
january 2017 by rvenkat
Should social science be more solution-oriented? : Nature Human Behaviour
Over the past 100 years, social science has generated a tremendous number of theories on the topics of individual and collective human behaviour. However, it has been much less successful at reconciling the innumerable inconsistencies and contradictions among these competing explanations, a situation that has not been resolved by recent advances in ‘computational social science’. In this Perspective, I argue that this ‘incoherency problem’ has been perpetuated by an historical emphasis in social science on the advancement of theories over the solution of practical problems. I argue that one way for social science to make progress is to adopt a more solution-oriented approach, starting first with a practical problem and then asking what theories (and methods) must be brought to bear to solve it. Finally, I conclude with a few suggestions regarding the sort of problems on which progress might be made and how we might organize ourselves to solve them.
sociology  methods  sociology_of_science  social_behavior  social_construction_of_knowledge  critique  philosophy_of_science  for_friends  teaching  networks  dmce  duncan.watts 
january 2017 by rvenkat
Network Effects and Social Inequality - Annual Review of Sociology, 38(1):93
Students of social inequality have noted the presence of mechanisms militating toward cumulative advantage and increasing inequality. Social scientists have established that individuals' choices are influenced by those of their network peers in many social domains. We suggest that the ubiquity of network effects and tendencies toward cumulative advantage are related. Inequality is exacerbated when effects of individual differences are multiplied by social networks: when persons must decide whether to adopt beneficial practices; when network externalities, social learning, or normative pressures influence adoption decisions; and when networks are homophilous with respect to individual characteristics that predict such decisions. We review evidence from literatures on network effects on technology, labor markets, education, demography, and health; identify several mechanisms through which networks may generate higher levels of inequality than one would expect based on differences in initial endowments alone; consider cases in which network effects may ameliorate inequality; and describe research priorities.
inequality  networked_life  social_networks  sociology  economics  networks  teaching 
december 2016 by rvenkat
Culture and Cognition - Annual Review of Sociology, 23(1):263
Recent work in cognitive psychology and social cognition bears heavily on concerns of sociologists of culture. Cognitive research confirms views of culture as fragmented; clarifies the roles of institutions and agency; and illuminates supra-individual aspects of culture. Individuals experience culture as disparate bits of information and as schematic structures that organize that information. Culture carried by institutions, networks, and social movements diffuses, activates, and selects among available schemata. Implications for the study of identity, collective memory, social classification, and logics of action are developed.
cultural_cognition  sociology  review  institutions  collective_cognition  teaching 
december 2016 by rvenkat
Society and Economy — Mark Granovetter | Harvard University Press
Society and Economy—a work of exceptional ambition by the founder of modern economic sociology—is the first full account of Mark Granovetter’s ideas about the diverse ways in which society and economy are intertwined.

The economy is not a sphere separate from other human activities, Granovetter writes. It is deeply embedded in social relations and subject to the same emotions, ideas, and constraints as religion, science, politics, or law. While some actions can be understood in traditional economic terms as people working rationally toward well-defined ends, much human behavior is harder to fit into that simple framework. Actors sometimes follow social norms with a passionate faith in their appropriateness, and at other times they conform without conscious thought. They also trust others when there is no obvious reason to do so. The power individuals wield over one another can have a major impact on economic outcomes, even when that power arises from noneconomic sources.

Although people depend on social norms, culture, trust, and power to solve problems, the guidance these offer is often murky and complicated. Granovetter explores how problem solvers improvise to assemble pragmatic solutions from this multitude of principles. He draws throughout on arguments from psychology, social network studies, and long-term historical and political analysis and suggests ways to maneuver back and forth among these approaches. Underlying Granovetter’s arguments is an attempt to move beyond such simple dualisms as agency/structure to a more complex and subtle appreciation of the nuances and dynamics that drive social and economic life.
book  economics  sociology  via:cshalizi  social_structure  social_networks  economic_sociology 
november 2016 by rvenkat
Twitter and Tear Gas | Yale University Press
A firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenges

To understand a thwarted Turkish coup, an anti–Wall Street encampment, and a packed Tahrir Square, we must first comprehend the power and the weaknesses of using new technologies to mobilize large numbers of people. An incisive observer, writer, and participant in today’s social movements, Zeynep Tufekci explains in this accessible and compelling book the nuanced trajectories of modern protests—how they form, how they operate differently from past protests, and why they have difficulty persisting in their long-term quests for change.

Tufekci speaks from direct experience, combining on-the-ground interviews with insightful analysis. She describes how the internet helped the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, the necessity of remote Twitter users to organize medical supplies during Arab Spring, the refusal to use bullhorns in the Occupy Movement that started in New York, and the empowering effect of tear gas in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. These details from life inside social movements complete a moving investigation of authority, technology, and culture—and offer essential insights into the future of governance.
zeynep.tufekci  book  democracy  freedom_of_speech  cultural_cognition  sociology  social_media  social_movements  collective_intention  collective_cognition  social_networks 
november 2016 by rvenkat
Contemporary Sociological Theory
--good comprehensive set of readings. Some of the readings can be adapted for a networks course.
course  social_theory  kieran.healy  sociology  teaching  networks 
july 2016 by rvenkat
Links that speak: The global language network and its association with global fame
People have long debated about the global influence of languages. The speculations that fuel this debate, however, rely on measures of language importance—such as income and population—that lack external validation as measures of a language’s global influence. Here we introduce a metric of a language’s global influence based on its position in the network connecting languages that are co-spoken. We show that the connectivity of a language in this network, after controlling for the number of speakers of a language and their income, remains a strong predictor of a language’s influence when validated against two independent measures of the cultural content produced by a language’s speakers.

-- are they making a causal claim without calling it that? Nice article to discuss and assign.
linguistics  sociology  anthropology  digital_humanities  teaching  i_remain_skeptical  networks 
june 2016 by rvenkat
Environmental Dimensions of Migration - Annual Review of Sociology, 41(1):377
Research on the environmental dimensions of human migration has made important strides in recent years. However, findings have been spread across multiple disciplines with wide-ranging methodologies and limited theoretical development. This article reviews key findings of the field and identifies future directions for sociological research. We contend that the field has moved beyond linear environmental “push” theories toward a greater integration of context, including micro-level, meso-level, and macro-level interactions. We highlight findings that migration is often a household strategy to diversify risk (new economics of labor migration theory), interacting with household composition; individual characteristics; social networks; and historical, political, and economic contexts. We highlight promising developments in the field, including the recognition that migration is a long-standing form of environmental adaptation and yet only one among many forms of adaptation. Finally, we argue that sociologists could contribute significantly to migration–environment inquiry through attention to issues of inequality, perceptions, and agency vis-à-vis structure.
human_geography  migration  review  sociology  environment 
june 2016 by rvenkat
What Sociologists Should Know About Complexity - Annual Review of Sociology, 41(1):21
I discuss the concept of complexity and the burgeoning field of complex systems and their relevance to sociology. I begin by comparing and contrasting various definitions of complexity and then describe the attributes of systems capable of producing complexity: diversity, networked interactions, interdependent behavior, and adaptation. Next, I survey the contributions of complexity sciences with the most resonance with sociology. I organize those contributions into four categories: dynamics, aggregation, distributions, and functional properties of structure and diversity. On the basis of that survey, I conclude that incorporating complexity science into sociology requires the introduction of new models and methodologies as well as a more expansive approach to empirical research, and that the benefits of a deeper engagement with complexity will be substantial.
sociology  complexity  review  teaching  networks 
june 2016 by rvenkat
Machine Translation: Mining Text for Social Theory - Annual Review of Sociology, 42(1):
More of the social world lives within electronic text than ever before, from collective activity on the web, social media, and instant messaging to online transactions, government intelligence, and digitized libraries. This supply of text has elicited demand for natural language processing and machine learning tools to filter, search, and translate text into valuable data. We survey some of the most exciting computational approaches to text analysis, highlighting both supervised methods that extend old theories to new data and unsupervised techniques that discover hidden regularities worth theorizing. We then review recent research that uses these tools to develop social insight by exploring (a) collective attention and reasoning through content from communication; (b) social relationships through the process of communication; and (c) social states, roles, and moves identified through heterogeneous signals within communication. We highlight social questions for which these advances could offer powerful new insight.
social_theory  review  data_mining  digital_humanities  machine_learning  sociology 
june 2016 by rvenkat
Data Visualization in Sociology - Annual Review of Sociology, 40(1):105
Visualizing data is central to social scientific work. Despite a promising early beginning, sociology has lagged in the use of visual tools. We review the history and current state of visualization in sociology. Using examples throughout, we discuss recent developments in ways of seeing raw data and presenting the results of statistical modeling. We make a general distinction between those methods and tools designed to help explore data sets and those designed to help present results to others. We argue that recent advances should be seen as part of a broader shift toward easier sharing of code and data both between researchers and with wider publics, and we encourage practitioners and publishers to work toward a higher and more consistent standard for the graphical display of sociological insights
sociology  teaching  for_friends  kieran.healy  networks 
may 2016 by rvenkat
Book Details : Why Civil Resistance Works
For more than a century, from 1900 to 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals. By attracting impressive support from citizens, whose activism takes the form of protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of nonviolent noncooperation, these efforts help separate regimes from their main sources of power and produce remarkable results, even in Iran, Burma, the Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories.

Combining statistical analysis with case studies of specific countries and territories, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan detail the factors enabling such campaigns to succeed and, sometimes, causing them to fail. They find that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to moral and physical involvement and commitment, and that higher levels of participation contribute to enhanced resilience, greater opportunities for tactical innovation and civic disruption (and therefore less incentive for a regime to maintain its status quo), and shifts in loyalty among opponents' erstwhile supporters, including members of the military establishment.

Chenoweth and Stephan conclude that successful nonviolent resistance ushers in more durable and internally peaceful democracies, which are less likely to regress into civil war. Presenting a rich, evidentiary argument, they originally and systematically compare violent and nonviolent outcomes in different historical periods and geographical contexts, debunking the myth that violence occurs because of structural and environmental factors and that it is necessary to achieve certain political goals. Instead, the authors discover, violent insurgency is rarely justifiable on strategic grounds.

-- Erica Chenoweth's homepage (http://www.ericachenoweth.com/). Her other book and growing body of work seems pretty interesting as well. Wonder if she cites or uses any of Olson's or Ostyrom's works.

a more recent op-ed

book  sociology  democracy  civil_disobidience  rationality  rational_choice  people 
may 2016 by rvenkat
Is Bigger Always Better? Potential Biases of Big Data Derived from Social Network Sites
This article discusses methodological challenges of using big data that rely on specific sites and services as their sampling frames, focusing on social network sites in particular. It draws on survey data to show that people do not select into the use of such sites randomly. Instead, use is biased in certain ways yielding samples that limit the generalizability of findings. Results show that age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, online experiences, and Internet skills all influence the social network sites people use and thus where traces of their behavior show up. This has implications for the types of conclusions one can draw from data derived from users of specific sites. The article ends by noting how big data studies can address the shortcomings that result from biased sampling frames.

-- the article is part of a special issue; many of them are interesting.
anthropology  sociology  methods  bias  big_data  eszter.hargittai 
may 2016 by rvenkat
Of Time and Space: The Contemporary Relevance of the Chicago School
This essay argues that sociology's major current problems are intellectual. It traces these problems to the exhaustion of the current “variables paradigm” and considers the Chicago School's “contextualist paradigm” as an alternative. Examples of new methodologies founded on contextual thinking are considered.
sociology  philosophy  social_science  methods  epistemology 
april 2016 by rvenkat
Why are there so many Engineers among Islamic Radicals? - Cambridge Journals Online
This article demonstrates that among violent Islamists engineers with a degree, individuals with an engineering education are three to four times more frequent than we would expect given the share of engineers among university students in Islamic countries. We then test a number of hypotheses to account for this phenomenon. We argue that a combination of two factors – engineers’ relative deprivation in the Islamic world and mindset – is the most plausible explanation.

-- a recent book (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10656.html) discusses the issues in greater depth
islam  extremism  economics  inequality  sociology  religion 
march 2016 by rvenkat
Statistical Challenges in Assessing and Fostering the Reproducibility of Scientific Results: Summary of a Workshop | The National Academies Press
Questions about the reproducibility of scientific research have been raised in numerous settings and have gained visibility through several high-profile journal and popular press articles. Quantitative issues contributing to reproducibility challenges have been considered (including improper data measurement and analysis, inadequate statistical expertise, and incomplete data, among others), but there is no clear consensus on how best to approach or to minimize these problems.

A lack of reproducibility of scientific results has created some distrust in scientific findings among the general public, scientists, funding agencies, and industries. While studies fail for a variety of reasons, many factors contribute to the lack of perfect reproducibility, including insufficient training in experimental design, misaligned incentives for publication and the implications for university tenure, intentional manipulation, poor data management and analysis, and inadequate instances of statistical inference.

The workshop summarized in this report was designed not to address the social and experimental challenges but instead to focus on the latter issues of improper data management and analysis, inadequate statistical expertise, incomplete data, and difficulties applying sound statistic inference to the available data. Many efforts have emerged over recent years to draw attention to and improve reproducibility of scientific work. This report uniquely focuses on the statistical perspective of three issues: the extent of reproducibility, the causes of reproducibility failures, and the potential remedies for these failures.
statistics  meta-analysis  social_construction_of_knowledge  sociology  replication_of_studies  report 
march 2016 by rvenkat
Don't Get Duped: Fraud through Duplication in Public Opinion Surveys by Noble Kuriakose, Michael Robbins :: SSRN
Fraud in survey research can take many forms, but a common form is through duplication of valid interviews. Duplication of a valid interview has a number of advantages: expected relationships between the variables will hold across the data set and, if done across a number of interviews, this approach can evade many standard techniques to detect fraud such as straight-lining analysis and the application of Benford's law. In this paper, we consider the likelihood of encountering near duplicates in survey data, suggest methods to fingerprint suspicious observations, report on our analysis of over 1,000 publicly available survey datasets and argue that nearly one in five widely used country-year surveys surveys from major international data sets have exact or near duplicates in excess of 5% of observations.

-- The associated pop version of this article here

-- Also see comments by Gelman in both his blog and Monkey Cage/
survey  political_science  critique  sociology 
march 2016 by rvenkat
Transcending General Linear Reality (Abbott, 1988)
"This paper argues that the dominance of linear models has led many sociologists to construe the social world in terms of a "general linear reality." This reality assumes (1) that the social world consists of fixed entities with variable attributes, (2) that cause cannot flow from "small" to "large" attributes/events, (3) that causal attributes have only one causal pattern at once, (4) that the sequence of events does not influence their outcome, (5) that the "careers" of entities are largely independent, and (6) that causal attributes are generally independent of each other. The paper discusses examples of these assumptions in empirical work, consider standard and new methods addressing them, and briefly explores alternative models for reality that employ demographic, sequential, and network perspectives."
statistics  sociology  methods  critique  via:cshalizi  for_friends 
january 2016 by rvenkat
Laboratory for Social Machines | Designing media technologies for social engagement and change
-- looks sexy hot and glamorous. Need to look closer at the group's publication to see if they are worth following.
lab  social_media  sociology  academic  social_networks 
december 2015 by rvenkat
Democratizing education? Examining access and usage patterns in massive open online courses
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are often characterized as remedies to educational disparities related to social class. Using data from 68 MOOCs offered by Harvard and MIT between 2012 and 2014, we found that course participants from the United States tended to live in more-affluent and better-educated neighborhoods than the average U.S. resident. Among those who did register for courses, students with greater socioeconomic resources were more likely to earn a certificate. Furthermore, these differences in MOOC access and completion were larger for adolescents and young adults, the traditional ages where people find on-ramps into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) coursework and careers. Our findings raise concerns that MOOCs and similar approaches to online learning can exacerbate rather than reduce disparities in educational outcomes related to socioeconomic status.

-- all too familiar phenomena. new technology bridgesdivides and creates new ones in the process.
inequality  education  sociology 
december 2015 by rvenkat
[1410.8796] Redistricting and the Will of the People
We introduce a non-partisan probability distribution on congressional redistricting of North Carolina which emphasizes the equal partition of the population and the compactness of districts. When random districts are drawn and the results of the 2012 election were re-tabulated under the drawn districtings, we find that an average of 7.6 democratic representatives are elected. 95% of the randomly sampled redistrictings produced between 6 and 9 Democrats. Both of these facts are in stark contrast with the 4 Democrats elected in the 2012 elections with the same vote counts. This brings into serious question the idea that such elections represent the "will of the people." It underlines the ability of redistricting to undermine the democratic process, while on the face allowing democracy to proceed.

-- A fun but useful attempt to model gerry mandering of US states.
probability  mathematics  sociology  law  policy 
november 2015 by rvenkat
Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change
Ideological polarization around environmental issues—especially climate change—have increased in the last 20 years. This polarization has led to public uncertainty, and in some cases, policy stalemate. Much attention has been given to understanding individual attitudes, but much less to the larger organizational and financial roots of polarization. This gap is due to prior difficulties in gathering and analyzing quantitative data about these complex and furtive processes. This paper uses comprehensive text and network data to show how corporate funding influences the production and actual thematic content of polarization efforts. It highlights the important influence of private funding in public knowledge and politics, and provides researchers a methodological model for future studies that blend large-scale textual discourse with social networks.

--The paper looks good on first read. The references, especially in supplemental text, is really useful guide to related research. The author, Justin Farell is someone-to-watch-closely in the coming years.
computational_social_science  big_data  political_science  sociology  text_mining  social_networks 
november 2015 by rvenkat
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