SAGE Publications Inc: American Sociological Review: Table of Contents
American Sociological Review, Ahead of Print.
This article expands on my presidential address to further bolster the case that sociology has, from its inception, been engaged in social justice. I argue that a critical review of our discipline and our Association’s vaunted empiricist tradition of objectivity, in which sociologists are detached from their research, was accomplished by a false history and sociology of sociology that ignored, isolated, and marginalized some of the founders. In the past half-century, scholar-activists, working-class sociologists, sociologists of color, women sociologists, indigenous sociologists, and LGBTQ sociologists have similarly been marginalized and discouraged from pursuing social justice issues and applied research within our discipline. Being ignored by academic sociology departments has led them to create or join homes in interdisciplinary programs and other associations that embrace applied and scholar-activist scholarship. I offer thoughts about practices that the discipline and Association should use to reclaim sociology’s social justice tradition.
Getting In, Getting Hired, Getting Sideways Looks: Organizational Hierarchy and Perceptions of Racial Discrimination
American Sociological Review, Ahead of Print.
This article argues that black workers’ perceptions of racial discrimination derive not just from being in the minority, but also from their position in the organizational structure. Researchers have shown that black individuals encounter an enormous amount of racial discrimination in the workplace, including but not limited to exclusion from critical social networks, wage disparities, and hiring disadvantages. But fewer studies examine the extent to which black workers believe racial discrimination is a salient factor in their occupational mobility or the factors that might explain their divergent perceptions of racial discrimination. Based on 60 in-depth interviews with black medical doctors, nurses, and technicians in the healthcare industry, we show that black workers’ status within an organizational hierarchy fundamentally informs perceptions of the nature and type of workplace racial discrimination. These findings have implications for understanding how racial dynamics at work are linked to mental health, occupational satisfaction, and organizational change.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1165-1167, December 2019.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1134-1158, December 2019.
Corporations gather massive amounts of personal data to predict how individuals will behave so that they can profitably price goods and allocate resources. This article investigates the moral foundations of such increasingly prevalent market practices. I leverage the case of credit scores in car insurance pricing—an early and controversial use of algorithmic prediction in the U.S. consumer economy—to unpack the premise that predictive data are fair to use and to understand the conditions under which people are likely to challenge that moral logic. Policymaker resistance to credit-based insurance scores reveals that contention arises when predictions depend on mathematical distinctions that do not align with broader understandings of good and bad behavior, and when theories about why predictions work point to the market holding people accountable for actions that are not really their fault. Via a de-commensuration process, policymakers realign the market with their own notions of moral deservingness. This article thus demonstrates the importance of causal understanding and moral categorization for people accepting markets as fair. As data and analytics permeate markets of all sorts, as well as other domains of social life, these findings have implications for how social scientists understand the novel forms of stratification that result.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1159-1164, December 2019.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1099-1133, December 2019.
We study the relationship between inter-class inequality and intergenerational class mobility across 39 countries. Previous research on the relationship between economic inequality and class mobility remains inconclusive, as studies have confounded intra- with between-class economic inequalities. We propose that between-class inequality across multiple dimensions accounts for the inverse relationship between inequality and mobility: the larger the resource distance between classes, the less likely it is that mobility from one to the other will occur. We consider inequality in terms of between-class differences in three areas—education, wages, and income—and in a composite measure. Building on sociological mobility theory, we argue that cross-country variation in mobility results, in part, from families adapting to different levels of between-class inequality. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find a negative correlation between inter-class inequality and social fluidity, with between-class inequality being a better predictor of mobility chances than conventional distributional measures. We also find that the resource distance between classes is negatively related to the strength of their intergenerational association for some off-diagonal origin and destination (OD) class combinations.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1069-1098, December 2019.
Women’s opportunities have been profoundly altered over the past century by reductions in the social and structural constraints that limit women’s educational attainment. Do social constraints manifest as a suppressing influence on genetic indicators of potential, and if so, did equalizing opportunity mean equalizing the role of genetics? We address this with three cohort studies: the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS; birth years 1939 to 1940), the Health and Retirement Study, and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health; birth years 1975 to 1982). These studies include a “polygenic score” for educational attainment, providing a novel opportunity to explore this question. We find that within the WLS cohort, the relationship between genetics and educational outcomes is weaker for women than for men. However, as opportunities changed in the 1970s and 1980s, and many middle-aged women went back to school, the relationship between genetic factors and education strengthened for women as they aged. Furthermore, utilizing the HRS and Add Health, we find that as constraints limiting women’s educational attainment declined, gender differences in the relationship between genetics and educational outcomes weakened. We demonstrate that genetic influence must be understood through the lens of historical change, the life course, and social structures like gender.
Linked Lives, Linked Trajectories: Intergenerational Association of Intragenerational Income Mobility
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1037-1068, December 2019.
Most intergenerational mobility studies rely on either snapshot or time-averaged measures of earnings, but have yet to examine resemblance of earnings trajectories over the life course of successive generations. We propose a linked trajectory mobility approach that decomposes the progression of economic status over two generations into associations in four life-cycle dimensions: initial position, growth rate, growth deceleration, and volatility. Using father-son dyad data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we show that men resemble their fathers not only in the overall level of earnings but also in the pattern by which their earnings develop over time. The intergenerational persistence of earnings varies substantially across life stages of both generations; it is strongest for fathers’ early-career and sons’ mid-career, with an intergenerational elasticity (IGE) as high as .6. This result can be explained by the concurrence of the parent’s early career and the offspring’s early childhood. Our findings suggest the intergenerational economic association between parents and offspring is not age-constant but is contingent on the respective life stages of both generations and, most importantly, the period during which they overlap.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 1013-1036, December 2019.
Racial stratification is well documented in many spheres of social life. Much stratification research assumes that implicit or explicit bias on the part of institutional gatekeepers produces disparate racial outcomes. Research on status-based expectations provides a good starting point for theoretically understanding racial inequalities. In this context it is understood that race results in differential expectations for performance, producing disparate outcomes. But even here, the mechanism (i.e., status-based expectations) is often assumed due to the lack of tools to measure status-based expectations. In this article, we put forth a new way to measure implicit racial status beliefs and theorize how they are related to consensual beliefs about what “most people” think. This enables us to assess the mechanisms in the relationship between race and disparate outcomes. We conducted two studies to assess our arguments. Study 1 demonstrates the measurement properties of the implicit status measure. Study 2 shows how implicit status beliefs and perceptions of what “most people” think combine to shape social influence. We conclude with the implications of this work for social psychological research, and for racial stratification more generally.
American Sociological Review, Volume 84, Issue 6, Page 983-1012, December 2019.
Racial disparities persist throughout the employment process, with African Americans experiencing significant barriers compared to whites. This article advances the understanding of racial labor market stratification by bringing new theoretical insights and original data to bear on the ways social networks shape racial disparities in employment opportunities. We develop and articulate two pathways through which networks may perpetuate racial inequality in the labor market: network access and network returns. In the first case, African American job seekers may receive fewer job leads through their social networks than white job seekers, limiting their access to employment opportunities. In the second case, black and white job seekers may utilize their social networks at similar rates, but their networks may differ in effectiveness. Our data, with detailed information about both job applications and job offers, provide the unique ability to adjudicate between these processes. We find evidence that black and white job seekers utilize their networks at similar rates, but network-based methods are less likely to lead to job offers for African Americans. We then theoretically develop and empirically test two mechanisms that may explain these differential returns: network placement and network mobilization. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for scholarship on racial stratification and social networks in the job search process.
The American Sociological Review is the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association (ASA). The ASA founded this journal in 1936 with the mission to publish original works of interest to the sociology discipline in general, new theoretical developments, results of research that advance our understanding of fundamental social processes, and important methodological innovations. All areas of sociology are welcome in the American Sociological Review. Emphasis is on exceptional quality and general interest. The American Sociological Review does not publish book reviews.