sunday morning sociology, gendered names edition

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Tristan Bridges looks at the surprising convergence in popularity of the top boys and girls’ names; in 2017, for the first time on record, more girls than boys had “top 10” names, though the overall rate is way down for both.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

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sunday morning sociology, folk genetics edition

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From a new Journal of Politics article by Schneider et al. The paper goes on to show that Liberals weigh genetic explanations more heavily, while Conservatives tend to give more weight to “personal choice”. We leave applications to Mother’s Day to the reader.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, folk genetics edition”

holocaust knowledge trends & alarmist media coverage

Last month, there was a fair bit of reporting around a new survey looking at Americans’ knowledge of and opinions about the Holocaust. The survey was conducted on behalf of The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and is reported (with not too much detail) here (topline results here, methodology brief here). Much of the coverage took what I would call an alarmist tone, emphasizing the seemingly low rate at which Americans (and especially those no-good, ignorant millennials) understand the Holocaust. For example, Newsweek’s sure-to-go-viral headline was “One-Third of American Don’t Believe 6 Millions Jews were Murdered During the Holocaust.” The NYT titled their story about the survey “Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds.”

This coverage is frustrating because the survey itself and the website by the organization that ran the survey offer no over-time comparisons. The survey does not offer data to support the claim that the “Holocaust is Fading From Memory,” at least not in terms of the questions discussed in the news coverage. The Newsweek headline is worse, in that it implies that 1/3 of Americans are Holocaust deniers of some sort; in fact, the survey found that 96% claimed to believe in the Holocaust, 1% claimed not to, and 3% were not sure. Given our current political epistemic nightmares around, e.g. climate change, I’m not super anxious about a 96% agreement on the Holocaust.*

But back to the “fading from memory” question. The NYT puts the data this way: “Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million.” Here we see the millennial blame game, but other than perhaps the implicit assumption that the 41% figure will not change over time as millennials age, there’s no other data that could back up a “fading from memory” claim. That said, the claim still might be true! If only we had some evidence.

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sunday morning sociology, visualizing segregation edition

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The Washington Post, with a little help from our own Mike Bader, visualizes racial segregation in the US through a series of beautiful and depressing maps.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, visualizing segregation edition”

tech 101

What are your favorite introductions, overviews, and paradigmatic case studies in the sociology of technology? I’m working with a student who is about to start research on a project at the intersection of organizations, medical sociology, and technology, and because the student is already well-versed in the orgs & tech literature (think Tushman and Anderson), I’m trying to provide a short reading list to get the student situated in the more STS (Science, Technology, & Society) part of the sociology of technology literature. As I started to make my list (with a bit of help from Twitter), I realized that most of my references were more than 15 years old and I thought that I must be missing some good new work. So, dear reader, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for more recent review essays, theory pieces, or iconic case studies?

My current list (which emphasizes the intersections likely to be of interest to the particular student) is below the fold, and I welcome any suggestions!

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sunday morning sociology, wealth gap myths edition

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Jamelle Bouie reviews Darity and Hamilton’s newest report on the structural sources of the racial wealth gap.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, wealth gap myths edition”

several short sentences about numbers

There’s a new issue of Contemporary Sociology out! In it you’ll find, among other things, a review essay by Elizabeth Popp Berman and myself about quantification. We look at eight recent books about numbers ranging from the “Quantified Self” movement to socially-responsible investing to CBO scoring in order to ask: the sociology of quantification, is it a thing? Our answer: kinda. Here’s a snippet:

Indeed, the very concept of quantification splinters into fragments as one approaches. Are algorithms quantification? Big data? Biosensors? And what are the differences between quantification, classification, and commensuration? While there are commonalities across all of these topics, and across the eight books we read, the sociology of quantification is still very far from having general claims or a common theoretical language. The closest it comes, probably, is the universal reference to Ted Porter’s groundbreaking Trust in Numbers (1995).

For more, check out the piece here! Or, for an ungated version, check out the preprint at SocArXiv!