SAGE Publications Inc: American Sociological Review: Table of Contents

Getting Eyes in the Home: Child Protective Services Investigations and State Surveillance of Family Life

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 610-638, August 2020.
Each year, U.S. child protection authorities investigate millions of families, disproportionately poor families and families of color. These investigations involve multiple home visits to collect information across numerous personal domains. How does the state gain such widespread entrée into the intimate, domestic lives of marginalized families? Predominant theories of surveillance offer little insight into this process and its implications. Analyzing observations of child maltreatment investigations in Connecticut and interviews with professionals reporting maltreatment, state investigators, and investigated mothers, this article argues that coupling assistance with coercive authority—a hallmark of contemporary poverty governance—generates an expansive surveillance of U.S. families by attracting referrals from adjacent systems. Educational, medical, and other professionals invite investigations of families far beyond those ultimately deemed maltreating, with the hope that child protection authorities’ dual therapeutic and coercive capacities can rehabilitate families, especially marginalized families. Yet even when investigations close, this arrangement, in which service systems channel families to an entity with coercive power, fosters apprehension among families and thwarts their institutional engagement. These findings demonstrate how, in an era of welfare retrenchment, rehabilitative poverty governance renders marginalized populations hyper-visible to the state in ways that may reinforce inequality and marginality.

4 August 2020, 11:07 am
ASR Editorial Transition

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 738-738, August 2020.


28 July 2020, 1:10 pm
New on the Block: Analyzing Network Selection Trajectories in a Prison Treatment Program

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 709-737, August 2020.
Personal network change is largely driven by transitions between the groups and organizations where people spend their day-to-day lives. But, how do entrants choose which relationships to pursue among the numerous possibilities a new environment offers? We expect newcomers will use the same mechanisms as longer-tenured members, although this will take time as they acclimate and form initial relationships that support future ties. Thus, our goal is to understand how the network selection processes used by new organizational members shift in importance as time in the organization grows. We focus on network selection via homophily, propinquity, formal relations, and endogenous network processes. For each mechanism, we distinguish between change in the strength of the mechanism and opportunities to enact the mechanism. We evaluate expected changes using network data from a prison-based therapeutic community (TC). This setting is ideal because the structured nature of TC entry and exit generates regular membership turnover and removes confounds present in studies of more familiar contexts (e.g., schools). Results show that the relative importance of network selection mechanisms varies over tenure, with homophily dominating early on and endogenous network processes catching up later. We discuss implications of these findings for new member socialization and broader patterns of inequality.

28 July 2020, 1:10 pm
His and Her Earnings Following Parenthood in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 639-674, August 2020.
This article advances a couple-level framework to examine how parenthood shapes within-family gender inequality by education in three countries that vary in their normative and policy context: the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We trace mothers’ share of couple earnings and variation by her education in the 10-year window around first birth, using long-running harmonized panel surveys from the 1990s and 2000s (N = 4,117 couples and 28,488 couple-years) and an event study methodology that leverages within-couple variation in earnings pre- and post-birth. Our results show steep declines in her share of couple earnings following first birth across the three countries that persist over several years of follow-up. Declines are smallest in the United States, due to U.S. mothers’ higher employment and longer work hours. Declines are also smaller among female partners without a college degree in the United States, where mothers have less work-family support and fewer options to manage work and family on one income. Results shed light on how parenthood plays into gender inequality within couples, and how country context shapes couple dynamics and inequality across households.

15 July 2020, 1:26 pm
A Numbers Game: Quantification of Work, Auto-Gamification, and Worker Productivity

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 573-609, August 2020.
Technological advances and the big-data revolution have facilitated fine-grained, high-frequency, low-cost measurement of individuals’ work. Yet we understand little about the influences of such quantification of work on workers’ behavior and performance. This article investigates how and when quantification of work affects worker productivity. We argue that quantification affects worker productivity via auto-gamification, or workers’ inadvertent transformation of work into an independent, individual-level game. We further argue that quantification is likely to raise productivity in a context of simple work, where auto-gamification is motivating because quantified metrics adequately measure the work being performed. When work is complex, by contrast, quantification reduces productivity because quantified metrics cannot adequately measure the multifaceted work being performed, causing auto-gamification to be demotivating. To substantiate our argument, we study implementation of an RFID measurement technology that quantifies individual workers’ output in real time at a garment factory in India. Qualitative evidence uncovers the auto-gamification mechanism and three conditions that enable it; a natural experiment tests the consequences of quantification of work for worker productivity. This article contributes to the study of quantification, work games, technology, and organizations, and we explore the policy implications of further quantification of work.

10 July 2020, 11:01 am
Socially-Structured Mobility Networks and School Segregation Dynamics: The Role of Emergent Consideration Sets

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 675-708, August 2020.
This study proposes and applies a novel method for empirically evaluating the role of social structure in the school sorting process. We use administrative records from Baltimore City and suburban Baltimore County public elementary schools (2011 to 2015) to generate a network of schools based on student transfers. We then apply repeated calculations of the Louvian method of community detection to estimate emergent sets of schools that similar parents are likely to consider—which we term emergent consideration sets—and use gravity models to explore the role of social structure, demographics, and geography in observed enrollment patterns. We find that our network-derived emergent consideration sets are better defined by structural boundaries than by student composition or proficiency alone. Within consideration sets, students tend to avoid schools with relatively higher levels of free- and reduced-price meal eligibility and flock toward schools with higher proficiency levels. School racial composition, however, plays a much smaller role in predicting movement between schools, in part because structural constraints generate racially homogeneous consideration sets. Together, these findings highlight how regional social and geographic organization shapes school segregation processes and the policies used to combat them.

7 July 2020, 11:19 am
What Explains Racial/Ethnic Inequality in Job Quality in the Service Sector?

American Sociological Review, Volume 85, Issue 4, Page 537-572, August 2020.
Precarious work in the United States is defined by economic and temporal dimensions. A large literature documents the extent of low wages and limited fringe benefits, but research has only recently examined the prevalence and consequences of unstable and unpredictable work schedules. Yet practices such as on-call shifts, last minute cancellations, and insufficient work hours are common in the retail and food-service sectors. Little research has examined racial/ethnic inequality in this temporal dimension of job quality, yet precarious scheduling practices may be a significant, if mostly hidden, site for racial/ethnic inequality, because scheduling practices differ significantly between firms and because front-line managers have substantial discretion in scheduling. We draw on innovative matched employer-employee data from The Shift Project to estimate racial/ethnic gaps in these temporal dimensions of job quality and to examine the contribution of firm-level sorting and intra-organizational dynamics to these gaps. We find significant racial/ethnic gaps in exposure to precarious scheduling that disadvantage non-white workers. We provide novel evidence that both firm segregation and racial discordance between workers and managers play significant roles in explaining racial/ethnic gaps in job quality. Notably, we find that racial/ethnic gaps are larger for women than for men.

19 June 2020, 10:42 am

American Sociological Review

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.