SAGE Sociology

Authors Timothy O'Brien and Shiri Noy discuss their article, "Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States," which was published in the February 2015 issue of American Sociological Review.

Abstract: Using General Social Survey data, we examine perspectives on science and religion in the United States. Latent class analysis reveals three groups based on knowledge and attitudes about science, religiosity, and preferences for certain religious interpretations of the world. The traditional perspective (43 percent) is marked by a preference for religion compared to science; the modern perspective (36 percent) holds the opposite view. A third perspective, which we call post-secular (21 percent), views both science and religion favorably. However, when faced with competing accounts of events such as creation and evolution, post-seculars root their views in religion rather than in mainstream science. Regression models indicate that perspectives on science and religion do not simply mirror other denominational or ideological differences. Furthermore, religio-scientific perspectives shape attitudes about political issues where scientific and some religious communities diverge, including on abortion rights and stem cell research. Overall, most individuals favor either scientific or religious ways of understanding, but many scientifically inclined individuals prefer certain religious accounts. This suggests that public divisions related to science and religion are cultural and epistemological. This article underscores the complexity of the boundary between reason and faith and highlights the roots of political conflict in perspectives on science and religion in the United States.

Read the article here.

Direct download: ASR_OBrien_Noy.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 5:03pm EDT

Author Catherine Tan discusses her article, "'Two Opposite Ends of the World': The Management of Uncertainty in an Autism-Only School," which she and co-author Gil Eyal recently published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Abstract: How do individuals maintain a sense of efficacy and purpose in the face of high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty? In research on medical uncertainty, sociologists often discuss the strategies health practitioners employ to control uncertainties relating to diagnosis and treatment. Over six months of ethnographic field work at an autism-only therapy school, we observed seventy-five students and forty-seven instructors and formally interviewed ten instructors and four parents. While other studies on medical uncertainty have focused on controls over external circumstances, we demonstrate that another management strategy is for individuals to perform ethical work on themselves in order to adjust how they conduct themselves in uncertain situations. Despite the ambiguity of both the autism diagnosis and the therapeutic method employed at the school, instructors are able to maintain a sense of efficacy and to recognize themselves as “doing floortime” by transforming themselves to become “child directed.”

Read the article here.

Direct download: JCE_Tan.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

Janet Shim, Sara Ackerman, and Katherine Weatherford Darling discuss their article, "Race and Ancestry in the Age of Inclusion: Technique and Meaning in Post-Genomic Science," published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Abstract: This article examines how race and ancestry are taken up in gene-environment interaction (GEI) research on complex diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Using 54 in-depth interviews of 33 scientists and over 200 hours of observation at scientific conferences, we explore how GEI researchers use and interpret race, ethnicity, and ancestry in their work. We find that the use of self-identified race and ethnicity (SIRE) exists alongside ancestry informative markers (AIMs) to ascertain genetic ancestry. Our participants assess the utility of these two techniques in relative terms, downplaying the accuracy and value of SIRE compared to the precision and necessity of AIMs. In doing so, we argue that post-genomic scientists seeking to understand the interactions of genetic and environmental disease determinants actually undermine their ability to do so by valorizing precise characterizations of individuals’ genetic ancestry over measurement of the social processes and relations that differentiate social groups.

Read the article here.

Direct download: JHSB_Shim_Ackerman_WeatherfordDarling.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

Author Melissa Lavin discusses her article "If You Want It, You Can Get It Right Here: Space and Drug Use in Strip Clubs" published in the May 2014 issue of Humanity & Society.

Abstract: There is a burgeoning body of sociological literature that focuses on strip clubs and the club actors therein; most notably, strippers. Most of this scholarly work has emphasized interactions between strippers and customers, the deployment of stigma management strategies in order to neutralize deviantizing interactions and identities, gender performances and hierarchies, power, inequality and social control, and socialization processes associated with becoming dancers. While scholars have paid some attention to drugs and alcohol in the locale, they have paid little attention to how drug and alcohol use relates to the spatial organization and material culture of the strip club, the relationship between stigma and where club actors use illicit drugs, and how using certain drugs contributes to discreditable identities of already stigmatized workers. By centralizing accounts of setting actors through interviewing to supplement my complete participant fieldworker role, I build ideas about context-specific drug and alcohol use, power, and the ecology of drugs.


Read the full article here.

Direct download: HAS_Melissa_Lavin.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT