Sociological Science: Recent Research

New Dimensions of Tolerance: A Case for a Broader, Categorical Approach

Darin M. Mather, Eric Tranby

Sociological Science, November 24, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a28

Abstract

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Most social scientific research on tolerance rests upon two assumptions: 1) that tolerance is mainly concerned with the extension of political rights, and 2) that the concept is best understood as a unidimensional continuum of attitudes that are more or less tolerant. We argue that to have a fuller understanding of tolerance, we must transcend these two assumptions to develop a concept that is multidimensional. We use latent class analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to uncover new patterns of tolerant responses to least liked groups. Our results reveal four different profiles, which describe four different approaches to objectionable groups. These are generally intolerant, politically tolerant, generally tolerant and privately tolerant. Our profiles provide a fuller, more nuanced description of tolerant and intolerant attitudes than traditional approaches. These profiles can be used to help social scientists refine existing theories on the mechanisms of tolerance.
Darin M. Mather: Crown College E-mail: [email protected]

Eric Tranby: University of Delaware  E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Mather, Darin M. and Eric Tranby. 2014. “New Dimensions of Tolerance: A Case for a Broader, Categorical Approach.” Sociological Science 1:512-531.
  • Received: March 10, 2014
  • Accepted: July 24, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a28

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“Trivial” Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the “Important Matters” Name Generator

Matthew E. Brashears

Sociological Science, November 10, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a27

Abstract

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This paper uses a nationally representative dataset of discussion relationships to determine what Americans consider to be an important matter, whether some topics are predominantly discussed with certain types of associates, and if the topic of discussion or the role of the discussant predicts the availability of social support. Results indicate that some topics are pursued or avoided with particular types of alters, and that the role of the discussant, but not the topic of discussion, predicts the availability of support from our discussion partners. This implies that some differences in measured network structure may be due to variations in topics discussed, but that topic says little about the supportiveness of the tie once we are dealing with important matters discussants.
 Matthew E. Brashears: Cornell University  E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Brashears, Matthew E. 2014. “‘Trivial’ Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the ‘Important Matters’ Name Generator.” Sociological Science 1: 493-511.
  • Received: June 30, 2014
  • Accepted: August 7, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a27

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Secrets and Misperceptions: The Creation of Self-Fulfilling Illusions

Sarah K. Cowan

Sociological Science, November 3, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a26

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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.
 Sarah K. Cowan: New York University  E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Cowan, Sarah K. 2014. “Secrets and Misperceptions: The Creation of Self-Fulfilling Illusions” Sociological Science 1: 466-492.
  • Received: July 22, 2014
  • Accepted: August 31, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a26

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The Community College Effect Revisited: The Importance of Attending to Heterogeneity and Complex Counterfactuals

Jennie E. Brand, Fabian T. Pfeffer, Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sociological Science, October 27, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a25

Abstract

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Community colleges are controversial educational institutions, often said to simultaneously expand college opportunities and diminish baccalaureate attainment. We assess the seemingly contradictory functions of community colleges by attending to effect heterogeneity and alternative counterfactual conditions. Using data on postsecondary outcomes of high school graduates of Chicago Public Schools, we find that enrolling at a community college penalizes more advantaged students who otherwise would have attended four-year colleges, particularly highly selective schools; however, these students represent a relatively small portion of the community college population, and these estimates are almost certainly biased. On the other hand, enrolling at a community college has a modest positive effect on bachelor’s degree completion for disadvantaged students who otherwise would not have attended college; these students represent the majority of community college-goers. We conclude that discussions among scholars, policymakers, and practitioners should move beyond considering the pros and cons of community college attendance for students in general to attending to the implications of community college attendance for targeted groups of students.
Jennie E. Brand: University of California – Los Angeles. E-mail: [email protected]

Fabian T. Pfeffer: University of Michigan. E-mail: [email protected]

Sara Goldrick-Rab: University of Wisconsin – Madison. Email: [email protected] 

  • Citation: Brand, Jennie E., Fabian T. Pfeffer, and Sara Goldrick-Rab 2014. “The Community College Effect Revisited: The Importance of Attending to Heterogeneity and Complex Counterfactuals.” Sociological Science 1: 448-465.
  • Received: August 22, 2014
  • Accepted: September 16, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a25

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Explaining Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Political Backlash and Generational Succession, 1987-2012

Michael Hout, Claude S. Fischer

Sociological Science, October 13, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a24

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Twenty percent of American adults claimed no religious preference in 2012, compared to 7 percent twenty-five years earlier. Previous research identified a political backlash against the religious right and generational change as major factors in explaining the trend. That research found that religious beliefs had not changed, ruling out secularization as a cause. In this paper we employ new data and more powerful analytical tools to: (1) update the time series, (2) present further evidence of correlations between political backlash, generational succession, and religious identification, (3) show how valuing personal autonomy generally and autonomy in the sphere of sex and drugs specifically explain generational differences, and (4) use GSS panel data to show that the causal direction in the rise of the “Nones” likely runs from political identity as a liberal or conservative to religious identity, reversing a long-standing convention in social science research. Our new analysis joins the threads of earlier explanations into a general account of how political conflict over cultural issues spurred an increase in non-affiliation.
Michael Hout: New York University.  E-mail: [email protected]

Claude S. Fischer: University of California, Berkeley. E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Hout, Michael, and Claude S. Fischer. 2014. “Explaining Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Political Backlash and Generational Succession, 1987–2012.” Sociological Science 1: 423-447.
  • Received: July 8, 2014
  • Accepted: July 16, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a24

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Mexican Ancestry, Immigrant Generation, and Educational Attainment in the United States

Stephen L. Morgan, Dafna Gelbgiser

Sociological Science, September 29, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a23

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After introducing alternative perspectives on assimilation and acculturation, we use the 2002-2012 waves of the Education Longitudinal Study to model differences in educational attainment for students sampled as high school sophomores in 2002.  We focus on patterns observed for the growing Mexican immigrant population, analyzing separately the trajectories of 1st, 1.5th, 2nd, and 3rd+ generation Mexican immigrant students, in comparison to 3rd+ generation students who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites and students who self-identify as non-Hispanic blacks or African Americans.  The results suggest that the dissonant acculturation mechanism associated with the segmented assimilation perspective is mostly unhelpful for explaining patterns of educational attainment, especially for the crucial groups of 1.5th and 2nd generation Mexican immigrant students.  Instead, standard measures of family background can account for large portions of group differences in bachelor’s degree attainment, with or without additional adjustments for behavioral commitment to schooling, occupational plans, and educational expectations.  The broad structure of inequality in the United States, as well as the rising costs of bachelor’s degrees, should be the primary source of concern when considering the prospects for the incorporation of the children of recent Mexican immigrants into the mainstream.

Stephen L. Morgan: Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University.  E-mail: [email protected]

Dafna Gelbgiser: Cornell University. Email: [email protected]


  • Citation: Morgan, Stephen L. and Dafna Gelbgiser 2014. “Mexican Ancestry, Immigrant Generation, and Educational Attainment in the United States.”Sociological Science 1: 397-422
  • Received: June 19, 2014
  • Accepted: July 14, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a23

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