Democracy, they say, is in crisis. The Washington Post ran a Super Bowl ad warning
us that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Political scientists Daniel
Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky have published a book titled How Democracies Die. And Larry Diamond, éminence grise of democracy scholarship, has diagnosed a global democratic recession.
It is not my aim to pour cold water on these kinds of concerns. There
is much in recent history to fret about. Yet a single-minded focus on
contemporary events can mislead. In studying only today’s backsliding,
we risk ignoring the forest for a few Trump-shaped trees.
To understand democracy — to defend it and to deepen it — we should
examine its long history rather than obsess about recent headwinds. In
a recent article published in the American Journal of Sociology,
I attempt to do just that. My research suggests that democratic
progress over the last 150 years is the fruit of the changing character
of class struggle over the state. Democracy has its origins in the capacity of the poor to disrupt the routines of the rich.
Over the last half century, American women have gradually entered lucrative and prestigious occupations, one obvious sign of a reduction in gender inequality. The feminization of those occupations, however, may in turn reduce their average pay levels. In this research, I examined trends in the effect of occupational feminization on occupational pay over several decades in the U.S. and explored the mechanisms underlying these trends.
In many professional workplaces,
mindfulness has become a seeming panacea. Its proponents argue that it will not
only help workers de-stress and improve their health, but become more
self-aware and self-actualized both in and outside of work. The argument goes
that, by helping develop happy, healthy, and therefore more productive
employees, the large companies, schools, public agencies, and other
organizations will benefit.
Mindfulness meditation includes a wide-ranging
set of contemplative practices aimed at training oneself to pay “attention in a
particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally,” as
defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the
Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society. Mindfulness has
been developed and differentiated in the course of being marketed by its
proponents to a variety of organizations, from Ivy League universities to
Fortune 100 businesses.
last few years have brought renewed attention to the unique challenges facing
women leaders. Feminist
like Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Ava DuVernay decry sexist double
standards that hold women back professionally, and intense public commentary
has focused on the possibility of a likability
for women in politics. The conversation touches on an either/or
bind described by sociologists of gender: either women can “do gender” by
displaying warmth and caring, or they can “do professionalism” by
showing strong leadership and authority. But they can’t do both.
But is this tension reflected in the work experiences of all women leaders? In a recent study, we found that overlapping cultural stereotypes of what it means to be “white” and a “woman” give rise to a particular expectation for “feminine behavior” that may not exist for women of color whose race and gender elicit more masculinized stereotypes.
position in society, particularly in the labor market, ranks high on the
political agenda in many countries. One policy under debate is implementing
gender quotas in top positions or on corporate boards. Also the vice president
of the European Commission in 2012 has proposed legislation enforcing such
gender quotas in all European countries.
argument is generally that the gender of the manager, or the gender composition
at the managerial level, affects career prospects of female employees. Thus, increased representation of women at
higher levels within firms is often assumed to improve wages and career
advancement of women.
This can be through preferences of the manager such as homophily – implying a preference to interact with individuals with similar characteristics, i.e., as regards gender. Or through productivity-enhancing effects due to better communication and mentoring. Alternatively an increased female representation contributes by firm structures becoming more family-friendly.
As expected, President Trump touted the “hottest” economy in years in his State of the Union address. As evidence for a booming economy, Trump noted that, “Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.” And that “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.”
focus on a minority group with historically low rates of employment — people
with disabilities — and examine some of these claims. Employment rates for people with disabilities have
declined since the late-1980s. An analysis of employment trends over time also shows similar declines even when
accounting for differences in age, education, and family background. Despite
these overarching trends, the President claimed in his address that
“Unemployment for Americans with disabilities is at an all-time low.”
To be sure,
many organizations have fact checked Trump’s SOTU speech. True:
unemployment among people with disabilities did decrease slightly from 10.5% to
9.2% in 2017 and rates are lower for other minority groups. This isn’t,
however, a record low nor did Trump mention that unemployment among people with
disabilities is still about twice as high as the rest of the population. It also masks the fact that while
unemployment may have declined, it is still highest among African Americans and
Hispanics with disabilities.
The bigger problem isn’t the hyperbolic tone we’ve come to expect in a SOTU address and especially one delivered by Donald J. Trump. It’s trying to convince American voters that the economy is doing well because of increased employment.
last fifteen years, gender gaps in employment remained steady in many parts of
the world, while the gaps grew wider in others. The chance for women to
participate in the labor market is about 27 percent lower than for men,
according to a recent report by the International Labor
Work in Progress is a project of the American Sociological Association's Sections on Organizations, Occupations, and Work, Economic Sociology, Labor and Labor Movements, and Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility