In a hyper-mediated society, dominated by a culture of
consumption and celebrity, the need for people to produce and project their
“authentic” selves have gained new urgency. Whether on dating applications, on social
media platforms, in college applications, or in professional settings, the
crafting and presentation of “authentic” selves has become integral to today’s
Importantly, this increasing focus on crafting such selves coincides with the parallel development of what the sociologist Arlie Hochschild referred to in 2012 as the “outsourcing of self”—or the hiring of others to perform what are usually thought to be “personal” and “intimate” acts.
“Alternative financial services” (AFS), such as payday lenders, check cashers, and pawnshops, have expanded dramatically in recent decades, reshaping the American financial services landscape. In New York State, for example, the number of AFS increased from 2,428 in 1998 to 4,041 in 2015. Nationally, payday lenders are now more common than McDonald’s and Starbucks, combined—nearly one in four households will use an AFS each year.
Policymakers, inequality scholars, and advocates for the poor have long been concerned with AFS because they tend to be more expensive than “mainstream” banking. For example, using a check casher in lieu of a bank could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a career. About half of people who take out payday loans end up paying more in interest and fees than the value of the initial loan, which suggests that these products can exploit economic insecurity and trap individuals in cycles of debt.
The United States struggles with a long history of racial
employment segregation. Exclusionary
hiring based on race was only banned in 1964, and enforcement only gained teeth
when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) set to work in the late
1960s and early 1970s.
We know that segregation declined significantly during the
“long decade of enforcement,” through the early 1980s. Since then, though,
progress seems to have stalled. Sociologists have repeatedly studied occupational
segregation—how separated races are between different jobs—and found that it has
barely moved in more than a generation. Yet even this is too rosy a picture.
There are two broad ways to think about employment segregation. One is occupational, as already mentioned. The other might be called establishment segregation—how separated races are between different workplaces. (An establishment is an individual workplace; think a McDonald’s restaurant, not the McDonalds corporation.) On this dimension, U.S. workplaces have backslid to where they were in the mid-1970s.
Can dialogue be established
between civil society and corporations on social and environmental questions such as climate change? Our study of shareholder engagement at Ford and General Motors suggests that dialogue is
possible and socially-conscious shareholders might be able to drive
positive change in corporations on climate change.
We also show that overcoming
initial adversarial positions take years and, to use the language of Jürgen
Habermas, parties need to shift from strategic action. The strategic action is the instrumental pursuit of individual goals,
to communicative action: a form of
coordinated action where parties achieve a common definition of the
situation. Our study shows how these ideas from German philosophy help explain engagement
effectiveness, and understand current events
in corporate boardrooms.
Dialogue has become central not
only for traditional social movements, non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
and labor unions, but also for shareholders, who are
increasingly active on environmental, social
and governance (ESG) issue.
Children are expensive. Almost any parent will attest to
this. For 2015, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that raising a child into
adulthood cost approximately $234,000 in total for a middle-income family.
Families face many similar expenses with childrearing, which
vary over the child’s lifetime. Upon the birth of a child, there are immediate
costs. Parents must purchase food, clothes, and many other items to support
their children on a day-to-day basis. Children bring long-term costs, too, as
parents often have to save money for their children’s futures, particularly for
Although the costs of childrearing may be similar, families have very different resources available to attend to these costs. As a result, higher-income families tend to spend more on their children in absolute dollars, but lower-income families spend a greater proportion of their income on their children, often at a cost to their own financial wellbeing.