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Sociologists to explore inequality at Annual Meeting in New York City, Aug. 10-13

More than 5,000 sociologists will convene in New York City this August to explore ideas and scientific research relating to inequality and many other topics, as part of the American Sociological Association's 108th Annual Meeting. This year's theme, "Interrogating Inequality: Linking Micro and Macro," challenges sociologists to consider how inequality, in its multi-dimensional complexity, is produced in contemporary societies. No set of questions are more fundamental to sociology than those about inequality what is it, why is it, how does it come about, and what can we do to change it?

The conference will feature nearly 600 sessions and more than 3,600 studies covering such subjects as same-sex marriage, immigration, mass shootings, social media, sex, climate change, family, work, health and healthcare, relationships, education, bullying, technology, religion, race, socioeconomics, children, politics, disability, substance abuse, animals, gender, and an abundance of others. Given the diverse range of topics that will be covered, ASA's Annual Meeting will provide a wealth of information for journalists assigned to nearly any beat.

WHAT: The American Sociological Association's 108th Annual Meeting: "Interrogating Inequality: Linking Micro and Macro"

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 10, through Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 (Opening Plenary Session is Friday, Aug. 9 from 7 to 9 PM)

WHERE: Hilton New York Midtown (1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019) and Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers (811 7th Avenue 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019)

REGISTRATION: Complimentary media registration is now open. Download the press policy and registration form online at The early registration deadline is Friday, July 26.

PROGRAM: Visit for the meeting's searchable preliminary program. Preliminary daily program schedule PDFs can be found here:


  • Studying Social Dynamics in the Digital Age
    Saturday, Aug. 10, 10:30 AM 12:10 PM (Hilton, Rendezvous Trianon, 3rd Floor)

    In the last decade we have witnessed the birth and rapid growth of Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, iPhones, Wi-Fi, YouTube, Twitter, and numerous other marvels of the digital age. In addition to changing the way we live, these tools and the technological revolution they are a part of have fundamentally changed the way we can learn about the social world. We can now collect data about human behavior on a scale never before possible and with tremendous granularity and precision. The ability to collect and process "big data" enables researchers to address core questions in the social sciences in new ways and opens up new areas of inquiry. This panel will highlight research using these new sources of data to understand social dynamics.

  • The Changing Employment Contract/Changing Labor Market
    Saturday, Aug. 10, 10:30 AM 12:10 PM (Hilton, Sutton South, 2nd Floor)

    This session will bring together five experts who are known for their innovative research on ways in which changing employment contracts are affecting work, careers, and personal life, and creating new forms of inequality. The participants have made significant contributions to our understanding of employment precariousness (the rise of contingent and temporary work, the bifurcation of jobs into "good" and "bad," boundaryless careers, the erosion of job security for many, the shift of risk from employers to workers), transformation in careers, changes in gender and household relations, and the meaning of work in an era of insecurity. This panel will explore new ways of thinking about these features of work and employment, focusing on their social, philosophical, gendered, and experiential dimensions.

  • Queering Marriage or Marrying Heteronormativity? Debating Same-Sex Marriage
    Sunday, Aug. 11, 8:30 10:10 AM (Hilton, Sutton South, 2nd Floor)

    Attitudes towards gays and lesbians have changed so much over the past decade that more than half of Americans now think that being gay is morally acceptable and that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to legally marry. Same-sex marriage, nevertheless, remains one of the most contentious issues in American society. The papers in this session will examine the debate over same-sex marriage among the general public, as well as among gay and lesbian activists who remain divided over the issue, concentrating on the U.S., Scandinavia, and Australia. The session will consider the impact of social movements, activists, and academic experts on shifts in public opinion, the law, and public policy pertaining to same-sex marriage.

  • When Sociological Research Matters: Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and the Sociological Voice in Understanding and Preventing Mass Shootings
    Sunday, Aug. 11, 12:30 2:10 PM (Hilton, Sutton South, 2nd Floor)

    In what seems like an increasingly regular occurrence, mass shootings have lately captured the sustained attention of politicians, educators, health care providers, and the public. The complex web of factors that shapes such tragic events has been the subject of sociological investigation historically, providing some clear insights into roots and remedies. This session will bring together three of sociology's experts with broad and deep research-based understanding of mass events like these and the policy response to each of the two broad issues mental illness and gun ownership that fuel the national and international debates about solutions.

  • Immigration and American Society from 1980 to 2040
    Sunday, Aug. 11, 2:30 4:10 PM (Hilton, Sutton South, 2nd Floor)

    By 1980, there were clear signs that the "Post 1965 Wave of Immigration Era" was beginning to take hold with a little over 14 million foreign born persons counted in the 1980 Census an almost 50 percent increase during the decade of the 1970s. But the percent foreign born was only about six percent, and in much of the United States, including the Midwest and the South, immigrants were all but invisible. In spite of several legislative efforts to slow or stop immigration over the last three decades, to say nothing of the militarization of the southern border, growing xenophobia fueled by talk radio and some political leaders and numerous commissions and studies, immigration has continued apace over the last three decades. As of 2012, there were about 40 million foreign born and perhaps an equal number of second generation immigrants almost one in four Americans is an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Immigrants are a visible presence in almost every part of the country, and in many large cities the immigrant community (counting first and second generation) may soon constitute a majority of the population. Panelists will explore how this happened and what lies ahead.

  • Higher Education and the American Dream
    Sunday, Aug. 11, 2:30 4:10 PM (Hilton, Beekman, 2nd Floor)

    Americans place great hopes in higher education. A college degree is expected to promote economic development and competiveness, reduce inequality, and erase the advantages of birth in the competition for socioeconomic success. The promise of higher education has, however, been called into question by several recent developments, including persistent socioeconomic differences in access to and, increasingly, in the completion of college, growing college costs, and the rise in "non-standard" higher education trajectories. Panelists will examine different dimensions of the role that higher education plays in reducing inequality and inducing social mobility in current American society.

  • Addressing Health Care Inequality: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
    Monday, Aug. 12, 10:30 AM 12:10 PM (Hilton, Beekman, 2nd Floor)

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is intended to make health care more affordable and to expand health care coverage to all Americans. This panel will bring together health policy experts from sociology, health services research, and political science to provide an overview of the act and its major provisions in relation to these goals. What processes yielded the act in its current form? How do its provisions address its stated goals? How effective are its provisions likely to be? What new forms of inequality will the act yield?

  • Who are the Top One Percent?
    Monday, Aug. 12, 4:30 6:10 PM (Hilton, Beekman, 2nd Floor)

    This panel will examine the general question of "who are the top one percent" in terms of detailed studies of the income distribution, the wealth distribution, and federal tax returns, all of which net a slightly different set of people, but then coverage on the same several thousand people in terms of the top two or three tenths of the one percent. The panel also will engage the more interesting sociological question about the top one percent that relates to issues of power: To what degree, if any, do individuals and families within the top one percent have an active role in shaping the social processes and laws that brought them into the top one percent and help keep them there?

  • New Reproductive Technologies and the Reproduction of Inequality
    Tuesday, Aug. 13, 10:30 AM 12:10 PM (Sheraton, New York West, 3rd Floor)

    A crucial site for the production of social inequalities is that of motherhood and reproduction. Markets in new reproductive technologies that have emerged primarily to assist those who face infertility such as invitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) have exacerbated existing social inequalities. This panel will critically interrogate new reproductive technologies by drawing on case studies from the global north and south to theorize stratified reproduction in transnational terms.

  • Shifting Meanings of Family and Work
    Tuesday, Aug. 13, 12:30 2:10 PM (Sheraton, Central Park East, 2nd Floor)

    Definitions of families, of work, and of work-family issues are dynamic and evolving. Family structures and care responsibilities are being reshaped by the aging workforce, marital disruption, declining fertility, and non-traditional family forms. Similarly, employment conditions are changing as workers and employers face often competing needs for flexibility and schedule control. Is there hope for more family supportive organizational cultures? The shifting meanings of family and work present new challenges and opportunities for integrating work and family responsibilities. This session will highlight research on the changing meanings of families, demographic shifts in family structure, increasing intergenerational care responsibilities, the impact of work schedules and flexibility on the interface of work and family life, and the potential for creating more family-supportive workplace cultures.


Contact: Daniel Fowler
American Sociological Association

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