Faculty Books

Coming of Age in the Other America

Recent research on inequality and poverty has shown that those born into low-income families, especially African Americans, still have difficulty entering the middle class, in part because of the disadvantages they experience living in more dangerous neighborhoods, going to inferior public schools, and persistent racial inequality. Coming of Age in the Other America shows that despite overwhelming odds, some disadvantaged urban youth do achieve upward mobility. Drawing from ten years of fieldwork with parents and children who resided in Baltimore public housing, sociologists Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin highlight the remarkable resiliency of some of the youth who hailed from the nation’s poorest neighborhoods and show how the right public policies might help break the cycle of disadvantage.

Coming of Age in the Other America illuminates the profound effects of neighborhoods on impoverished families. The authors conducted in-depth interviews and fieldwork with 150 young adults, and found that those who had been able to move to better neighborhoods—either as part of the Moving to Opportunity program or by other means—achieved much higher rates of high school completion and college enrollment than their parents. About half the youth surveyed reported being motivated by an “identity project”—or a strong passion such as music, art, or a dream job—to finish school and build a career.

Yet the authors also found troubling evidence that some of the most promising young adults often fell short of their goals and remained mired in poverty. Factors such as neighborhood violence and family trauma put these youth on expedited paths to adulthood, forcing them to shorten or end their schooling and find jobs much earlier than their middle-class counterparts. Weak labor markets and subpar postsecondary educational institutions, including exploitative for-profit trade schools and under-funded community colleges, saddle some young adults with debt and trap them in low-wage jobs. A third of the youth surveyed—particularly those who had not developed identity projects—were neither employed nor in school. To address these barriers to success, the authors recommend initiatives that help transform poor neighborhoods and provide institutional support for the identity projects that motivate youth to stay in school. They propose increased regulation of for-profit schools and increased college resources for low-income high school students.

Coming of Age in the Other America presents a sensitive, nuanced account of how a generation of ambitious but underprivileged young Baltimoreans has struggled to succeed. It both challenges long-held myths about inner-city youth and shows how the process of “social reproduction”—where children end up stuck in the same place as their parents—is far from inevitable.

Stefanie DeLuca is associate professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University.

Susan Clampet-Lundquist is associate professor of sociology at Saint Joseph’s University.

Kathryn Edin is Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University.


After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s — households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children.

Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones) with her procurement of rich — and truthful — interviews. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge.

The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. More than a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.


Many thought China’s rise would fundamentally remake the global order. Yet, much like other developing nations, the Chinese state now finds itself entrenched in a status quo characterized by free trade and American domination. Through a cutting-edge historical, sociological, and political analysis, Ho-fung Hung exposes the competing interests and economic realities that temper the dream of Chinese supremacy–forces that are stymieing growth throughout the global South.

Hung focuses on four common misconceptions about China’s boom: that China could undermine orthodoxy by offering an alternative model of growth; that China is radically altering power relations between the East and the West; that China is capable of diminishing the global power of the United States; and that the Chinese economy would restore the world’s wealth after the 2008 financial crisis. His work reveals how much China depends on the existing order and how the interests of the Chinese elites maintain these ties. Through its perpetuation of the dollar standard and its addiction to U.S. Treasury bonds, China remains bound to the terms of its own prosperity, and its economic practices of exploiting debt bubbles are destined to fail. Dispelling many of the world’s fantasies and fears, Hung warns of a postmiracle China that will grow increasingly assertive in attitude while remaining constrained in capability.


labors lost love by andrew j cherlin

Two generations ago, young men and women with only a high-school degree would have entered the plentiful industrial occupations which then sustained the middle-class ideal of a male-breadwinner family. Such jobs have all but vanished over the past forty years, and in their absence ever-growing numbers of young adults now hold precarious, low-paid jobs with few fringe benefits. Facing such insecure economic prospects, less-educated young adults are increasingly forgoing marriage and are having children within unstable cohabiting relationships. This has created a large marriage gap between them and their more affluent, college-educated peers. In Labor’s Love Lost, noted sociologist Andrew Cherlin offers a new historical assessment of the rise and fall of working-class families in America, demonstrating how momentous social and economic transformations have contributed to the collapse of this once-stable social class and what this seismic cultural shift means for the nation’s future.

Drawing from more than a hundred years of census data, Cherlin documents how today’s marriage gap mirrors that of the Gilded Age of the late-nineteenth century, a time of high inequality much like our own. Cherlin demonstrates that the widespread prosperity of working-class families in the mid-twentieth century, when both income inequality and the marriage gap were low, is the true outlier in the history of the American family. In fact, changes in the economy, culture, and family formation in recent decades have been so great that Cherlin suggests that the working-class family pattern has largely disappeared.

Labor’s Love Lost shows that the primary problem of the fall of the working-class family from its mid-twentieth century peak is not that the male-breadwinner family has declined, but that nothing stable has replaced it. The breakdown of a stable family structure has serious consequences for low-income families, particularly for children, many of whom underperform in school, thereby reducing their future employment prospects and perpetuating an intergenerational cycle of economic disadvantage. To address this disparity, Cherlin recommends policies to foster educational opportunities for children and adolescents from disadvantaged families. He also stresses the need for labor market interventions, such as subsidizing low wages through tax credits and raising the minimum wage.

Labor’s Love Lost provides a compelling analysis of the historical dynamics and ramifications of the growing number of young adults disconnected from steady, decent-paying jobs and from marriage. Cherlin’s investigation of today’s “would-be working class” shines a much-needed spotlight on the struggling middle of our society in today’s new Gilded Age.


West Baltimore stands out in the popular imagination as the quintessential “inner city”—gritty, run-down, and marred by drugs and gang violence. Indeed, with the collapse of manufacturing jobs in the 1970s, the area experienced a rapid onset of poverty and high unemployment, with few public resources available to alleviate economic distress. But in stark contrast to the image of a perpetual “urban underclass” depicted in television by shows like The Wire, sociologists Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson present a more nuanced portrait of Baltimore’s inner city residents that employs important new research on the significance of early-life opportunities available to low-income populations. The Long Shadow focuses on children who grew up in west Baltimore neighborhoods and others like them throughout the city, tracing how their early lives in the inner city have affected their long-term well-being. Although research for this book was conducted in Baltimore, that city’s struggles with deindustrialization, white flight, and concentrated poverty were characteristic of most East Coast and Midwest manufacturing cities. The experience of Baltimore’s children who came of age during this era is mirrored in the experiences of urban children across the nation.

For 25 years, the authors of The Long Shadow tracked the life progress of a group of almost 800 predominantly low-income Baltimore school children through the Beginning School Study Youth Panel (BSSYP). The study monitored the children’s transitions to young adulthood with special attention to how opportunities available to them as early as first grade shaped their socioeconomic status as adults. The authors’ fine-grained analysis confirms that the children who lived in more cohesive neighborhoods, had stronger families, and attended better schools tended to maintain a higher economic status later in life. As young adults, they held higher-income jobs and had achieved more personal milestones (such as marriage) than their lower-status counterparts. Differences in race and gender further stratified life opportunities for the Baltimore children. As one of the first studies to closely examine the outcomes of inner-city whites in addition to African Americans, data from the BSSYP shows that by adulthood, white men of lower status family background, despite attaining less education on average, were more likely to be employed than any other group in part due to family connections and long-standing racial biases in Baltimore’s industrial economy. Gender imbalances were also evident: the women, who were more likely to be working in low-wage service and clerical jobs, earned less than men. African American women were doubly disadvantaged insofar as they were less likely to be in a stable relationship than white women, and therefore less likely to benefit from a second income.

Combining original interviews with Baltimore families, teachers, and other community members with the empirical data gathered from the authors’ groundbreaking research, The Long Shadow unravels the complex connections between socioeconomic origins and socioeconomic destinations to reveal a startling and much-needed examination of who succeeds and why.


In Networks beyond Empires, Kuo examines business and nationalist activities of the Chinese bourgeoisie in Hong Kong and Singapore between 1914 and 1941. The book argues that speech-group ties were key to understanding the intertwining relationship between business and nationalism.

Organization of transnational businesses and nationalist campaigns overlapped with the boundary of Chinese speech-group networks. Embedded in different political-economic contexts, these networks fostered different responses to the decline of the British power, the expansion of the Japanese empire, as well as the contested state building processes in China. Through negotiating with the imperialist powers and Chinese state-builders, Chinese bourgeoisie overseas contributed to the making of an automatic space of diasporic nationalism in the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor.


In this second edition of Counterfactuals and Causal Inference, completely revised and expanded, the essential features of the counterfactual approach to observational data analysis are presented with examples from the social, demographic, and health sciences. Alternative estimation techniques are first introduced using both the potential outcome model and causal graphs; after which, conditioning techniques, such as matching and regression, are presented from a potential outcomes perspective. For research scenarios in which important determinants of causal exposure are unobserved, alternative techniques, such as instrumental variable estimators, longitudinal methods, and estimation via causal mechanisms, are then presented. The importance of causal effect heterogeneity is stressed throughout the book, and the need for deep causal explanation via mechanisms is discussed.


Dreams and visions, prophetic words from God about “dusty souls” speaking in tongues while “in the spirit” narratives of these and similar events comprise the heart of Every Time I Feel the Spirit. This in-depth study of a Black congregation in Charleston, South Carolina provides a window into the tremendously important yet still largely overlooked world of African American religion as the faith is lived by ordinary believers. For decades, scholars have been preoccupied with the relation between Black Christianity, civil rights, and social activism. Every Time I Feel the Spirit is about black religion as religion. It focuses on the everyday experience of religion in the church, congregants’ relationships with God, and the role that God and Satan play in congregants’ lives not only as objects of belief but as actual agents. It explores the concepts of religious experience and religious ritual, while emphasizing the attributions that people make to the operation of spiritual forces and beings in their lives. Through interviews and field work, Nelson uncovers what religious people themselves see as important about their faith while extending and refining sociological understandings of religious ritual and religious experience.


This book presents an intensive cross-national analysis of social structure and personality, testing the generality of the thesis that position in the larger social structure affects (and is affected by) personality largely because of the linkages between social-structural position with proximate conditions of life, and of proximate conditions of life with personality. Kohn and his collaborators have focused their research on two basic dimensions of social structure (class and stratification), the proximate conditions of life most directly related to class and stratification (job conditions), and three fundamental aspects of personality (intellectual flexibility, self-directedness of orientation, and feelings of well-being or distress). Their findings for the United States, then-socialist Poland, and Japan demonstrate remarkable cross-national similarities across cultures and economic systems, along with an intriguing cross-national difference between socialist Poland and the capitalist U.S. and Japan, in the relationships of class and stratification with job conditions and thus with personality during times of apparent social stability. Kohn then asks whether the cross-nationally consistent relationships could possibly survive the conditions of radical social change entailed in the transition of Poland and Ukraine from socialism to nascent capitalism, and whether the one major difference between socialist Poland and the capitalist countries would persist when Poland and Ukraine were no longer socialist. The cross-national similarities endure, despite social instability and, in Ukraine, even despite personality itself becoming astonishingly unstable; and the cross-national difference has disappeared with the transition from socialism to nascent capitalism.


Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as “deadbeat dads.” Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral.

Drawing on years of fieldwork, Doing the Best I Can shows how mammoth economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor. Intimate interviews with more than 100 fathers make real the significant obstacles faced by low-income men at every step in the familial process: from the difficulties of romantic relationships, to decision-making dilemmas at conception, to the often celebratory moment of birth, and finally to the hardships that accompany the early years of the child’s life, and beyond.


What constitutes a causal explanation, and must an explanation be causal? What warrants a causal inference, as opposed to a descriptive regularity? What techniques are available to detect when causal effects are present, and when can these techniques be used to identify the relative importance of these effects? What complications do the interactions of individuals create for these techniques? When can mixed methods of analysis be used to deepen causal accounts? Must causal claims include generative mechanisms, and how effective are empirical methods designed to discover them? The Handbook of Causal Analysis for Social Research tackles these questions with nineteen chapters from leading scholars in sociology, statistics, public health, computer science, and human development.


Since the 1980s, the world’s governments have decreased state welfare and thus increased the number of unprotected “informal” or “precarious” workers. As a result, more and more workers do not receive secure wages or benefits from either employers or the state. What are these workers doing to improve their livelihoods? Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India offers a fresh and provocative look into the alternative social movements informal workers in India are launching. It also offers a unique analysis of the conditions under which these movements succeed or fail. Drawing from 300 interviews with informal workers, government officials, and union leaders, Rina Agarwala argues that Indian informal workers are using their power as voters to demand welfare benefits (such as education, housing, and healthcare) from the state, rather than demanding traditional work benefits (such as minimum wages and job security) from employers. In addition, they are organizing at the neighborhood level, rather than the shop floor, and appealing to “citizenship,” rather than labor rights. Agarwala concludes that movements are most successful when operating under parties that compete for mass votes and support economic liberalization (even populist parties), and are least successful when operating under non-competitive electoral contexts (even those tied to communist parties).


As the title suggests, Public and Private Families: An Introduction, seventh edition, discusses the family in two senses: the private family, in which we live most of our personal lives, and the public family, in which we, as adults, deal with broader societal issues such as the care of the frail elderly, the increase in divorce, and childbearing outside of marriage. The book examines intimate personal concerns, such as whether to marry, as well as societal concerns, such as governmental policies that affect families. Distinctive chapters examine contemporary issues such as income assistance to poor families, the effects of out-of-home childcare, and the costs of Social Security and Medicare programs.

A companion reader to this textbook, Public and Private Families: A Reader, seventh edition, with 14 same-named chapters, has 34 readings from both the popular press and academic journals.


The origin of political modernity has long been tied to the Western history of protest and revolution, the currents of which many believe sparked popular dissent worldwide. Reviewing nearly one thousand instances of protest in China from the eighteenth to the early-nineteenth centuries, Ho-fung Hung charts an evolution of Chinese dissent that stands apart from Western trends.

Hung samples from mid-Qing petitions and humble plaints to the emperor. He revisits rallies, riots, market strikes, and other forms of contention rarely considered in previous studies. Drawing on new world history, which accommodates parallels and divergences between political-economic and cultural developments East and West, Hung shows how the centralization of political power and an expanding market, coupled with a persistent Confucianist orthodoxy, shaped protesters’ strategies and appeals in Qing China.

This unique form of mid-Qing protest combined a quest for justice and autonomy with a filial-loyal respect for the imperial center, and Hung’s careful research ties this distinct characteristic to popular protest in China today. As Hung makes clear, the nature of these protests prove late imperial China was anything but a stagnant and tranquil empire before the West cracked it open. In fact, the origins of modern popular politics in China predate the 1911 Revolution. Hung’s work ultimately establishes a framework others can use to compare popular protest among different cultural fabrics. His book fundamentally recasts the evolution of such acts worldwide.


Providing basic foundations for measuring inequality from the perspective of distributional properties

This monograph reviews a set of widely used summary inequality measures, and the lesser known relative distribution method provides the basic rationale behind each measure and discusses their interconnections. It also introduces model-based decomposition of inequality over time using quantile regression. This approach enables researchers to estimate two different contributions to changes in inequality between two time points.

Key Features

  • Clear statistical explanations provide fundamental statistical basis for understanding the new modeling framework
  • Straightforward empirical examples reinforce statistical knowledge and ready-to-use procedures
  • Multiple approaches to assessing inequality are introduced by starting with the basic distributional property and providing connections among approaches

The Marriage-Go-Round illuminates the shifting nature of America’s most cherished social institution and explains its striking differences from marriage in other Western countries.

Andrew J. Cherlin’s three decades of study have shown him that marriage in America is a social and political battlefield in a way that it isn’t in other developed countries. Americans marry and divorce more often and have more live-in partners than Europeans, and gay Americans have more interest in legalizing same-sex marriage. The difference comes from Americans’ embrace of two contradictory cultural ideals: marriage, a formal commitment to share one’s life with another; and individualism, which emphasizes personal choice and self-development. Religion and law in America reinforce both of these behavioral poles, fueling turmoil in our family life and heated debate in our public life. Cherlin’s incisive diagnosis is an important contribution to the debate and points the way to slowing down the partnership merry-go-round.


With one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a population quickly approaching two billion, China holds substantial sway over global financial, social, and cultural networks. This volume explains China’s economic rise and liberalization and assesses how this growth is reshaping the structure and dynamics of global capitalism in the twenty-first century.

China has historically been the center of Asian trade, economic, and financial networks, and its global influence continues to expand in the twenty-first century. In exploring the causes for and effects of China’s resurging power, this volume takes a broad, long-term view that reaches well beyond economics for answers. Contributors explore the vast web of complex issues raised by China’s ascendancy.

The first three chapters discuss the global and historical origins of China’s shift to a market economy and that transformation’s impact on the international market system. Subsequent essays explore the ability of large Chinese manufacturers to counter the might of transnational retailers, the effect of China’s rise on world income distribution and labor, and the consequences of a stronger China for its two most powerful neighbors, Russia and Japan. The concluding chapter questions whether China’s growth is sustainable and if it will ultimately shift the center of global capitalism from the West to the East.

This cutting-edge collection of works by leading global political economists links current events to long-term trends in global capitalist development to provide a comprehensive analysis of China’s impact on the world. Scholars of China, world systems and globalization, international relations, and political economy will find this assessment worthy of study and an important starting point for further research.


Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today. In a fascinating account, author Joel Andreas chronicles how two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China’s old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. After dispossessing the country’s propertied classes, Mao and the Communist Party took radical measures to eliminate class distinctions based on education, aggravating antagonisms between the new political and old cultural elites. Ultimately, however, Mao’s attacks on both groups during the Cultural Revolution spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China’s premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the party’s preferred training ground for technocrats, including many of China’s current leaders.


Class explains much in the differentiation of life chances and political dynamics in South Asia; scholarship from the region contributed much to class analysis. Yet class has lost its previous centrality as a way of understanding the world and how it changes. This outcome is puzzling; new configurations of global economic forces and policy have widened gaps between classes and across sectors and regions, altered people’s relations to production, and produced new state-citizen relations. Does market triumphalism or increased salience of identity politics render class irrelevant? Has rapid growth in aggregate wealth obviated long-standing questions of inequality and poverty?

Explanations for what happened to class vary, from intellectual fads to global transformations of interests. The authors ask what is lost in the move away from class, and what South Asian experiences tell us about the limits of class analysis. Empirical chapters examine formal and informal-sector labor, social movements against genetic engineering, and politics of the “new middle class.” A unifying analytical concern is specifying conditions under which interests of those disadvantaged by class systems are immobilized, diffused, co-opted—or autonomously recognized and acted upon politically: the problematic transition of classes in themselves to classes for themselves.


Millie Acevedo bore her first child before the age of 16 and dropped out of high school to care for her newborn. Now 27, she is the unmarried mother of three and is raising her kids in one of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods. Would she and her children be better off if she had waited to have them and had married their father first? Why do so many poor American youth like Millie continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them?

Over a span of five years, sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas talked in-depth with 162 low-income single moms like Millie to learn how they think about marriage and family. Promises I Can Keep offers an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to these women and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead.


Quantile Regression, the first book of Hao and Naiman’s two-book series, establishes the seldom recognized link between inequality studies and quantile regression models. Though separate methodological literature exists for each subject, the authors seek to explore the natural connections between this increasingly sought-after tool and research topics in the social sciences. Quantile regression as a method does not rely on assumptions as restrictive as those for the classical linear regression; though more traditional models such as least squares linear regression are more widely utilized, Hao and Naiman show, in their application of quantile regression to empirical research, how this model yields a more complete understanding of inequality. Inequality is a perennial concern in the social sciences, and recently there has been much research in health inequality as well. Major software packages have also gradually implemented quantile regression. Quantile Regression will be of interest not only to the traditional social science market but other markets such as the health and public health related disciplines.

Key Features:

  • Establishes a natural link between quantile regression and inequality studies in the social sciences
  • Contains clearly defined terms, simplified empirical equations, illustrative graphs, empirical tables and graphs from examples
  • Includes computational codes using statistical software popular among social scientists
  • Oriented to empirical research

The growing number of immigrants living and working in America has become a controversial topic from classrooms to corporations and from kitchen tables to Capitol Hill. Many native-born Americans fear that competition from new arrivals will undermine the economic standing of low-skilled American workers, and that immigrants may not successfully integrate into the U.S. economy. In Color Lines, Country Lines, sociologist Lingxin Hao argues that the current influx of immigrants is changing America’s class structure, but not in the ways commonly believed.

Drawing on 20 years of national survey data, Color Lines, Country Lines investigates how immigrants are faring as they try to accumulate enough wealth to join the American middle class, and how, in the process, they are transforming historic links between race and socioeconomic status. Hao finds that disparities in wealth among immigrants are large and growing, including disparities among immigrants of the same race or ethnicity. Cuban immigrants have made substantially more progress than arrivals from the Dominican Republic, Chinese immigrants have had more success than Vietnamese or Korean immigrants, and Jamaicans have fared better than Haitians and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, many of these immigrant groups have acquired more wealth than native-born Americans of the same race or ethnicity. Hao traces these diverging paths to differences in the political and educational systems of the immigrants’ home countries, as well as to preferential treatment of some groups by U.S. immigration authorities and the U.S. labor market. As a result, individuals’ country of origin increasingly matters more than their race in determining their prospects for acquiring wealth. In a novel analysis, Hao predicts that as large numbers of immigrants arrive in the U.S. every year, the variation in wealth within racial groups will continue to grow, reducing wealth inequalities between racial groups. If upward mobility remains restricted to only some groups, then the old divisions of wealth by race will gradually become secondary to new disparities based on country of origin. However, if the labor market and the government are receptive to all immigrant groups, then the assimilation of immigrants into the middle class will help diminish wealth inequality in society as a whole.

Immigrants’ assimilation into the American mainstream and the impact of immigration on the American economy are inextricably linked, and each issue can only be understood in light of the other. Color Lines, Country Lines shows why some immigrant groups are struggling to get by while others have managed to achieve the American dream and reveals the surprising ways in which immigration is reshaping American society.


How often do working-class children obtain college degrees and then pursue professional careers? Conversely, how frequently do the children of doctors and lawyers fail to enter high status careers upon completion of their schooling? As inequalities of wealth and income have increased in industrialized nations over the past 30 years, have patterns of between-generation mobility changed?

In this volume, leading sociologists and economists present original findings and conceptual arguments in response to questions like these. After assessing the range of mobility patterns observed in recent decades, the volume considers the mechanisms that generate mobility, focusing on both the training and skills that are rewarded in the labor market as well as the role of educational institutions in certifying graduates for professional positions. The volume concludes with chapters that assess the contexts of social mobility, examining the impact of macroeconomic conditions and societal levels of inequality on social and economic mobility.


With this purported new “era of high-profile, mega successful, black women who are changing the face of every major field worldwide” and growing socioeconomic diversity among black women as the backdrop, Embracing Sisterhood seeks to determine where contemporary black women’s ideas of black womanhood and sisterhood merge with social class status to shape certain attachments and detachments among them. Similarities as well as variations in how black women of different social backgrounds perceive and live black womanhood are interpreted for a range of social contexts. This book confirms what many of today’s African-American women and interested observers have known for some time: Conceptions and experience of black womanhood are quite diverse and appear to have grown more diverse over time. However, the potential for a pervasive and polarizing black “step-sisterhood” is considerably undermined by the passion with which these women cling to the promises of cross-class gender/ethnic “community” and of group determination. Embracing Sisterhood draws its analysis from in-depth interviews with eighty-eight contemporary black women aged 18 to 89 covering a variety of issues prompted by a survey questionnaire capturing various dimensions of gender/ethnic identity and consciousness.


The importance of educational certification for labor market success has increased since the 1970s. But social sciences still cannot answer a fundamental question: Who goes to college and why? In On the Edge of Commitment, Stephen L. Morgan offers a new model of educational achievement to explain why some students are committed to preparation for college.

Morgan’s model unites in one common framework the forward-looking cost-benefit assessments of students with social influence processes. The model is then used to explain puzzling race differences in patterns of high school achievement and subsequent rates of college enrollment. The book, using this model, makes a major theoretical statement on the process of educational achievement, which will help to launch a new generation of empirical work.


Aage Sorensen was an influential intellectual presence who was one of the world’s leading authorities on social stratification and the sociology of education. His research sought to understand the structures, dynamics and mechanisms that underlie inequalities in industrial societies by focusing on how individuals’ attainments are shaped by characteristics of a society’s or organization’s opportunity structure, on the one hand, and individuals’ education, experience and other human capital resources, on the other. He emphasized inequalities associated with education and schooling, class, and stratification outcomes such as income and occupational status. Within these general foci, he tackled the study of phenomena as diverse as rates of learning in elementary school reading groups and promotion patterns in large industrial corporations.

The chapters of this volume illustrate some of the major themes that characterized Aage’s research; these topics are also likely to constitute important concerns for future efforts to understand structured social inequality in society. These themes include: the development of explicit dynamic models to account for observed patterns of education, career, and labor market outcomes; aspects of educational inequality such as school effects and learning opportunities; issues related to intragenerational mobility and careers; and the role of rents in generating structural inequality.

Published as Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 21.


Recasting labor studies in a long-term and global framework, the book draws on a major new database on world labor unrest to show how local labor movements have been related to world-scale political, economic, and social processes since the late nineteenth century. Through an in-depth empirical analysis of select global industries, the book demonstrates how the main locations of labor unrest have shifted from country to country together with shifts in the geographical location of production. It shows how the main sites of labor unrest have shifted over time together with the rise or decline of new leading sectors of capitalist development and demonstrates that labor movements have been deeply embedded (as both cause and effect) in world political dynamics. Over the history of the modern labor movement, the book isolates what is truly novel about the contemporary global crisis of labor movements. Arguing against the view that this is a terminal crisis, the book concludes by exploring the likely forms that emergent labor movements will take in the twenty-first century.

Alternate Covers and Translations

Forcas Do Trabalho

Forces of Labor - Korean

Forces of Labor - Turkish

Forces of Labor - Italian


On the Success of Failure is about the practice of grade retention in elementary schools, a particularly vexing problem in urban school systems. The book describes the school context of retention and evaluates its consequences by tracking the experiences of a large, representative sample of Baltimore school children from first grade through high school. It addresses the complex question of whether or not a repeating a grade is helpful or harmful when children are not keeping up.


Examines what historic transformations in power relationships can teach us about our own time–and about what lies ahead.

In a period of dramatic political transformation and upheaval, as we wonder what the future holds, this book reminds us that the world has experienced enormous changes before and that an understanding of those changes may tell us something about our own turbulent time.

The authors look to earlier periods resembling the present in key respects and find recurrent characteristics in such transitional areas as well as important differences from previous patterns.

Alternate Covers & Translations

Welfare mothers are popularly viewed as passively dependent on their checks and averse to work. Reformers across the political spectrum advocate moving these women off the welfare rolls and into the labor force as the solution to their problems. Making Ends Meet offers dramatic evidence toward a different conclusion: In the present labor market, unskilled single mothers who hold jobs are frequently worse off than those on welfare, and neither welfare nor low-wage employment alone will support a family at subsistence levels.