The American Population Panel

Are you a student, post-doc or faculty member wishing to undertake your own survey research?  CHRR at The Ohio State University started building the American Population Panel (APP) in June 2017 to provide researchers interested in fielding their own surveys with a pool of respondents.  The APP is not a probability sample but it now comprises over 50,000 members who have expressed interest in taking occasional surveys for research purposes and who have been recruited via a wide array of traditional and modern techniques. With background information on sex assigned at birth, age, educational attainment, geographical residence, race and ethnicity, we can create samples that are nationally representative of these demographic and background characteristics. We can also obtain samples of special populations that may be hard to find in other panels, for example LGBTQ+ individuals or veterans. CHRR has been involved in many survey projects over the past 55+ years, most notably the National Longitudinal Surveys, and the APP can be used for longitudinal as well as cross-sectional studies. We provide help with questionnaire authoring and survey branding. We program and test each survey instrument. Following fielding (generally online but also via telephone interviews if panelists prefer this mode) we produce a fully documented data set for PIs to download in Excel, SPSS, SAS, STATA and R via Investigator (used for all NLSY data downloads). We handle respondent payments. A number of social scientists have used, or are using the APP currently, for their survey projects including researchers at Bowling Green State University, Brigham Young University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Ohio State University, University of Texas at Austin,  University of Kentucky, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Utah Valley University and West Virginia University. For more information see Elizabeth C. Cooksey PhD PI, American Population Panel

Call for Chapters: Colleges and Their Communities

Chapter Proposals Due April 10, 2023

Chapter Drafts Due October 15, 2023

Anticipated Publication Date:  2025-2026

This edited volume will explore myriad ways in which colleges/universities have worked with and against their communities, covering such issues as neighborhood gentrification, town-gown conflicts, innovation alliances, local food programs, and the existence (or lack of) access pipelines for local students.  Contributions are not restricted to the US and we encourage chapters that explore international contexts.  See the attached call for more information. 

Chapter proposal/abstract submission

Please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words with a potential title and topic area to Allison Hurst,, by April 10, 2023.  Notification of accepted chapter proposals will be made by April 15, 2023, with completed chapter draft to be submitted no later than October 15, 2023.  Final contributions will be limited to 6000 words maximum (or roughly twenty double-spaced manuscript pages). Please see link for more details.

Book Review: First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship

Please enjoy this review of Richard Lachmann’s First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship by Emily Erikson.
First Class Passengers
Throw me a life vest, please! by Emily Erikson, Yale University 

I think we can all agree that Richard Lachmann’s latest book, First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship, is a masterful work of history and political analysis. The question I want to address is whether this book should be read as an analysis of the current situation of the United States, a work on elite conflict theory, or as a work on imperial decline? Or perhaps this question could be better phrased as whether this work’s greatest contribution is to contemporary analysis of the state of the United States, to the development of elite-conflict theory, or to theories of empire.  Lachmann has developed elite-conflict theory in, for example, earlier works like Capitalists in Spirit of Themselves, and From Manor to Market. In those books, as in this one, Lachmann mobilizes and develops elite-conflict theory to explain large-scale political outcomes. But this most recent book is not really about exploring the possible dimensions and contours of elite-conflict theory as much as it is about explaining imperial decline in general and US imperial decline in particular.  That balance between the general and particular is interesting because for a lot of readers there is going to be some implicit tension between how they feel about the current situation in the US and the idea of the end of US imperial ambitions. On the one hand, we might be ambivalent or even vaguely pleased about the end of an empire but simultaneously sad about the potentially disastrous way that era is winding down in the US.  To this end it should be noted that the book was finalized before the 2020 elections, and things surely looked much worse at that point than they do now, although Lachmann makes clear that he does not believe a change in administrations — however awful one outgoing administration may be — is going to resolve the underlying conflicts over resources propelling the decline of US power. He does, however, carefully keep the different outcomes of imperial decline and societal decline and/or stasis analytically separate.  It is mainly in the concluding chapter that the problem of rising inequality, the rise of populism, and the decline of democratic institutions are addressed. It is clear that the end of US global hegemony is going to play an important role in how these issues play out over time. But it is equally clear that other factors largely unrelated to international relations and global power also play an extremely important role — such as the presence of union organization and corporate tax rates. Just to drive this point home, only three nations have experienced global hegemony and decline, but nearly all nations have experienced changing patterns of inequality and democratization. Despite the fact that this analysis enters in at the end of the book, it is more than sufficient to advance a strong case that elite-conflict theory should also be at the heart of the analysis of these other very concerning trends — whether or not they intersect with imperial decline. In this regard, Lachmann’s analysis makes a nice companion for Thomas Piketty’s recent volumes, Capital and Capital and Ideology, which give quite a lot of information about laws, taxation, and property regimes, but less on the political configurations that give rise to these institutional outcomes and/or the configurations that might lead to the changes for which Piketty advocates.  

Q&A with Kiyoteru Tsutsui

Co-Winner of the 2019 Political Sociology Book Award Rights Makes Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan (Oxford University Press, 2018)
Rights Make Might
How did you start working on the book and how did the project evolve over time? The book project started as a follow-up to a series of articles that I’d worked on since my dissertation, which examined how ideas and institutions around universal human rights emerged and evolved since around the 1940s. These articles featured cross-national quantitative analyses that identified some interesting global-local dynamics in human rights politics: many states make discursive commitments to human rights without actually changing their practices, and only when civil society actors leverage those commitments do actual practices improve. Other researchers also confirmed this pattern, and I had some anecdotal evidence to underscore the argument, but I wanted to have a deeper understanding about how these processes unfold. So I set out to do a comparative case study, and the three cases in Japan offered an excellent setting for this process-tracing study. One of the core arguments in my research up to that point was that once global human rights enter national politics, ideas and institutions around human rights galvanize local populations and lead them to greater activism and eventually greater success. To demonstrate this process, it was advantageous to have multiple groups with different political and historical backgrounds in the same country, so that country-level characteristics are controlled for and the impact of global human rights can be examined more precisely. The three groups in Japan were perfect for this purpose. Ainu, an inactive indigenous people, Koreans, an active but unsuccessful non-citizen group, and Burakumin, a former ‘outcaste’ group that had been politically active and already seen some successes, were at different stages of political mobilization but they all expanded their activism since the 1970s, when global human rights entered Japanese politics in earnest. So I set out to do a number of interviews, collect archival data, and put together a narrative that weaves these data into a book on how these three groups have been influenced by human rights ideas, utilized international human rights instruments, and also contributed to reinforcement and expansion of global human rights norms. As I examined empirical materials in greater detail, I came to a realization that one of the most consequential impacts of global human rights is its capacity to empower subjugated populations. I capture this in a concept, transformation of movement actorhood. For any underprivileged groups to start mobilization for more rights, it is critical that they understand that they deserve those rights. This realization can propel them to collective political action, and at that point, international human rights institutions can provide instrumental support, offering forums to criticize the government and to form alliances with other groups that are similarly disadvantaged. Done effectively, the growing activism can lead to improvement in their rights situations and can also result in a redirection of their movement in a more global and altruistic direction.