Section Awards

Section awards are given for the Best Book, Best Article, and Best Article by a Student. The winning selections are listed below.

This year’s award committee is made up of  Phyllis L. Baker, Anisha Datta, Xiaoshuo Hou, Rachael S. Pierotti, Rachel S. Robinson, Jennifer Rothchild, Steven Samford, Jon Shefner, Matthias vom Hau, and Anna Wetterberg.

Best Book

Huber, Evelyne and John D Stephens. 2012. Democracy and the Left: Social Policy and Inequality in Latin America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Although inequality in Latin America ranks among the worst in the world, it has notably declined over the last decade, offset by improvements in health care and education, enhanced programs for social assistance, and increases in the minimum wage. In Democracy and the Left, Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens argue that the resurgence of democracy in Latin America is key to this change. In addition to directly affecting public policy, democratic institutions enable left-leaning political parties to emerge, significantly influencing the allocation of social spending on poverty and inequality. But while democracy is an important determinant of redistributive change, it is by no means the only factor. Drawing on a wealth of data, Huber and Stephens present quantitative analyses of eighteen countries and comparative historical analyses of the five most advanced social policy regimes in Latin America, showing how international power structures have influenced the direction of their social policy. They augment these analyses by comparing them to the development of social policy in democratic Portugal and Spain.

Honorable Mention

Cohn, Samuel. 2012. Employment and Development under Globalization: State and Economy in Brazil. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Best Article

Lee, Cheol-Sung. 2012. “Associational Networks and Welfare States in Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan.” World Politics 64(3): 507-554.

This article investigates the structures of civic networks and their roles in steering the political choices of party and union elites regarding the retrenchment or expansion of welfare states in four recently democratized developing countries. Utilizing coaffiliation networks built upon two waves of World Values Surveys and evidence from comparative case studies for Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan, the study develops two explanatory factors that account for variations in welfare politics: cohesiveness and embeddedness. In Argentina and, to a lesser degree, in Taiwan, party and union leaders’ cohesive relationships, being disarticulated from the informal civic sphere, allowed them to conduct elite-driven social policy reforms from above, by launching radical neoliberal reforms (Argentina) or by developing a generous transfer-centered welfare state (Taiwan). In Brazil and South Korea, however, party and union leaders’ durable solidarity embedded in wider civic communities enabled them to resist the retrenchment of welfare states (Brazil) or implement universal social policies (South Korea) based on bottom-up mobilization of welfare demands. This article demonstrates that elites in the formal sector make markedly different political choices when confronting economic crisis and democratic competition depending upon their organizational connections in formal and informal civic networks.

Honorable Mention

Bair, Jennifer and Phillip A. Hough. 2012. “The Legacies of Partial Possession: From Agrarian Struggle to Neoliberal Restructuring in Mexico and Colombia.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 53(5-6): 345-366.

Stewart, Julie. 2012. “A Tale of Two Communities: Divergent Development and Embedded Brokerage in Post-war Guatemala.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 41(4): 402-431.

Best Article by a Student

Levien, Michael and Marcel Paret. 2012. “A Second Double Movement? Polanyi and Shifting Global Opinions on Neoliberalism.” International Sociology 27(6) 724– 744.

Karl Polanyi’s theory of the ‘double movement’ has gained great currency in recent years to explain the global growth of contemporary social movements resisting neoliberalism. However, there has been no statistical research demonstrating whether these protest movements represent a more general trend of growing discontent with ‘disembedding’ markets from public control. This article uses questions from the World Values Survey to construct an ‘embeddedness’ index measuring public opinion on the desired relationship between states and markets. Focusing on public opinion in 20 countries during the 1990s, the analysis poses three questions: First, is there evidence of increasing global support for ‘re-embedding’ markets? Second, how does such opinion vary across regions of the world? Finally, what is the class and gender composition of this latent countermovement? The results provide substantial evidence of an emerging countermovement in public opinion over the 1990s with complex class, gender, and geopolitical variation.

Honorable Mention

Gibson, Christopher. 2012. “Making Redistributive Direct Democracy Matter: Development and Women’s Participation in the Gram Sabhas of Kerala, India.” American Sociological Review 77(3) 409–434.

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