Friday, August 15, from 7:00 - 9:00 pm PST

Opening Plenary Session. Hard Times: The Concentrations of Income and Wealth

Emmanuel Saez

University of California-Berkeley

Thomas M. Shapiro

Brandeis University

Melvin L. Oliver

University of California-Santa Barbara

Leslie McCall

Northwestern University

Thomas A. DiPrete

Columbia University

In recent decades we have seen a sharp rise in economic inequality. Nowhere has the increase in income inequality been documented as dramatically and as thoroughly as in the widely discussed work of Emmanuel Saez. The phenomenon of wealth inequality was brought to the forefront of sociologists’ attention by the work of Thomas Shapiro and Melvin Oliver, who established the profound implications of this phenomenon for the intergenerational perpetuation of racial stratification. Finally, Leslie McCall has established that, contrary to commonly held assumptions, Americans care deeply about economic inequality and the impact it has. These scholars will discuss the contours and implications of inequality in this plenary session, for which Thomas DiPrete serves as discussant.

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Organizer & Presider

Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

Panelists

Emmanuel Saez, University of California-Berkeley

Thomas M. Shapiro, Brandeis University

Melvin L. Oliver, University of California-Santa Barbara

Leslie McCall, Northwestern University

Discussant

Thomas A. DiPrete, Columbia University

Saturday, August 16, from 12:30 - 2:10 pm PST

Plenary Session. Social Class in Daily Life

Jay MacLeod

Parish of All Saints

Eric Klinenberg

New York University

Linda M. Burton

Duke University

William Julius Wilson

Harvard University

Social class divisions are powerful forces in American society: they influence the rituals of daily life, they cast a long shadow over the life course, and they are thrown into sharper relief in times of crisis. This panel shows a range of ways in which class divisions matter. Jay MacLeod, author of the classic work, Ain’t No Makin’ It, will make a rare appearance at an ASA meeting to discuss the impact of class on life chances over the life course. Linda Burton will share the results of a thirty-year ethnographic study of low-income mothers. Her study highlights the interweaving of race and class in their lives. Eric Klinenberg, drawing on recent data on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, will show how the experiences of this natural disaster varied by class. William Julius Wilson will be the discussant on this Saturday plenary session.

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Organizer & Presider

Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

Panelists

Jay MacLeod, Parish of All Saints

Eric Klinenberg, New York University

Linda M. Burton, Duke University

Discussant

William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

Saturday, August 16, from 8:00 - 9:30 pm PST

Plenary Session. The Impact of Inequality

Robert Reich

University of California-Berkeley

Families and individuals in the middle and bottom ranges of the income ladder suffer widening inequality in a number of ways. As the ladder elongates, they're likely to feel relatively more deprived. They're more likely to marry or partner with others in the lower ranges of income, thereby compounding their relative disadvantages. Upward mobility is harder to achieve, because the same degree of effort gets them a shorter distance up the ladder. They're likely to experience more geographic segregation by income -- resulting in lower-quality public services, inadequate access to public transportation and jobs, and fewer models of successful upward mobility around them.

At the other end of the ladder, widening inequality tends to insulate wealthier individuals and families from the poverty and economic insecurity others in society are experiencing. To an ever larger extent, being "rich" means not having to come across anyone who is not. The advantages of wealth are compounded through marriage, and investment in children. Wealthy tend to know that they and their children and grandchildren will do fine. As a result, they are incapable of doing the Rawlsian experiment; they cannot imagine what the rules of society should be under a "veil of ignorance" about where they'd end up in the pecking order. The result is the breakdown of a society -- to the extent that by "society" we mean a system in which members feel some duties to one another.

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Organizer & Presider

Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

Keynote Address

Robert Reich, University of California-Berkeley

Sunday, August 17, from 4:30 - 6:10 pm PST

ASA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address

Annette Lareau

University of Pennsylvania

The Presidential Plenary featuring the formal address of ASA President Annette Lareau will be held on Sunday, August 17, at 4:30p.m. The Awards Ceremony, conferring the 2014 major awards, will open this session. All registrants are invited to attend this plenary session and the Honorary Reception afterwards to honor President Annette Lareau and the award recipients.

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Monday, August 18, from 12:30 - 2:10 pm PST

Plenary Session. Family Life in Hard Times

Arlie Russell Hochschild

University of California-Berkeley

David J. Harding

University of California-Berkeley

Marianne Cooper

Stanford University

Matthew Desmond

Harvard University

Harsh economic times have an impact on families, but the reverberations are not always well understood. In this session, Arlie Russell Hochschild discusses her most recent project on the tensions between free market policies and family life. David Harding illuminates how the release of prisoners influences not only the prisoners themselves but their families. Marianne Cooper explores the emotional work connected to economic insecurity. Her ethnographic study highlights the ways in which anxiety about financial security preoccupies affluent families in Silicon Valley as well as families with economic strain. Matthew Desmond traces the influence of evictions on the lives of children. Frank Furstenberg will preside over this Monday plenary.

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Organizer

Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

Presider

Frank F. Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania

Panelists

Arlie Russell Hochschild, University of California-Berkeley

David J. Harding, University of California-Berkeley

Marianne Cooper, Stanford University

Matthew Desmond, Harvard University

Monday, August 18, from 8:00 - 9:30 pm PST

Plenary Session. An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell

The New Yorker

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers — The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and now, his latest, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. He has been named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine and one of the Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.

He has explored how ideas spread in the Tipping Point, decision making in Blink, and the roots of success in Outliers. With his latest book, David and Goliath, he examines our understanding of the advantages of disadvantages, arguing that we have underestimated the value of adversity and over-estimated the value of privilege. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He has won a national magazine award and been honored by the American Psychological Society and the American Sociological Association. He was previously a reporter for The Washington Post.

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Organizer & Presider

Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

Keynote

Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

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