CUSS News Digest (Jan 2020)

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Please find the Community and Urban Sociology Section January Digest below.  Items include:

  1. Call for Nominations for Section Awards
  2. Section Paper Sessions for ASA 2020
  3. New Books
  4. A Call for Papers


Community and Urban Sociology Section’s Robert E. Park Book Award

The Park Award (formerly the Park Book Award) goes to the author(s) of the best book published in the past two years (2018 and 2019). To nominate a book for this award: 1) By March 1 send an email nominating the book to Committee Co-Chair Evelyn Perry (; and 2) When you nominate the book, you will receive an email with committee members’ addresses and additional instructions for the publisher.  Using those addresses and instructions, books should arrive to committee members by April 1. 

Community and Urban Sociology Section’s Jane Addams Article Award

The Jane Addams Award (formerly the Park Article Award) goes to authors of the best scholarly article in community and urban sociology published in the past two years (2018 or 2019).   Please send electronic copies of the paper via email to all four members of the committee by April 1, 2020.  Email addresses are listed below.

Community and Urban Sociology Graduate Student Paper Award

The CUSS Student Paper Award goes to the student author of the paper the award committee regards as the best graduate student paper in community and urban sociology.  Please send electronic copies to all three members of the committee by April 1, 2020. Email addresses are listed below.

Community and Urban Sociology Section’s Robert and Helen Lynd Award for Lifetime Achievement

The Robert and Helen Lynd Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes distinguished career achievement in community and urban sociology.  Nominations are due by April 1, 2020.  Please send nominations to all five members of the committee.  Email addresses are below.


The deadline to submit is Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. 

Cities and Big Data
The use of ‘big data’ for social sciences is on the rise. Social media and other location-based services provide an abundance of fine-grained data to a high geographical resolution. New computational methods allow researchers to analyze high volumes of user-generated location points, travels, tweets, reviews, among others. This context poses an opportunity for urban sociologists to expand traditional quantitative and qualitative methods in researching people’s dynamics in the city, and the impact of new technologies on the urban experience. This panel provides a space for discussion among researchers interested in exploring the possibilities of ‘big data’ analysis for urban sociology.

New Forms of Precarious Urban Labor
The rise of platform based gig work, such as driving an Uber or finding short stints on Taskrabbit, is often linked back to the Great Recession as workers attempted to make do with less and diversify their income sources. But as platform-based gig work enters its second decade, the question arises, how has gig work given rise to new forms of urban precarity? More broadly, what is the impact of the new urban economy on workers, their careers, and life chances? This session invites papers that explore new forms of precarious labor by considering some of the following: What is the relationship of different types of platform-based gig work to urban place-making, e.g. the experience of “eyes on the street”, as workers are increasingly found in co-working spaces, coffee shops, and parks? In what ways do new forms of labor shape precarity for urban workers, as they encounter increased and outsourced risk in the workplace? Alternatively, has the reported flexibility of the work allowed for improved financial security through a side hustle for those with in-demand skills and high levels of social and financial capital? And finally, how do we theorize the forms of precarious labor and platform-based gig work within the study of urban inequality and racial segregation?

Theorizing the Renters and Rental Housing in the United States
In U.S. cities, the percentage of residents renting units versus owning homes has reached a historic high. Given the growing share of renters and increasing rental costs across the country’s largest metropolitan areas, this session invites papers that explore various facets of rental markets in the United States, particularly as they relate to urban inequality. Potential topics of interest could examine how residents navigate unaffordable housing markets to find adequate housing; the role of landlords, property managers, real estate investors, and city officials vis-à-vis rental markets; or dynamics within subgroups of renters. Papers may also explore topics such as: cost-saving measures such as doubling up; the emergence of multi-tenant homes and short-term rental services; the global circuits of finance capital and how they relate to the rental market; and social movements mobilizing for greater tenant protections and dignified housing. Overall, this session seeks submissions that broadly theorize various aspects of rental markets. It will examine rental relationships as engines of inequality in the United States, as well as the resistance that it engenders in the process.

Work, Community, and City
This session brings together the subjects of work and community and answers questions about how employees, freelancers, and even more precarious workers find community in the city. With the high cost of living in cities, stagnating wages, and long hours, many urban workers struggle to find like-minded and meaningful community. Papers in this session will address the following questions: How does the culture of creative class cities promote or harm a sense of community? What kinds of spaces facilitate connections, engage people in community-building, and bring people together? How do urban workers experience quality of life in cities and communities?

Community and Urban Sociology Section Roundtables


Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography

Oxford University Press 2020 (Paperback and Cloth)

Edited by Corey M. Abramson and Neil Gong


  • “This stimulative book will make its readers think anew about the pitfalls, profits, and promise of comparison in ethnography.” — Loïc Wacquant, author of Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer
  • “An exciting and much needed volume, Beyond the Case is the first major work in decades to spot-light comparative ethnography and the wide-ranging pluralistic developments over time. Chapter contributors-both the legendary and the new generations-pass on insights, techniques, methods, and logics of various approaches. Both beginners and experienced ethnographers will be inspired by the theoretical potential of comparative casing” — Diane Vaughan, Columbia University
  • “An essential and usable volume for reconnecting today the ethnographic case study to the historic ambitions for it in designs of broad scale comparison.” — George E. Marcus, author of Ethnography Through Thick and Thin
  • “Perhaps the hottest topic in contemporary ethnographic research is the possibility, the value, and the drawbacks of comparative ethnography. In Beyond the Case, Corey Abramson and Neil Gong and their well-chosen authors provide a diverse set of explanations for how and when comparative ethnographies advance description, theory, and policy analysis. This is a book that will stand the methodological test of time and every field researcher will wish to consider its arguments for their own projects and for those of their students.” — Gary Alan Fine, Northwestern University


The social sciences have seen a substantial increase in comparative and multi-sited ethnographic projects over the last three-decades. Yet, at present, researchers seeking to design comparative field studies have few scholarly works detailing how various ethnographic schools approach comparison. In Beyond the Case, Corey M. Abramson and Neil Gong gather expert field researchers working in a variety of ethnographic traditions such as phenomenology, grounded theory, positivism, the extended case method, and interpretivism, to explain both the logic behind and practice of comparison in their works. The contributors connect the long history of comparative (and anti-comparative) ethnographic approaches to their contemporary uses. By honing in on how ethnographers render sites, groups, or cases analytically commensurable and comparable, Beyond the Case offers a new lens for examining the assumptions, payoffs, and potential drawbacks of different forms of comparative ethnography.


  • Corey M. Abramson
  • Alissa Bernstein
  • Lynn S. Chancer
  • Aaron V. Cicourel
  • Claire Laurier Decoteau
  • Thomas DeGloma
  • Daniel Dohan
  • Neil Gong
  • Ching Kwan Lee
  • Max Papadantonakis
  • Martín Sánchez-Jankowski
  • Iddo Tavory
  • Stefan Timmermans

Order online at with discount code ASFLYQ6 to save 30%.

Vegas Brews

Craft Beer and the Birth of a Local Scene

By Michael Ian Borer

An inside look at how craft beer makers and IPA devotees come together to brew, taste, and enjoy fine ale while also building a sense of community in 

Las Vegas

As of 2019, there are more than 7000 craft breweries and 1.2 million home brewers making their own beer in the United States.  The craft beer industry has exploded, offering an alternative to commercial beverage conglomerates via creative flavors, quippy names, and perhaps most importantly, local spirit.

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