Braun, Long, and Muller publish top articles in the American Journal of Sociology

Berkeley Assistant Professors Robert Braun, Yan Long, and Chris Muller have garnered the top three article spots in the latest issue of the American Journal of Sociology.

Minorities and the Clandestine Collective Action Dilemma: The Secret Protection of Jews during the Holocaust

Robert Braun

This article argues that local minority groups are better able to initiate and sustain underground movements because members form isolated hubs of commitment that are able to overcome the clandestine collective action dilemma, that is, the dual challenge of secrecy and mobilization. The author substantiates this claim with a case study of resistance against the Holocaust. He combines a unique and underutilized collection of postwar testimonies gathered in light of an honorary pension program with postwar trials of pro-Nazi collaborators and literature on nonrescuers, to trace both successful and failed rescue attempts. In line with the theory, the analysis reveals that Catholic rescue groups were more successful in Protestant regions and vice versa because their minority position facilitated mobilization while reducing exposure. Statistical analyses of postwar testimonies and arrest records confirm this picture, demonstrating that it is the distinctive local position of groups that enables the production of underground movements.

Abstract | Full Text | PDF (2391 KB)

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The Contradictory Impact of Transnational AIDS Institutions on State Repression in China, 1989–2013

Yan Long

Existing research has focused on the extent to which transnational interventions compel recalcitrant governments to reduce levels of domestic repression, but few have considered how such interventions might also provoke new forms of repression. Using a longitudinal study of repression against AIDS activism in China between 1989 and 2013, the author proposes that transnational institutions’ provision of material resources and reshaping of organizational rules can transform a domestic repressive apparatus in specific policy areas. The intervention of transnational AIDS institutions not only constrained traditional violent coercion but also generated new forms of “diplomatic repression” through (1) changing repressive motives by moving AIDS from the margin to the center of mainstream politics and (2) supplying resources, networks, and models of action that enabled government organizations to reformulate health social organizations as new repressive actors with innovative repertoires of strategies inside and outside China’s territory.

Abstract | Full Text | PDF (1690 KB)

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Freedom and Convict Leasing in the Postbellum South

Christopher Muller

In 1868, the state of Georgia began punishing convicts by leasing them to private companies. Georgia’s transition from penitentiary confinement to convict leasing coincided with a shift in the composition of its inmates. Fifteen years after the Civil War, African-Americans in Georgia were imprisoned at a rate more than 12 times that of whites. This article finds that black men were most likely to be imprisoned in the convict lease system where they overcame whites’ efforts to preserve their position as dependent agricultural laborers. Where elite white landowners were able to reconstitute a dependent agricultural labor force, they had little reason to use the convict lease system to punish their workers. But in urban counties and in counties where African-Americans had acquired considerable landholdings, black men faced comparatively high rates of imprisonment for property crimes.

Abstract | Full Text | PDF (1587 KB)

University of Chicago Press Journals

Publication Cover

American Journal of Sociology

Volume 124, Number 2 | September 2018