Aliya Saperstein (Sociology, Stanford University)
Saperstein will introduce a "racial mobility" perspective that brings together constructivist theories of race and the tools of sociological studies of social mobility to make the case for a more dynamic understanding of the relationship between race and inequality. In particular, she argues that a person’s race should be conceptualized more like their occupational or marital status than their year or place of birth. Evidence for this perspective is presented from different historical periods, across multiple outcomes and datasets, and is consistent with results from controlled experiments. By revisiting canonical assumptions – from the relationship between reliability and validity in survey measurement to the distinction between ascription and achievement in studies of stratification – a racial mobility perspective also points the way toward improvements in data collection and research practice.
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