SAGE Sociology

Sociology Podcast Number 5: In this podcast interview, Sam Friedman discusses his paper on social mobility, “The Price of the Ticket: Rethinking the Experience of Social Mobility”, with Sarah Neal, Editor of Sociology. Posted March 2014

Direct download: Sociology_Podcast_No._5_-_Sam_Friedman.wav
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 8:02am EDT

In this podcast interview, co-author Fiona Devine discusses her excellent paper: “A New Model of Social Class? Findings from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey Experiment” with Sophie Watson, Editor of Sociology.

Direct download: Fiona_Devine_EditedFINAL.wav
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 7:55am EDT

Authors Kaela Jubas and Jackie Siedel discuss their article "Knitting as a Metaphor for Work: An Institutional Autoethnography to Surface Tensions of Visibility and Invisibility in the Neoliberal Academy," which was recently published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Abstract: This article discusses the coauthors’ experiences as academic colleagues who took up knitting together, and the insights about contemporary complications and tensions of research and work that we developed through that practice. Adopting some of the tenets of ethnography and, more particularly, autoethnography and institutional ethnography, we ground our analysis in everyday encounters and routines in our academic workplace. Employing knitting as metaphor, we organize our discussion of findings as a series of tensions that are alternately evident and hidden in our work(place). We close by considering how our inquiry points to aspects of both similarity and uniqueness in relation to other work contexts and assists us in interpreting and understanding our academic work in the context of broader society.

Read the full article here.

Direct download: JCE_Jubas_Sidel.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:34pm EDT

Author Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott discusses her paper, written with co-authors Clare Forstie and Savina Balasubramanian, "Shining Stars, Blind Sides, and "Real" Realities: Exit Rituals, Eulogy Work, and Allegories in Reality Television," which was recently published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Abstract: Competitive reality television is a pervasive part of contemporary American culture and encompasses a range of topics and forms. We identify three categories, or spheres, of contestant-elimination reality shows: External Vote, Internal Vote, and Choosing Individual/Deity. Within each sphere, we examine the locus of blame and the structure of the show as contexts for the elimination as symbolic death. This symbolic death presents allegories of loss of fame, social isolation, and individual loss of job, career, or love across these spheres. Contestants perform eulogy work to cope publicly with their elimination at the moment of exit. Eulogy work enables departing contestants to frame their “death” as a good death and to “cool themselves out” in an attempt to save face. In this way, contestants deal with conceptions of self in the show and the transfer of that self back to a reality outside of the bracketed time and space of the show. Drawing on literature from the sociology of emotions, the sociology of death, and the sociology of ritual, we provide the concept of eulogy work to capture the performance of the self specifically in the context of loss.

Read the article here.


Direct download: Edited_JCE_Lisa_Jo.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

Authors Long Doan, Annalise Loehr, and Lisa Miller discuss their article published in the December 2014 issue of American Sociological Review.

Abstract: Attitudes toward gay rights have liberalized over the past few decades, but scholars know less about the extent to which individuals in the United States exhibit subtle forms of prejudice toward lesbians and gays. To help address this issue, we offer a conceptualization of formal rights and informal privileges. Using original data from a nationally representative survey experiment, we examine whether people distinguish between formal rights (e.g., partnership benefits) and informal privileges (e.g., public displays of affection) in their attitudes toward same-sex couples. Results show that heterosexuals are as willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples as they are to unmarried heterosexual couples. However, they are less willing to grant informal privileges. Lesbians and gays are more willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples, but they too are sometimes more supportive of informal privileges for heterosexual couples. We also find that heterosexuals’ attitudes toward marriage more closely align with their attitudes toward informal privileges than formal rights, whereas lesbians and gays view marriage similarly to both formal rights and informal privileges. Our findings highlight the need to examine multiple dimensions of sexual prejudice to help understand how informal types of prejudice persist as minority groups receive formal rights.

Read the article here:

Direct download: ASR_Long_Doan.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

Author Kathleen J. Fitzgerald talks about her article in the February 2014 issue of Humanity & Society. Abstract: "While most scientists of the twentieth century argued for understanding race as a social construction, this understanding has shifted considerably in the past decade. In the current era, biological notions of race have resurfaced not only in the scientific community but in the form of direct consumer use of DNA tests for genetic ancestry testing, sometimes referred to as genetic genealogy, and the emergence of pharmacogenomics, or the marketing of race-specific pharmaceuticals. In this article, I argue that the return of race as a biological concept in the form of racial genomics can best be understood through an application of Blumer’s race as group position theory. Using that, I argue that during the past 20 years, four specific challenges to the racial hierarchy have emerged that have threatened white dominance: the original interpretation of the Human Genome Project results declaring humans to be 99.9 percent similar, thus, dispelling the idea that race has a genetic basis, the electoral wins of President Barack Obama and the ensuing rhetoric that America is a “postracial” society, and finally, the increase in interracial relationships and biracial/multiracial identities. The emergence of racial genomics, I argue, is a response to these specific threats to the racial hierarchy and to white dominance."

Direct download: HAS_Kathleen_Fizgerald.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

Author Michael T. Light discusses his new article which appears in the October 2014 issue of American Sociological Review. Abstract: "When compared to research on the association between immigration and crime, far less attention has been given to the relationship between immigration, citizenship, and criminal punishment. As such, several fundamental questions about how noncitizens are sanctioned and whether citizenship is a marker of stratification in U.S. courts remain unanswered. Are citizens treated differently than noncitizens—both legal and undocumented—in U.S. federal criminal courts? Is the well-documented Hispanic-white sentencing disparity confounded by citizenship status? Has the association between citizenship and sentencing remained stable over time? And are punishment disparities contingent on the demographic context of the court? Analysis of several years of data from U.S. federal courts indicates that citizenship status is a salient predictor of sentencing outcomes—more powerful than race or ethnicity. Other notable findings include the following: accounting for citizenship substantially attenuates disparities between whites and Hispanics; the citizenship effect on sentencing has grown stronger over time; and the effect is most pronounced in districts with growing noncitizen populations. These findings suggest that as international migration increases, citizenship may be an emerging and powerful axis of sociolegal inequality."

Direct download: ASR_Michael_Light.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 5:06pm EDT

Coauthors Ruth Braunstein and Brad Fulton discuss their article with Richard Wood for the August 2014 issue of American Sociological Review: “The Role of Bridging Cultural Practices in Racially and Socioeconomically Diverse Civic Organizations.”

Abstract: Organizations can benefit from being internally diverse, but they may also face significant challenges arising from such diversity. Potential benefits include increased organizational innovation, legitimacy, and strategic capacity; challenges include threats to organizational stability, efficacy, and survival. In this article, we analyze the dynamics of internal diversity within a field of politically oriented civic organizations. We find that “bridging cultural practices” serve as a key mechanism through which racially and socioeconomically diverse organizations navigate challenges generated by internal differences. Drawing on data from extended ethnographic fieldwork within one local faith-based community organizing coalition, we describe how particular prayer practices are used to bridge differences within group settings marked by diversity. Furthermore, using data from a national study of all faith-based community organizing coalitions in the United States, we find that a coalition’s prayer practices are associated with its objective level of racial and socioeconomic diversity and its subjective perception of challenges arising from such diversity. Our multi-method analysis supports the argument that diverse coalitions use bridging prayer practices to navigate organizational challenges arising from racial and socioeconomic diversity, and we argue that bridging cultural practices may play a similar role within other kinds of diverse organizations.

Article available here.


Posted July 2014

Direct download: ASR_Ruth_Brad.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 5:57pm EDT

Danny Dorling discusses his paper “Thinking about Class”, with Kath Woodward, Editor of Sociology. Posted July 2014.

Direct download: Sociology_Podcast_No._9_-_Danny_Dorling.wav
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Author Giacomo Negro discusses his article with coauthors Fabiana Visentin and Anand Swaminathan, "Resource Partitioning and the Organizational Dynamics of "‘Fringe Banking,’" which appears in the August 2014 issue of American Sociological Review.

Abstract: We examine the emergence and proliferation of payday lenders, fringe businesses that provide small short-term, but high-cost loans. We link the organizational dynamics of these businesses to two trends in consumer lending in the United States: the continuing consolidation of mainstream financial institutions; and the expansion of such institutions in the provision of financial services regarded as similar to payday loans. We explain the coexistence in mature industries of large-scale organizations in the market center and smaller specialists in the periphery by testing and extending the organizational model of resource partitioning. Our focus is on two under-examined aspects of the model: the dynamic underlying the partitioning process, and the conditions under which the market remains partitioned. The empirical analysis covers payday lenders, banks, and credit unions operating in Wisconsin between 1994 and 2008.

Full article available here.


Posted July 2014

Direct download: ASR_Giacomo_Negro.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 5:10pm EDT

Rick Wolff of the New School University discusses the postmodern Marxian theory of class, as a process that he developed with Professor Stephen Resnick. Posted June/July 2014

Direct download: CRS_Podcast_11_Rick_Wolff_Class_Process.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

Rick Wolff of the New School University discusses the Marxian and Neoclassical theories of profit, and Marxian theories of expolitation. Posted June/July 2014

Direct download: CRS_Podcast_10_Rick_Wolff_Profits.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 10:18am EDT

Rick Wolff of the New School University discusses the theory of overdetermination that he developed with Stephen A. Resnick, the concept of theoretical entry points, and the relative merit of different forms of economic analysis (Marxian, Keynesian, Neoclassical). Posted June/July 2014

Direct download: CRS_Podcast_9_Rick_Wolff_Entry_Points.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 10:11am EDT

Rick Wolff of the New School University discusses his last book with the late Stephen A. Resnick, Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian (2012, MIT Press) as well as the postmodern critique of social scientific determinism that he developed during his long collaboration with Professor Resnick. Posted June/July 2014  

Direct download: CRS_Podcast_8_Rick_Wolff_Determinism.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 9:49am EDT

Author Leah Ruppanner discusses work-family conflict and more from her article in the May 2014 issue of Work and Occupations, "Blurred Boundaries: Gender and Work-Family Interference in Cross-National Context."

Abstract: Although well theorized at the individual level, previous research has neglected the role of national context in shaping overall levels of nonwork–work and work–nonwork interference. This study fills this gap by examining how a national context of gender empowerment affects the likelihood of experiencing nonwork–work and work–nonwork interference at the individual and national levels. Controlling for individual-level differences in the distribution of job demands and resources, results from our multilevel models indicate that women’s empowerment has significant net gender and parenthood effects on nonwork–work interference. By contrast, gender empowerment equally structures work–nonwork interference for these groups. Our results highlight the need to investigate interference bidirectionally and in a multilevel context.

Article available here.


Posted March 2014.

Direct download: WOX_Leah_Ruppanner.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:27am EDT

Author Julie Kmec discusses her article for the February 2014 issue of Work and Occupations, "Not Ideal: The Association Between Working Anything But Full Time and Perceived Unfair Treatment."

Abstract: Ideal-worker norms permeate workplaces, guiding employers’ evaluation of workers and perceptions of workers’ worth. The authors investigate how an ideal-worker norm violation—working anything but full time—affects workers’ perception of unfair treatment. The authors assess gender and parental status differences in the relationship. Analyses using Midlife Development in the United States II data reveal that women who violate the norm when they have children perceive greater unfair treatment than women who violate the norm but do not have children in the study period. Men who work anything but full time do not perceive unfair treatment. The authors’ findings inform efforts to challenge ideal-worker norms.

Article available here.


Posted February 2014.

Direct download: WOX_Julie_Kmec.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:18am EDT

Author Elizabeth Aura McClintock takes on the trophy wife stereotype in discussing her article for the August 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Beauty and Status: The Illusion of Exchange in Partner Selection?”

Abstract: Scholars have long been interested in exchange and matching (assortative mating) in romantic partner selection. But many analyses of exchange, particularly those that examine beauty and socioeconomic status, fail to control for partners’ tendency to match each other on these traits. Because desirable traits in mates are positively correlated between partners and within individuals, ignoring matching may exaggerate evidence of cross-trait beauty-status exchange. Moreover, many prior analyses assume a gendered exchange in which women trade beauty for men’s status, without testing whether men might use handsomeness to attract higher-status women. Nor have prior analyses fully investigated how the prevalence of beauty-status exchange varies between different types of couples. I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Romantic Pair Sample, a large (N = 1,507) nationally representative probability sample of dating, cohabiting, and married couples, to investigate how often romantic partners exchange physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status, net of matching on these traits. I find that controlling for matching eliminates nearly all evidence of beauty-status exchange. The discussion focuses on the contexts in which beauty-status exchange is most likely and on implications these results have for market-based and sociobiological theories of partner selection.

Article available here.


Posted June 2014

Direct download: ASR_Elizabeth_McClintock.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT


Author David (Dave) Jacobs discusses his article with Lindsey Myers for the August 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, "Union Strength, Neoliberalism, and Inequality: Contingent Political Analyses of U.S. Income Differences Since 1950." 

Abstract: Do historically contingent political accounts help explain the growth in family income inequality in the United States? We use time-series regressions based on 60 years to detect such relationships by assessing interactive associations between the neoliberal departure coincident with Ronald Reagan’s election and the acceleration in inequality that began soon after Reagan took office. We find evidence for this and for a second contingent relationship: stronger unions could successfully resist policies that enhanced economic inequality only before Reagan’s presidency and before the neoliberal anti-union administrations from both parties that followed Reagan. Politically inspired reductions in union membership, and labor’s diminished political opportunities during and after Reagan’s presidency, meant unions no longer could slow the growth in U.S. inequality. Coefficients on these two historically contingent interactions remain significant after many additional determinants are held constant. These findings indicate that political determinants should not be neglected when researchers investigate the determinants of U.S. inequality.

Full article available here.


Posted June 2014

Direct download: ASR_Dave_Jacobs.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

Author James (Jim) Meehan discusses his article for the August 2014 issue of the Journal of Applied Social Science, “Reinventing Real Estate: The Community Land Trust as a Social Invention in Affordable Housing.”

Abstract:The community land trust (CLT) is a social invention designed to solve several problems in land ownership, from affordability to preservation. This article traces the history of the CLT from concept to implementation, through a network of theorists and activists, and discusses the present extent of CLTs in the United States. It concludes with a case study of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a community development organization in Boston, that has used the CLT model as part of its holistic strategy to redevelop a neighborhood that has suffered from redlining, arson, and abandonment. DSNI is perhaps the only community organization in the United States to have attained the power of eminent domain to acquire land for housing development.


Article available here.

Direct download: JASS_Jim_Meehan.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 1:17pm EDT

Author Stoyan Sgourev discusses his article for the April 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “‘Notable’ or ‘Not Able’: When Are Acts of Inconsistency Rewarded?”

Abstract: Atypical practices of crossing categories or genres are generally discouraged in the market, but the ideal of the Renaissance mind persists. Building on recent work elaborating the need to reward the greater risk associated with atypicality for it to survive, this article provides the first systematic, direct evidence for such a reward. We focus on stylistic inconsistency—mixing distinct artistic styles. In a between-subject experimental design, 183 subjects estimated the aesthetic and market value of consistent and inconsistent sets of artworks by Pablo Picasso in three status conditions. Controlling for cognitive difficulties posed by inconsistency, we show that inconsistency is rewarded (i.e., evaluated higher than consistency on aesthetic value) only at high status. Status cues guide perception so that inconsistent works by a prominent artist are given the benefit of the doubt and interpreted as a sign of creativity. The association with creativity leads to a reward for atypicality in the absence of tangible proof that it performs better than typicality.

Article available here.


Posted April 2014

Direct download: ASR_Stoyan_Sgourev.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

Co-authors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen discuss their article for the June 2014 issue, "Changing Work  and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network.


This study was conducted as part of the Work, Family and Health Network (, supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abstract: Schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life may help employees manage the work-family interface. Existing data and research designs, however, have made it difficult to conclusively identify the effects of these work resources. This analysis utilizes a group-randomized trial in which some units in an information technology workplace were randomly assigned to participate in an initiative, called STAR, that targeted work practices, interactions, and expectations by (1) training supervisors on the value of demonstrating support for employees’ personal lives and (2) prompting employees to reconsider when and where they work. We find statistically significant, although modest, improvements in employees’ work-family conflict and family time adequacy, and larger changes in schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life. We find no evidence that this intervention increased work hours or perceived job demands, as might have happened with increased permeability of work across time and space. Subgroup analyses suggest the intervention brought greater benefits to employees more vulnerable to work-family conflict. This study uses a rigorous design to investigate deliberate organizational changes and their effects on work resources and the work-family interface, advancing our understanding of the impact of social structures on individual lives.

Article available here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Phyllis_Erin.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

Author Youngjoo Cha discusses her article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages.”

Abstract: Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the increasing prevalence of “overwork” (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the rising hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hours are especially common and the norm of overwork is deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupational cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.

Article available here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Youngjoo_Cha.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:04pm EDT

Author Susan Olzak discusses her article with Suzanne Shanahan for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Prisoners and Paupers: The Impact of Group Threat on Incarceration in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Cities.”

Abstract: This article uses data on prisoners incarcerated for misdemeanors in late-nineteenth-century U.S. cities to assess a three-part argument that asserts that threats to white dominance prompted efforts of social control directed against African Americans and foreign-born whites: (1) For African Americans, competition with whites for jobs instigated efforts by whites to enforce the racial barrier. (2) For the foreign-born, upward mobility became associated with white identity, which allowed those who “became white” to be seen as less threatening. We thus expect the threat from foreign-born whites to be highest where their concentration in poverty was greatest. (3) We suggest that violence against a given boundary raises the salience of group threat, so a positive relationship should exist between prior violence against a group and its level of incarceration for misdemeanors. Using panel analyses of cities from 1890 through 1910, we find supporting evidence for the first two arguments and partial support for the third.

Article available here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Susan_Olzak.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:56am EDT

Author Sarah Brayne discusses her article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Surveillance and System Avoidance: Criminal Justice Contact and Institutional Attachment.”


Abstract:The degree and scope of criminal justice surveillance increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Recent qualitative research suggests the rise in surveillance may be met with a concomitant increase in efforts to evade it. To date, however, there has been no quantitative empirical test of this theory. In this article, I introduce the concept of “system avoidance,” whereby individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system avoid surveilling institutions that keep formal records. Using data from Add Health (n = 15,170) and the NLSY97 (n = 8,894), I find that individuals who have been stopped by police, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated are less likely to interact with surveilling institutions, including medical, financial, labor market, and educational institutions, than their counterparts who have not had criminal justice contact. By contrast, individuals with criminal justice contact are no less likely to participate in civic or religious institutions. Because criminal justice contact is disproportionately distributed, this study suggests system avoidance is a potential mechanism through which the criminal justice system contributes to social stratification: it severs an already marginalized subpopulation from institutions that are pivotal to desistance from crime and their own integration into broader society.


Article available here.



Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Sarah_Brayne.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

Author Antonie Knigge discusses his article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Status Attainment of Siblings during Modernization.”


Abstract: The modernization thesis claims that intergenerational social mobility increased over time due to industrialization and other modernization processes. Here, we test whether this is indeed the case. We study approximately 360,000 brothers from 189,000 families covering more than 500 municipalities in the Netherlands and a 70-year period (1827 to 1897). We complement these sibling- and family-level data with municipal indicators for the degree of industrialization, mass communication, urbanization, educational expansion, geographic mobility, and mass transportation. We analyze these data by applying sibling models, that is, multilevel regression models where brothers are nested in families, which in turn are nested in communities. We find that the total—unmeasured—family effect on sons’ status attainment decreases slightly and is higher than that found for contemporary societies. The measured influence of the family, operationalized by father’s occupational status, decreased gradually in the Netherlands in the second half of the nineteenth century. A substantial part of this decrease was due to some, but not all, of the modernization processes adduced by the modernization thesis.


Article can be found here.


Posted June 2014.

Direct download: ASR_Antonie_Knigge.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:57pm EDT

Coauthors Jeremy Reynolds and Matthew May discuss their article for Social Currents' second issue, "Religion, Motherhood, and the Spirit of Capitalism."


Abstract: Religion can help people cope with problems, but in the modern U.S. economy, it may also create problems for some women. Conservative Protestantism encourages women to avoid paid work when they have young children, but that is a preference many families cannot afford. To better understand how workplace outcomes may reflect religion, we examine whether conservative Protestant, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and non-religious women work the number of hours they prefer. We pay special attention to the interplay of religion and motherhood. We find that among new mothers, conservative Protestants are among the most likely to wish they were working fewer hours. Non-religious women, in contrast, are the least likely to want fewer hours. Among women who are not new mothers, the situation is reversed. Conservative Protestants are least likely to wish they were working fewer hours and non-religious women are the most likely to want fewer hours. These results suggest that researchers interested in the subjective side of employment should pay more attention to how religion shapes experiences of paid work.


Read the full article here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: SCU_Jeremy_Matt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

GWU student interviews author Ivy Ken about her article for Social Currents' second issue, "A Healthy Bottom Line: Obese Children, A Pacified Public, and Corporate Legitimacy."

Abstract: Corporations rarely prioritize healthy communities over healthy profit margins, but their profits depend on community acceptance. This article reveals that in their quest to be perceived as legitimate citizens, some corporations co-opt the rhetorical tactics typically associated with social movement organizations to frame their profit-maximizing practices as the solution to the problem of childhood obesity. In this framing, explored here in an ethnography of the activities of two organizations called the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, obesity is the result of communities’ failure to work together and the cumulative effect of individuals’ bad choices. By framing corporations as vital community partners poised to “work together” across sectors to solve the childhood obesity “crisis,” these organizations hope to inspire the public to participate in this imagined community in one predominant way: by buying their products. Despite the apparent power and reach of their framing, though, these corporations implicitly acknowledge that they are not and cannot be legitimate members of communities unless the public lets them.

Read the article here.


Posted May 2014.


Direct download: SCU_Ivy_Ken.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:10pm EDT

Author Nicoletta Balbo discusses her article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, "Does fertility behavior spread among friends?" 

Abstract: By integrating insights from economic and sociological theories, this article investigates whether and through which mechanisms friends’ fertility behavior affects an individual’s transition to parenthood. By exploiting the survey design of the Add Health data, our strategy allows us to properly identify interaction effects and distinguish them from selection and contextual effects. We use a series of discrete-time event history models with random effects at the dyadic level. Results show that, net of confounding effects, a friend’s childbearing increases an individual’s risk of becoming a parent. We find a short-term, curvilinear effect: an individual’s risk of childbearing starts increasing after a friend’s childbearing, reaches its peak approximately two years later, and then decreases.

Article available here.

Posted May 2014.

Direct download: ASR_Nicoletta_Balbo.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 4:48pm EDT

Mellisa Holtzman, co-director of the sexual assault protection seminar, "Elemental," discusses her article in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Applied Social Science, "A New Model for Sexual Assault Protection: Creation and Initial Testing of Elemental."

The article will soon be available OnlineFirst, here.

Abstract: Sexual assault self-protection programs often address either broad educational goals (e.g., alcohol awareness, gender and safety) or are restricted to the practice of violent hands-on self-protection techniques. Enrollment is almost entirely restricted to female audiences, in spite of a high risk of assault among gay men. We describe the development of Elemental, a sexual assault protection program, wherein we undertook a sociologically grounded yet multidisciplinary approach to produce a holistic and inclusive program that teaches a variety of response options, including non-violent physical and verbal techniques. Through the use of survey data from program participants and a control group, we present results of initial longitudinal tests of the efficacy of the program. Directions for further testing and development are discussed.


For more information or to get involved with Elemental, visit


Direct download: JASS_MellisaHoltzman.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT

JMM: Author Mark McCormack discusses his article with Eric Anderson for an upcoming issue of Men and Masculinities, "Cuddling and Spooning: Heteromasculinity and Homosocial Tactility among Student-athletes."


To read the article click here

Posted May 2014

Direct download: JMM_Mark_McCormack.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:25am EDT

Sociology Podcast Number 7: John Holmwood discusses his paper on Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach to social justice, “Public Reasoning without Sociology: Amartya Sen’s Theory of Justice ”, with Kath Woodward, Editor of Sociology. Posted June 2014 


To view the article please click here

Direct download: Sociology_Podcast_No._7_-_John_Holmwood.wav
Category: -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

Sociology Podcast Number 6: Maja Cederberg discusses her paper on the role of public discourses in biographical narratives, “Public Discourses and Migrant Stories of Integration and Inequality: Language and Power in Biographical Narratives ”, with Sophie Watson, Editor of Sociology. Posted May 2014

 To view the article please click <a href=">here</a>

Direct download: Sociology_Podcast_No._6_-_Maja_Cederberg.wav
Category: -- posted at: 9:28am EDT

Research on racial/ethnic categorization provides insight on how broad processes, such as migration trends or political shifts, precede the establishment of new categories, but does not detail the struggles and compromises that emerge between state and non-state actors. As a result, we know little about why new census categories are defined in certain ways or how they become legitimated. This article addresses this gap by using an organizational lens to reconstruct how the Hispanic category emerged in the United States. I demonstrate that categories can become institutionalized through a two-stage process as state actors and ethnic entrepreneurs (1) negotiate a classification’s definition and (2) work together to popularize the category. I argue that cross-field effects undergird these stages—movements toward developing a new category within state agencies are reinforced by similar classification efforts occurring among social movement groups and media firms, and vice versa. I identify three organizational mechanisms that sustained these effects in the Hispanic case: the development of boundary-spanning networks between state and non-state actors, the transposition of resources across fields, and the use of analogy and ambiguity as cognitive tools to describe and legitimate the new category. I discuss the theoretical merits of incorporating organizational analysis, especially the concept of cross-field effects, into the study of racial/ethnic classification.

Direct download: ASR_Cristina_Mora.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:19am EDT

Building on recent research emphasizing how legitimacy depends on consensus among audiences about candidates’ characteristics and activities, we examine the relationship between cultural producers’ (candidates) position in the social structure and the consecration of their creative work by relevant audiences. We argue that the outcome of this process of evaluation in any cultural field, whether in art or science, is a function of (1) candidates’ embeddedness within the field, and (2) the type of audience—that is, peers versus critics—evaluating candidates’ work. Specifically, we hypothesize that peers are more likely to favor candidates who are highly embedded in the field, whereas critics will not show such favoritism. We find support for these hypotheses in the context of the Hollywood motion picture industry.

Direct download: ASR_Gino_Cattani.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:50am EDT

Durkheim argued that strong social relationships protect individuals from suicide. We posit, however, that strong social relationships also have the potential to increase individuals’ vulnerability when they expose people to suicidality. Using three waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we evaluate whether new suicidal thoughts and attempts are in part responses to exposure to role models’ suicide attempts, specifically friends and family. We find that role models’ suicide attempts do in fact trigger new suicidal thoughts, and in some cases attempts, even after significant controls are introduced. Moreover, we find these effects fade with time, girls are more vulnerable to them than boys, and the relationship to the role model—for teenagers at least—matters. Friends appear to be more salient role models for both boys and girls. Our findings suggest that exposure to suicidal behaviors in significant others may teach individuals new ways to deal with emotional distress, namely by becoming suicidal. This reinforces the idea that the structure—and content—of social networks conditions their role in preventing suicidality. Social ties can be conduits of not just social support, but also antisocial behaviors, like suicidality.

Direct download: ASR_Seth_Anna.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:32am EDT

We use a life course approach to guide an investigation of relationships and health at the nexus of race and gender. We consider childhood as a sensitive period in the life course, during which significant adversity may launch chains of disadvantage in relationships throughout the life course that then have cumulative effects on health over time. Data from a nationally representative panel study (Americans’ Changing Lives, N = 3,477) reveal substantial disparities between black and white adults, especially pronounced among men, in the quality of close relationships and in the consequences of these relationships for health. Greater childhood adversity helps to explain why black men have worse health than white men, and some of this effect appears to operate through childhood adversity’s enduring influence on relationship strain in adulthood. Stress that occurs in adulthood plays a greater role than childhood adversity in explaining racial disparities in health among women.

Direct download: JHSB_Debra_Umberson.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:47am EDT

Integrating insights from cultural sociology and identity theory, I explore the mental health consequences of adolescent romantic relationship inauthenticity—incongruence between thoughts/feelings and actions within romantic contexts. Applying sequence analysis to National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data, I measure relationship inauthenticity by quantifying the extent to which the ordering of events of actual romantic relationships (e.g., holding hands, saying “I love you”) diverges from the sequence of events within idealized relationship scripts among 5,316 adolescents. I then test its association with severe depression, suicide ideation, and suicide attempt. I find that romantic relationship inauthenticity is positively associated with the risk of all three markers of poor mental health, but only for girls. This study highlights the importance of gender and culture in determining how early romantic involvement influences psychological well-being.

Direct download: JHSB_Brian_Soller.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:34am EDT

Early research suggested that migration changed gender roles by offering women new wages and exposing them to norms of gender equity. Increasingly, however, scholars have drawn attention to the role of structural factors, such as poverty and undocumented status, in mediating the relationship between migration and gender. This article takes such insights a step further by showing that migrant communities’ reactions to structural marginality—and their efforts to build alternatives in their home villages—may also draw women into new gender roles. I demonstrate this mechanism through the case of San Miguel, a Mixtec sending community in Southern Mexico where, in the context of U.S. migration, once-excluded women came to predominate in civic affairs. In response to harsh conditions in the United States, migrants from San Miguel returned to their village. To make this economically feasible, they sought state development resources. Men, who often stayed in the United States as breadwinners, relied on sympathetic women back in the sending community to advocate on their behalf. Meanwhile, women’s own rejection of migrant life gave them new interest in sustaining their village. For both, incorporating women into politics offered a strategy to secure needed resources and avoid assimilating into an undocumented underclass.

Direct download: GAS_Abigail_Andrews.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Pregnancy-based employment discrimination has long been a topic of interest for gender inequality scholars and civil rights agencies. Prior work suggests that employer stereotypes and financial interests leave pregnant women vulnerable to being fired. We still know little, however, about women’s interpretations of their terminations and how employers justify such decisions in the face of arguably protective laws. This article provides much needed, in-depth analyses of such dynamics and a relational account of pregnancy-based employment discrimination claims. Elaborating on theoretical expositions of power and research surrounding the patriarchal character of organizational life, we draw on unique quantitative and qualitative data from verified cases of pregnancy-based firing discrimination. Our analyses reveal a two-pronged legitimation process where employers symbolically vilified pregnant workers while simultaneously amplifying ostensibly meritocratic organizational procedures and concerns. Pregnancy discrimination plaintiffs attempted to counter employer arguments. Yet, their limited power within the organizational hierarchy along with the culturally resonant nature of employer logics—logics that seem gender-neutral but that reify gendered assumptions and prioritize business profit—place pregnant women at a considerable disadvantage. Without attending to such cultural and structural power imbalances and the relational processes that undergird them, pregnancy discrimination will remain a significant problem.

Direct download: GAS_Reggie_Byron.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:45am EDT

The demands of today’s workplace—long hours, constant availability, self-sacrificial dedication—do not match the needs of today’s workforce, where workers struggle to reconcile competing caregiving and workplace demands. This mismatch has negative consequences for gender equality and workers’ health. Here, the authors put forth a call to action: to redesign work to better meet the needs of today’s workforce and to redefine successful work. The authors propose two avenues for future research to achieve these goals: research that (a) builds a more rigorous business case for work redesign/redefinition and (b) exposes the underlying gender and class dynamics of current work arrangements.

Direct download: WOX_Shelley_Andrea.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:35am EDT

Social actors who move across categories are typically disadvantaged relative to their more focused peers. Yet candidates who compile experiences across disparate areas can either be appreciated as renaissance individuals or penalized as dilettantes. Extant literature has focused on the comparison between single versus multiple category members and on skill assessment, hindering its applicability. To discriminate between more versus less successful category spanners, I suggest that the order of accumulated experiences matters, because it serves as an indicator of commitment. I propose the concept of erraticism and predict that employers will prefer candidates who demonstrate some erraticism, by moving incrementally between similar jobs, over candidates who do not move and also over those with highly erratic job histories. Furthermore, I suggest this relationship holds for more complex jobs, less experienced freelancers, and is attenuated through working together. These issues are particularly salient given the rise of external labor markets where careers are increasingly marked by moves across traditional boundaries. I test and find support for these hypotheses with data from an online crowd-sourced labor market for freelancing services, I discuss how virtual mediated labor markets may alter hiring processes.

Direct download: ASR_Ming_Leung.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

We ask a single question: How do we, through our customs, laws, religion, and common practice, go about justifying the violation of these deeply important, perhaps universal, moral imperatives, all the while holding tightly to their importance? The short answer is this: With empathy and logic we draw boundaries and through political debate we set priorities to resolve dilemmas. An infusing theme running throughout is the life-defining importance of assessed social worth. From time to time science, technology, and crystallizing events disturb, clarify, and inform existing understandings of the implied sense of social worth. New resolutions of dilemmas and definitions of life’s protective boundaries are called for. In this manner moral systems evolve. We will find they do so along a jagged and often contentious path.

Direct download: JASS_Sheldon_Ekland_Olson.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:18am EDT

To understand the mechanisms behind social inequality, this address argues that we need to more thoroughly incorporate the effects of status—inequality based on differences in esteem and respect—alongside those based on resources and power. As a micro motive for behavior, status is as significant as money and power. At a macro level, status stabilizes resource and power inequality by transforming it into cultural status beliefs about group differences regarding who is “better” (esteemed and competent). But cultural status beliefs about which groups are “better” constitute group differences as independent dimensions of inequality that generate material advantages due to group membership itself. Acting through micro-level social relations in workplaces, schools, and elsewhere, status beliefs bias evaluations of competence and suitability for authority, bias associational preferences, and evoke resistance to status challenges from low-status group members. These effects accumulate to direct members of higher status groups toward positions of resources and power while holding back lower status group members. Through these processes, status writes group differences such as gender, race, and class-based life style into organizational structures of resources and power, creating durable inequality. Status is thus a central mechanism behind durable patterns of inequality based on social differences.

Direct download: ASR_Celcilia_Ridgeway.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:04am EDT

Americans are convinced that employment stability has declined in recent decades, but previous research on this question has led to mixed conclusions. A key challenge is that trends for men and women are in opposite directions and appear to cancel each other out. We clarify this situation by examining trends in employer tenure by sex, marital status, and parental status. We find that married mothers are behind the increase in women’s job tenure, but men and never-married women have seen declines in tenure. Furthermore, we show that the timing of tenure trends for women parallels periods of increased labor force attachment. Finally, we find that shifts in industry and occupation composition can account for the decline in tenure among men and never-married women before 1996 but not afterward. We situate these diverging trends in two broad shifts in expectations, norms, and behaviors in the labor market: the end-of-work discourse and the revolution in women’s identification with paid work. Our findings support the view that job tenure is declining for all groups, but women’s greater labor force attachment, especially their more continuous employment around childbirth, countered and masked this trend.

Direct download: ASR_Matissa_Hollister.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:56am EDT

This article provides empirical results on patterns of native and immigrant geographic mobility in France. Using longitudinal data, we measure mobility from one French municipality (commune) to another over time and estimate the effect of the initial municipality’s ethnic composition on the probability of moving out. These data allow us to use panel techniques to correct for biases related to selection based on geographic and individual unobservables. Our findings tend to discredit the hypothesis of a “white flight” pattern in residential mobility dynamics in France. Some evidence does show ethnic avoidance mechanisms in natives’ relocating. We also find a strong negative and highly robust effect of co-ethnics’ presence on immigrants’ geographic mobility.

Direct download: ASR_Mirna_Safi.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:38am EDT


Social Currents' inaugural editors, Toni Calasanti and Vincent Roscigno introduce the debut issue and discuss their editorial hopes for the journal going forward.


Social Currents, the official journal of the Southern Sociological Society, is a broad-ranging social science journal that focuses on cutting-edge research from all methodological and theoretical orientations with implications for national and international sociological communities. The uniqueness of Social Currents lies in its format. The front end of every issue is devoted to short, theoretical, agenda-setting contributions and brief, empirical and policy-related pieces. The back end of every issue includes standard journal articles that cover topics within specific subfields of sociology, as well as across the social sciences more broadly.

Read more here.


Posted February 2014. 

Direct download: SCU_Toni_Vinnie.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:17am EDT

Direct download: Sociology_Podcast_No._4_-_Loic_Wacquant.wav
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Author Gabriel Rossman talks Oscar-appeal in his article for the February 2014 issue, Close, But No Cigar: The Bimodal Rewards to Prize-Seeking.

Direct download: ASR_Gabriel_Rossman.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:00am EDT