SAGE Sociology

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
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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
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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