TSP’s Weekly Soc Roundup: April 10, 2015

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As always, we’ve got a little something for everyone… dive in!

Feature:

Can We Race Together? An Autopsy,” by Ellen Berrey. Starbucks’ Race Together program sure seemed to unite people, but not necessarily around the need to abandon social constructions of race.

The Reading List:

Caught in the Culture Wars’ Crossfire,” by Jack Delehanty.

There’s Research on That!

Rights and Rights: Religion at Work,” by Jacqui Frost and Evan Stewart. “Restoring Religious Freedom Acts” affect the rights and freedoms of more than business owners and LGBTQ customers. Frost and Stewart look to scholars Amy Adamczyk and Cassady PittPenny Edgell, Joseph Gerteis, and Douglas Hartmann (hey! We know that guy!); András TilcsikMichael Wallace, Bradley R. E. Wright, and Allen Hyde; and Bradley R. E. Wright, Michael Wallace, John Bailey, and Allen Hyde.

Citings & Sightings:

XXX’d Out: What if Porn Disappeared,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. Sociologist Chauntelle Tibbals, author of the forthcoming book Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society and Adult Entertainmenton why shutting down mainstream porn would harm performers.

Parenting: QT Better than OT,” by Sarah Catherine BillupsMelissa Milkie and Kei Nomaguchi share the findings of their recent study with the Washington Post: “I could literally show you 20 charts, and 19 of them would show no relationship between the amount of parents’ time and children’s outcomes… Nada. Zippo,” says Milkie.

Spitting and Suspicion,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. On the racialization of low-level crimes in a large midwestern city (hey! We know that city!) with Nancy Heitzeg and community consultant William W. Smith IV.

Toking While Black,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Sociologist Pamela E. Oliver on the larger patterns that have resulted in disproportionate drug arrests of African Americans even in states with legalized marijuana.

For Gay Black Men, Negative Stereotypes May Have One Positive Consequence,” by Caty Taborda. When David Pedulla‘s research team sent out resumes for identical job candidates and descriptions of jobs they were perfect for, but manipulated whether their hobbies suggested they were gay, gay black men won out. Why?

An Eye-Clopening Workforce Trend,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. As small-staff shops move to having the same workers open and close the store, wociologist Gerhard Bosch tells the New York Times about the European Union’s required 11-hour rest period between shifts.

Money Talks,” by Jack Delehanty. New apps for payments and money transfers are nice and easy, but the record of your spending might say more about you than you’d like.

Give Methods a Chance Podcast:

Keith N. Hampton on Visual Content Analysis of Urban Space,” with Kyle Green:

“I think the biggest strength is that this is truly the only way to do a longitudinal study of public space. We can hang out in a public space for months, or maybe even a year, but doing that for two or three decades is simply impossible. So, for any large scale, longitudinal study of urban public spaces, I think this is probably the only method that is available to us.”

Daniel Sui on the Methodological Advantages and Limitations of Big Data,” with Sarah Shannon:

“In terms of the applications of big data, it is limited by only your imagination. That is why big data has attracted interest by industry, government agencies all over the world, and, of course, academics and scholarly researchers.”

The Editors’ Desk:

Holy Week, Hoops, and Hoosier State Law,” by Doug Hartmann. Last week, the eyes of the nation were on Indiana for two reasons: the contentious “Restoring Religious Freedom Act” and the NCAA Men’s March Madness basketball tournament. Turns out, that’s not such a surprising cross-over (even if Wal-Mart and NASCAR’s calls for repeal of the law may have been).

Scholars’ Strategy Network:

How Educational Opportunities Can Help Disabled Americans Break out of Low-Wage Occupational Ghettos,” by David Pettinicchio.

Why Historically Black Colleges and Universities Remain Vital in U.S. Higher Education,” by C. Rob Shorette II.

Council on Contemporary Families:

“‘Daddy’s Home!’ Increasing Men’s use of Paternity Leave,” by Ankita Patnaik.

A Few from the Community Pages:

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Holy Week, Hoops, and Hoosier State Law

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What to feature on the home page this week? How about some research on religion and society, since Passover and Easter are coming up? Or perhaps we should do something on LGBTQ discrimination, given the law that just got passed in Indiana (and a similar one Arkansas’s governor unexpectedly rejected). But maybe those stories are better framed sociologically in terms of protests and social movements, given all of the controversy that has surrounded it. Or does this actually require a religious analysis? After all, the legislation was called “The Restoring Religious Freedom Act.” Maybe, instead of playing our usual “Debbie Downer” role, we should just have some fun and find a piece on the Final Four, March Madness, and the whole spectacle of sport in modern society. (Though, truthfully, talking about college basketball as “spectacle” already feels like falling into familiar habits.)

If only we had a piece that brought all this together in one fell swoop. If only we had a piece that could connect the various dots of religion, rights and freedoms, LGBTQ discrimination, public policy and political protest, and mass-mediated, spectacle sports. And, can we get that before the high holidays are over?

Actually, in a way we have such a piece, or at least the building blocks for one. I’m referring to the drama that is being played out right in front of us this very week in Indiana as Governor Mike Pence, under heavy pressure from those calling for the NCAA to pull its headquarters (if not the Final Four itself) out of the state, scrambles to “fix” the legislation his legislature just approved. What a story! Here we see religion and sexuality come right up against each other, how the Constitutional “rights” of some are balanced (or not) against the Constitutional “freedoms” of others. Here we can observe how institutional power plays out against political protest and passionate social movements, as well as try to ferret out where the mass media and corporate interests with such stakes in March’s Madness will come down. Here we can watch as that seemingly fun, apolitical realm of sport suddenly gets pulled into a very high profile, very controversial, very political debate. And it is all happening during one of the most sacred weeks of the year. (I was talking about the religious folks when I first wrote that but I guess I shouldn’t leave the sports fans out–especially since I count myself, for better or worse, as a member of both of these passionate communities.) It’s almost too good to be true–from a sociological, home page-type point of view.

Of course, we don’t really have that story—or should I say that analysis—yet. If you are working on that and have something to share, please send it along. Sociological analysis doesn’t just write itself. In the meantime, let me share two smaller pieces that might help provide some frame and context.

One is a “TROT!” (There’s Research on That!) piece pulling together some great sociological research on the squishiness (that’s our technical term) of laws regarding religious freedom and the rights of refusal–that is, legal attempts to codify which forms of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation are allowed; whose rights and freedoms are inscribed and institutionalized; and the problems with trying to enforce these laws and statutes in actual social life. So, while nearly half of all U.S. states have religious freedom and right of refusal laws on the books, most also include codicils specifying that businesses cannot discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation. How Indiana and Arkansas’s laws will—or will not—open the door for business owners and others to close theirs, refusing service to LGBTQ-identified citizens, should be interesting and the research compiled in this piece should help you understand the complexities and perhaps even anticipate how the drama will unfold.

Second, I’d like to direct you to the white paper Kyle Green and yours truly wrote for the TSP politics volume a little while back: “Sport and Politics: Strange, Secret Bedfellows.” The way in which politics and sport are colliding in Indiana right now is nothing new or novel. Too often when we are watching sports we don’t even see the politics being played out right in front of us. And too many of us are too quick to cynically dismiss struggles in the politic realm as mere games that don’t matter anymore. This stuff matters, no matter what side you are on or which team you are rooting for.

TSP’s Weekly Soc Roundup: March 28, 2015

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As TSP sends its crew off to Kansas City for the Midwest Sociological Science meetings, things keep buzzing along at HQ! Here’s what we’ve been up to:

The Reading List:

Rating Your Corporate Peers,” by Erik Kojola. Amanda Sharkey and Patricia Bromley investigate certification programs’ influence on corporate social and environmental responsibility in the American Sociological Review.

There’s Research on That!

The Politics of Peeing,” by Caty Taborda. Research from Suzanne Kessler, Wendy McKenna, Laurel Westbrook, Kristen Schilt, Betsy LucalSheila Cavanagh, and Tey Meadow paints a picture of gender binaries and public space—and, as SocImages puts it, who goes where.

47 Senators: Cultural Performance and Politics,” by Jack Delehanty. Why an open letter to Iran isn’t really about Iran, with research by Jeffrey C. AlexanderJonathan WyrtzenCraig Calhoun, and Rhys H. Williams.

The Editors’ Desk:

Our Hero,” by Doug Hartmann. The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik is still a champion of sociology.

Give Methods a Chance Podcast:

Dale C. Spencer on Observant Participation and Becoming a Mixed Martial Artist,” with Kyle Green. “When you are an observant participant, you are at stake. You have a vested interest in succeeding. But the reality of the matter is, you are also open, very clearly, to fail in that world.”

Citings & Sightings:

Sigma Alpha Epsilon: A Symptom of a Larger, Older Problem,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. The Washington Post looks to research by UConn sociologist Matthew Hughey on southern fraternity chapters and the problem with revering “tradition”.

Retiring with Your Parents,” by Anne Kaduk. Phyllis Moen tells the New York Times about a new phenomenon: dual-generation retirees.

For Successful Kids, It’s Family Stability Over Family Structure,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. Sociologists Jamie Seabrook and William Avison’s Canadian family research proves provocative.

Scholars Strategy Network:

Why Historically Black Colleges and Universities Remain Vital in U.S. Higher Education,” by C. Rob Shorette II.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Moynihan’s Half Century: Have We Gone to Hell in a Handbasket?” by Philip N. Cohen, Heidi Hartmann, Jeffrey Hayes, and Chandra Childers.

A Few from the Community Pages:

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Our Hero

Adam Gopnik is at it again. This time our favorite writer from The New Yorker uses recent public debates about poverty and foreign policy to talk about that oh-so-sociological concept of norms. Gopnick tells us how norms differ from laws: “a law is something that exacts an announced cost for being broken. A norm is something that is so much a part of the social landscape that you wouldn’t think, really, that anyone could break it.” He tells us why these informal rules matter so much to social life (they constitute the unwritten, daily spirit and practice social order requires and law tries to systematize and impose), how they are enforced (like anything else “by bribes and threats and clear punishments” in actual communities and social contexts), and what can happen when they are eroded or violated (basically, all hell can break loose). The underlying irony in the piece is that those “Republican moralists” whom Gopnick says are breaking some of our most sacred political norms are cut from the same cloth as those who claim normative collapses are at the root of poverty and inequality in the United States. But Gopnik doesn’t really dwell on the politics. Rather, he seems mostly to want to edify us all about the meaning and import of norms in human life. He’s the journalist playing sociology professor, and doing a pretty darn good job of it.

TSP’s Weekly Roundup: March 20, 2015

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Welcome, spring! Here’s some fresh soc to start the season off right.

Office Hours Podcast:

Victor Rios on Policing Black and Latino Boys,” with Sarah Shannon. A TSP-alum, Shannon talks with Rios about his award-winning book Punished.

The Editors’ Desk:

Education & Society,” by Chris Uggen. Welcoming TSP’s newest Community Page, under the direction of Rob Warren.

Midwest Sociological Society Meetings: Register Now!” An update from MSS president Doug Hartmann on the meetings, which will feature Dalton Conley and Lisa Wade.

There’s Research on That!

Joke’s on You: The Italy/ISIS Twitter Exchange,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. With research from Christie Davies, Elise Kramer, Karen Parkhill, and more.

Race and the Classroom,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. With research from Sylvia Hurtado, Josh Packard, Lisa M. Nunn, and more.

How Hate Crimes Count,” by Evan Stewart, Jack Delehanty, Ryan Larson, and Stephen Suh. With research from Ryan King, Jack Glaser, Louise Cainkar, and more.

The Reading List:

Misdemeanors as a Form of Social Control,” by Ryan Larson. New work from Issa Kohler-Hausmann.

Egalitarian Dreams, Unequal Marriages,” by Anne Kaduk. Research from David S. Pedulla and Sarah Thebaud.

Talking Trash: High Status Explanations for Watching Low Brow TV,” by Sarah Catherine BillupsCharles Allan McCoy and Roscoe Scarborough in Poetics.

Give Methods a Chance Podcast:

Matthew Hughey on His Tripartite Methodological Approach to Understanding Film,” with Kyle Green. TSP alum Green interviews UConn’s Hughey.

Citings & Sightings:

Subsidizing the Suburban Commute,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Alexandra Murphy on why social programs must extend to transportation.

Old Dogs, New Tricks,” by Sarah Catherine BillupsChristine Whelan on SMART goal-setting.

“‘Treat Yo’Self’ to Some Sociology,” by Caty Taborda. Comic and actor Aziz Ansari teams up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg. The rest is… a new book!

D8TR Dilemma: Millennials ‘Just Talking’, ‘Hanging Out’,” by Sarah Catherine BillupsKathy Hull on the new terminology of budding relationships.

Unsurprising Stats: Hollywood Lacks Diversity,” by Caty Taborda. UCLA’s Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramon see hope for diversity in new entertainment production platforms like Netflix.

Scholars Strategy Network:

Financial Reforms Alone Cannot Reduce Household Debts for Americans Facing Low Wages and Insecure Jobs,” by Sara M. Bernardo.

The Harm Done by Media Coverage of Political Disputes about Public Health Measures,” by Erika Fowler and Sarah Gollust.

Council on Contemporary Families:

An Analysis of New Census Data on Family Structure, Education, and Income,” by Shannon Cavanagh.

A Few from the Community Pages:

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Education & Society

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My father in law once asked, “How’re things going down at the brain mill?” Well, today I’d respond that these are challenging but exciting times in education. We’ve all read the headlines — powerfully disruptive technologies, troubling race and class disparities, privatization and disinvestment in public schools, historically high tuition and debt loads, school-to-prison disciplinary pipelines, and rapidly changing demographics. While social scientists are doing important research to make sense of these changes, there are few accessible resources for “interested non-experts” who want to keep up with the field. That’s why we’re so happy to welcome our new Education & Society community page to TSP. We’ve been wanting to expand coverage of the “education beat” for years.

An interdisciplinary team of Minnesota-based education researchers writes and curates features like 3 Questions250 Words, and Education in the News. You’ll find interviews with education researchers as well as terrific summaries of new education  research appearing in journals like the Annals, American Journal of Education, Sociology of Education, and Social Psychology Quarterly. We’ll be featuring Education & Society on the TSP main and topical pages as well as in our social media feeds. But anyone curious about life at the brain mill should regularly stop by the community page and Twitter feed.

Midwest Sociological Society Meetings: Register Now!

MSS program coverOnly two days left to get the early-bird registration fee for the upcoming Midwest Sociological Society meetings in Kansas City, March 26-29th. The meetings, for which I serve as Program Chair are titled “Sociology and Its Publics: The Next Generation.” They will feature keynotes from Occidental’s Lisa Wade, founder and author of the wildly popular TSP blog Sociological Images, and NYU’s Dalton Conley, author of You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist and Being Black: Living in the Red.

 

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Lisa Wade

Wade’s presentation, “Doing Pubic Sociology: Notes from a Practitioner,” will take place on 3/26 at 4:30pm.

 

 

Dalton Conley
Dalton Conley

Conley’s presentation, “Out of the (Ivory) Tower and into the Fire: The Promise and Peril of Outward-Facing Sociology,” will take place on 3/28 at 4:30pm.

 

 

For more information and to register for the 78th annual MSS meetings, please visit www.TheMSS.org.

TSP’s Weekly Roundup: Feb. 27, 2015

RU022715February may be a short month, but we’re never short on sociology to share.

Roundtables:

Is the (Tea) Party Over?” by Erik Kojola and Jack Delehanty. Scholars Meghan A. BurkeRuth BraunsteinAndrew Perrin, and Robert Horwitz weigh in on the past, present, and future of a young political movement.

The Editors’ Desk:

Oscar Winners Put Social Issues Center Stage.” A look at some accessible research on four big social issues raised in Academy Award speeches last weekend.

Contexts: New Issue, New Site,” by Doug Hartmann. New editors Philip Cohen and Syed Ali have put out their first issue and launched the revamped contexts.org, hosted by thesocietypages.org.

There’s Research on That!

Extra! Extra! Read All about It, All the Time!” by Sarah Catherine Billups. A look at media saturation with research from Sara Goldrick-RabLauren SchuddeJennie E. Brand, Fabian T. PfefferMatthew CurryYu XieMina DadgarMadeline J. TrimbleChristopher Jepsen, Kenneth Troske, and Paul Coomes.

Who—and How—Community College Helps,” by Anne Kaduk and Amy August. A sociological primer on Obama’s plan to make two years of community college free, with work from Kenneth T. AndrewsNeal CarenRachel BestArnout van de Rijt, Eran Shor, Charles Ward, Steven SkienaKarin Wahl-Jorgensen, and Stephen Ostertag.

Citings & Sightings:

Cheap Gas Has Pricey Consequences,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Guangqing Chi on the way pump prices change driving habits.

God and Good Citizens,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. Penny Edgell on the perceived tie between religion and morality.

Orphaned by Incarceration,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. When Sesame Street adds a character with a parent behind bars, Christopher Wildeman, Sara Wakefield, Kristin Turney, and John Hagan talk to The Nation.

Happily Never After? The Challenges of ‘Marrying Up’,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. Scholar Jessi Streib discusses how cross-class marriages aren’t as common as they seem in the movies, but they certainly can, and do, work out in the real world.

Give Methods a Chance Podcast:

Naomi Sugie on Using Smartphones for Research,” with Sarah Esther Lageson. Naomi Sugie tells GMAC, “Smartphones have their limitations, but they… can expand the realm of empirical investigation for researchers to consider questions and ideas we just weren’t able to think about before…”

Contexts Magazine:

The Winter 2015 issue is brimming with goodies! Some are available on contexts.org, but the full issue is out from behind its paywall for another three weeks at contexts.sagepub.com.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Equal Pay? Not Yet for Mothers,” by Shelley J. Correll.

Scholars Strategy Network:

The Promising Launch of Community-Oriented Charter Schools in New Orleans,” by Brian R. Beabout and Joseph L. Boselovic.

A Few from the Community Pages:

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Contexts: New Issue, New Site

Attention, friends-of-TSP, attention: Philip Cohen and Syed Ali have taken the reins at the ASA’s Contexts magazine, and their first issue—plus site redesign by Todd Van Arsdale and Jon Smajda—has hit the web!

Ali and Cohen have assembled an all-star team of authors and a truly engaging read, cover to cover and link to link. Among the highlights: a suite of articles on gun culture, including Jennifer Dawn Carlson’s feature “Carrying Guns, Contesting Gender” (free, in full, on the web) and Stephen Thrasher,Jean Beaman, and Todd Beer’s pieces on Ferguson; an interview between TSP-alum Hollie Nyseth Brehm and genocide survivor Keith Chhe; Erik Olin Wright‘s take on Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century; and a look at how lesbians can be the leaders in gentrification by Amin Ghaziani, author of There Goes the Gayborhood?

For the first four weeks after each issue of Contexts is published, its entirety is available for free (no paywall!) from SAGE, its publisher. Other selected content is available right on contexts.org. Have a look around. Our illustrious partners are off to a great start, and we couldn’t be happier to have them as part of the TSP family.

Oscar Winners Put Social Issues Center Stage

At last night’s Oscars, social issues were center stage. Below, four of the issues award winners touched on and some starting points for learning more:
  1. Equal Pay for Equal Work: The Council on Contemporary families offers aportfolio of research on 50 years since the Equal Pay Act, and we suggest checking out the pieces on how the wage gap narrows among high earners and how the wage gap is affected by race and ethnicity.
  2. Awareness of Diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s: A 2012 American Sociological Review article by Rachel Kahn Best outlines how awareness campaigns bring more funding to medical research on some conditions, but add to the stigma associated with others.
  3. Voting Rights: The Scholars Strategy Network presents an overview of research on steps forward and back since the Voting Rights Act of 1963.
  4. Mass Incarceration: Sarah Shannon and Chris Uggen offer a starting point with their time-lapse visualizations of changes in American punishment, including the disproportionate incarceration of black men.