e86f6ae5-c9be-47aa-86ad-1cb944d06e2e

The Olympics, Broadway, and genomic biology, oh my! Sociology is everywhere these days, and we are here to report on it. We’ve got some great stuff for you this week, including a brand new Office Hours podcast with Dalton Conley, so be sure to stop by and stay up to date on all things sociological.

In other news, the TSP crew is heading to Seattle for the ASA meetings this weekend. Grad editor Evan Stewart will be live tweeting the panels and plenarys from the TSP Twitter, so for those who can’t make it and even those who can, you can follow us for updates and highlights.

See you in Seattle!

Office Hours:

Dalton Conley on the Use of Genomic Biology in Sociology,” with Caty Taborda-Whitt and Sarah Catherine Billups.

Discoveries:

Work-Family Policies Foiled by Masculinity Norms,” by Allison Nobles. New research finds that men who learn about supportive work-family policies are more likely to prefer progressive work-family arrangements, but only if they think other men share those preferences.

There’s Research on That!:

Poké Panic!,” by Evan Stewart. “Social science research gives us a more measured perspective on the good, the bad, and the Poké.”

Clippings:

Sociology on Broadway,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. An new Broadway play will tell the story of how sociologist Terje Rød-Larsen helped make the historic Oslo peace talks a reality.

The Reproduction of Racial Segregation Online,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. Recent research shows how systemic racial inequality offline gets reproduced in similar ways online.

From Our Partners:

Scholars Strategy Network:

How Weight-Based Discrimination Hurts Many Americans,” by Abigail C. Saguy.

Contexts:

Parental Parties,” by Brittany Dernberger.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Promoting Marriage among Single Mothers: An Ineffective Weapon in the War on Poverty,” by Kristi Williams.

And a Few from the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

RU81216

Happy Friday everyone! We have some great stuff for you this week, including thoughts on Trump’s latest “joke,” how to better promote diversity on college campuses, and the success (or lack thereof) of social media campaigns. See below or stop by the site to catch up on the latest.

Discoveries:

How Black Mothers Struggle to Navigate ‘Thug’ Imagery,” by Amber Joy Powell. “Black mothers of all economic backgrounds use stigma management to try and keep their sons safe, whether it be teaching them to manage their environment, their experiences, or their emotions.”

The Consequences of Costless ‘Likes’,” by Jacqui Frost. New research finds that “liking” a cause on social media is not likely to lead to a donation.

There’s Research on That!:

The Wax and Wane of Body Hair Removal,” by Allison Nobles. To shave or not to shave? Research shows that trends in body hair removal may be shifting, but certain choices continue to be stigmatized.

Clippings:

The Feminization of Bank Robberies,” by Kat Albrecht. Sociologists reflect on the causes of a recent uptick in the number of females committing bank robberies.

Combating CyberCreeps,” by Allison Nobles. Women are starting to speak out about their experiences of harassment on online dating sites and coming up with strategies to curb harassment in the future.

From Our Partners:

Scholars Strategy Network:

How the Ways College Authorities Talk about Diversity Can Undercut Efforts To Fight Racial Inequality,” by Natasha Warikoo.

Council on Contemporary Families:

The Date’s Not Dead,” by Arielle Kuperberg and Joseph E. Padgett.

And a Few from the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

RU8516

Hello again everyone! The TSP crew is gearing up for another year and looking forward to bringing you all the best in sociological writing and research during what it sure to be a roller coaster ride of an election year. Starting this week, we are resuming our weekly roundups to keep you up to date on what is going on around the site. We have a lot to share with you this week, including some pieces from a new issue of Contexts, thoughts from editor Doug Hartmann on the new era of athlete advocacy, and numerous angles on all things election.

The Editors’ Desk:

A New Era of Athlete Awareness and Advocacy,” by Doug Hartmann. “Let there be no doubt: we live in a new era of athlete awareness and advocacy, unlike anything we’ve seen since the late 1960s.”

There’s Research on That!:

How Institutions Trump Personal Politics,” by Evan Stewart. Sociological research sheds light on how it is that Trump won the Republican party nomination without majority support from Republican leaders.

Discoveries:

Is Lead-Laced Blood Thicker than Lead-Laced Water?” by Neeraj Rajasekar. New research finds that the racial gap in childhood blood lead levels rises in wealthy neighborhoods.

Promiscuous Papas,” by Caty Taborda-Whitt. A study of 37 countries reveals that the gender of a father’s firstborn child has a significant influence on that father’s likelihood of being sexually promiscuous later in life.

Clippings:

Politicians Talk about Muslims,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Inflammatory rhetoric surrounding Islam in America can be found on both sides of the political spectrum.

Whitewashed Affirmative Action,” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Despite increased litigation by white women against affirmative action, white women are among affirmative action’s primary beneficiaries.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

As Joel Best points out in his new Contexts piece, “Sociologists don’t just view the glass as half-empty, we mutter that it is probably leaking, too.” So, the new issue of Contexts asks sociologists to tell them some good news for a change. See below for a first look at what they came up with.

What Good News Looks Like,” by Joel Best.

An Economic Gap Slowly Closing,” by Rose Malinowski Weingartner.

A Hand Up for Lower-Income Families,” by Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, and Jennifer Sykes.

Scholars Strategy Network:

Donald Trump and the Dynamics of American Public Opinion about Racial Profiling,” by Deborah Schildkraut.

Why Does Immigration Arouse Deep Feelings and Conflicts?” by John D. Skrentny.

What Does The Supreme Court’s Deadlocked Decision on Deferring Deportations Mean for Immigrant Families?” by Heide Castañeda.

How Catholic Hospitals Restrict Reproductive Health Services,” by Debra Stulberg and Lori Freedman.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Taking the Nostalgia of Trump Supporters Seriously,” by Stephanie Coontz.

Social Policies, Parenthood, and Happiness in 22 Countries,” by Jennifer Glass, Robin Simon, and Matthew Anderson.

What’s really ‘for the family’,” by Virginia Rutter.

And a Few from the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

When even Michael Jordan—that erstwhile poster child of the transcendent, apolitical, super-star athlete—jumps into the fray, you know something is up. I am referring, of course, to the public announcement Jordan made Monday. Saying he could “no longer stay silent,” legendary #23 pledged to donate $1 million each to a charity for community-police relations and to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. Jordan said, “We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers—who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all—are respected and supported.”

Serena Williams after her 2016 Wimbledon win, via bustle.com.
Serena Williams after her 2016 Wimbledon win, via bustle.com.

But Jordan is not the main story here, at least not when viewed in sociological perspective. The main story, the bigger story, is about all of the athletes and sports organizations who have been speaking out about social issues in one way or the other over the course of the past few months: NBA star and American Olympian Carmelo Anthony urging athletes to quit worrying about their endorsement deals and speak out on police killings; tennis player Serena Williams offering support and then a clenched fist salute on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon; the testimonials of Anthony and fellow NBA stars Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade at the ESPYs; WNBA players and teams, led by the Minnesota Lynx, dressing in support of Black Lives Matter and against police shootings; the NBA moving next year’s annual All-Star game out of North Carolina because of that state’s LGBTQ politics. My hometown paper, The Star Tribune, ran a whole page story in last Sunday’s sports section about a host of athletes taking social justice stands or actions in Minnesota alone.

Let there be no doubt: we live in a new era of athlete awareness and advocacy, unlike anything we’ve seen since the late 1960s.

LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012, hoods raised and heads bowed in memory of Trayvon Martin.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012, hoods raised and heads bowed in memory of Trayvon Martin.

I believe the roots of this new movement can be traced to LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates tweeting out a picture of themselves in hoodies, with heads bowed in support of Trayvon Martin, a few years back (see also). Others recall when the entire Phoenix Suns team wore jerseys in solidarity with Latinos who felt threatened by proposed anti-immigration legislation in Arizona. Since then, we’ve seen NBA players like Chris Paul threatening to boycott the NBA All-Star Game unless something done to disavow the blatant racism of then-owner Donald Sterling; St. Louis Rams football players entering the field in the “hands up” gesture of Ferguson protestors; and, perhaps most amazingly, the University of Missouri football team using the threat of a boycott to force the removal of their university’s president.

Hartmann coverAs a scholar who’s done a good bit of work on sport and race and social unrest and social protest over the years—including a book on the 1968 African American athletic protest movement, the activism associated most famously with Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s iconic victory stand demonstration in Mexico City—I’ve been asked a lot of questions and invited to make a lot of presentations on athlete activism over the past year. So, as all of this has been unfolding, I’ve begun work on a paper situating the most recent activism and advocacy in the context of the protests of the Civil Rights era. Below, a few of the points I’m building the paper around:

  1. Athlete Awareness. While public advocacy may be new, social awareness among athletes is not. Athletes, especially elite professional and Olympic athletes, have long been far more educated, intelligent, and aware than prevailing if outdated “dumb-jock” stereotypes allow. The problem, in my view, has not been lack of social awareness and understanding, but barriers to public expression. Anthony has referenced highly lucrative endorsement deals (sometimes offering more renumeration to players than their actual sporting endeavors do), but formal and informal league rules, organizational pressures, and norms about the public roles of athletes all also apply. If there is a new consciousness, in my view, it involves a revitalized understanding of the powerful platform that sports provides athletes who are so inclined to voice their opinions.
  2. Larger Context and Connections. Those athletes who have chosen to use their status as public figures to speak out on social issues are not just speaking off the cuff, nor are they isolated malcontents. These public expressions are deliberate and reflective, responding to social issues such as police brutality and profiling or hateful gender or sexuality policies outside of the world of sport, in concert with other public leaders, and more often than not in close communication with other activists and organizers. Perhaps the best and clearest example of this was at the University of Missouri last fall: football players launched their boycott after working with campus leaders on ways to show their support for student on a hunger strike in protest of racial conditions and treatment on campus.

  3. Black Athletes as Leaders. It almost goes without saying that African American athletes have been the most prominent and powerful figures in this emerging movement (I think all but one of the athletes profiled by the Star Tribune were persons of color)—except that in our perverse “colorblind” culture, we often dodge the opportunity to name race explicitly and talk about it openly. This conversation is important for far more reasons than I can discuss here; it speaks to the unique racial composition of the American sports world, the prominent role of African American athletes in our culture, the centrality of race and racism in American society, and the larger role of sport in the construction, reproduction, and contestation of existing racial hierarchies. At the most basic levels, though, we can consider how sport is both impacted by and a driving force in the larger racial unrest in contemporary America—including the recognition of persistent patterns of racial injustice, emergent movements of resistance and opposition (such as Black Lives Matter), and the countervailing, reactionary movements of containment, denial, and resentment. The role of white athletes will be interesting as today’s movements unfold. At the University of Missouri, white players and coaches supported black activists, and, in the WNBA, star Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen and head coach Cheryl Reeves, both white, lent their support to protesting players. Whether white athletics and athletic leaders continue to step up and assume responsibility remains to be seen. For what it is worth, I’m impressed though not at all surprised the female athletes–including a huge swath of the WBNA–have been such powerful public voices in recent weeks.

Will this advocacy and activism change anything?

Via Time Magazine, the 1968 Olympics victory stand salute.
Via Time Magazine, the 1968 Olympics victory stand salute.

The initial answer is not always encouraging. If my study of the 1968 Olympic protests taught me anything, it is that sport protests usually do not change anyone’s mind or political position. Though we tend to heroize Smith and Carlos these days (as we did with the recently deceased Muhammad Ali), the truth is that these athlete advocates were seen as villains and traitors by mainstream Americans in the 1960s. If anything, their actions inspired a good deal of backlash and resentment, probably hardening some lines of conflict and division. Some of that reaction is already unfolding now.

But this doesn’t mean that nothing at all came of athlete activism in the past or today. One of the things that athletic protests and demonstrations can accomplish is forcing Americans who are or were not otherwise interested in such issues to look up from their otherwise comfortable, apolitical lives and pay attention to the social issues around them. So athletic advocacy can, in fact, play an important role in bringing issues of social injustice—police bias and brutality, policies toward LGBTQ Americans—to broader public visibility and debate. I believe it’s already happening.

And all of the money and attention we lavish on athletes and athletics in this country does put athletes in a unique and, on occasion, powerful material position. Witness the events at the University of Missouri: here, we saw athlete activists and their allies using the power afforded to them by virtue of how the institution and the public rely upon them for their athletic performances to force concrete, organizational change. This was amazing, revealing, and essentially unprecedented.

One final point on social and cultural change. When harkening back to 1968, I constantly find myself remembering and trying to remind others that Smith and Carlos not only didn’t change many people’s minds about race problems and civil rights, they didn’t change American norms about the relationships between sport and social change. If fact, they and their allies (as well as their opponents) were caught within prevailing conceptions of sport as a somewhat special, sacred, or apolitical cultural space. To wit: while some saw athlete activists in the 1960s as heroes or villains, public opinion polls showed that most everybody agreed that sport wasn’t a place for politics or, by extension, protest. The two sides simply disagreed on what counted as protest and politics. Those who sided with Smith and Carlos saw them as standing up for what was good, right, and morally just—in the idealistic way that high-minded sport supporters have long celebrated sport; the majority who were against them saw them and their actions as disruptions outside the social status quo.

What is at stake here is not just whether we agree with the particular causes of athlete activists. What is also at stake is how we understand sport and athletes in society, especially when it comes to issues of racial justice and social change. Will the cultural stereotypes about athletes change? Can we begin to see sport as something more than an arena for entertainment and release, or some kind of apolitical sacred space? If social change is hard, sometimes cultural change is even harder—so on those questions, I remain cautious and curious.

RU071816

Hello, everyone, and happy summer! Things have been heating up at TSP headquarters, and we’re back with a look at the latest in social science research. Our team is also gearing up for ASA 2016 next month, and we hope to see many of you there!

Discoveries

Faith in Fellow Citizens” by Evan Stewart. New research from Daniel Olson and Miao Li finds the relationship between religiosity and trust across nations isn’t quite what we would expect.

White Papers

Striking Goals for Pay and Prize Parity in Sport” Equal pay for equal play? Cheryl Cooky reviews the research on gender inequality in professional sports.

Clippings

Counseling Callbacks Skewed by Race, Class, and Gender” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Heather Kugelmass talks to The Atlantic about inequality in therapy.

Swipe Right for Sociology” by Kat Albrecht. Jessica Carbino talks Tinder and the sociology behind the swipes for Los Angeles Magazine.

The ‘Model Minority’ Is a Harmful Stereotype, Too” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Adia Harvey Wingfield explains how excellence can isolate in The Atlantic.

There’s Research on That!

Affirmative Action, College Admissions, and the Debunked ‘Mismatch’ Hypothesis” by Neeraj Rajasekar. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin, research shows Affirmative Action helps, not hurts, racial minority groups.

The Point of Unicorns” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Remember that prehistoric “Siberian Unicorn” discovered earlier this year? While archeologists comb the fossil record, sociologists are unpacking all our other paranormal beliefs.

From Our Partners:

Scholars Strategy Network

How To Break America’s Logjam on Guns and Gun Violence by Philip J. Cook and Kristin Goss

Challenges and Opportunities for Efforts To Build Academic Ties Between the United States and Mexico by Beverly Barrett

How the Reproductive Justice Movement Benefits Latinas by Rocio Garcia

Why Regulation Is Necessary and Proper for a Well-Functioning Democracy and Market Economy by Michael Lipsky

Stabilization and Equity—Responses to Urban Fiscal Crisis In Flint, Michigan, and Beyond by Ashley E. Nickels

Why the Time Is Right To Expand the National School Lunch Program To Higher Education by Sara Goldrick-Rab, Katharine Broton, and Emily Brunjes Colo

Why There Are No Quick Economic Fixes for Women in Developing Countries by Barbara J. Risman and William J. Scarborough

Contexts

Letta Page and Syed Ali review Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, and Jennifer Sykes explain how the Earned Income Tax Credit is a hand up for lower-income families

Paula England and Eliza Brown ask who has how many sexual partners and whether those patterns vary by sexual orientation

Council on Contemporary Families

A Reversal in Predictors of Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction in Marriage” by Sharon Sassler

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

New Work: How the Childfree Decide” by Braxton Jones

What Helps Women Entrepreneurs Flourish?” by Sarah Thébaud

And a Few From the Community Pages:

ru5616

Hello and happy Friday everyone! We here at TSP HQ are wrapping up another great semester with research on binge drinking, collective mourning, and ex-felon employment. While we will remain hard at work bringing you all the best in sociological research over the summer, we are going to scale back our Roundups to once a month until September. So, you won’t hear from us again until June but be sure to keep stopping by to check out what we are up to in the interim!

There’s Research on That!:

When Fans Cry: Why We Mourn the Loss of Celebrities” by Amber Joy Powell. “People mourn the death of celebrities who hold connections to emotional events; that is, people do not solely grieve the loss of that celebrity, but also the loss of the memories associated with that celebrity.”

Discoveries:

Binge Drinking on the Bubble,” by Ryan Larson. Peer pressure can create a potent pull to binge drink, but only for those with a medium genetic propensity.

Clippings:

Ex-felon Employment,” by Ryan Larson. NPR talks to Devah Pager about how felons fare when they gain employment.

Give Methods a Chance:

Madison Van Oort on Discourse Analysis & Studying Commercials,” with Kyle Green. Kyle and Madison chat about their collaborative work on the ways commercials employ the crisis of masculinity to sell products.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

The Converging Gender Wage Gap, 1980-2012,” by Craig Upright.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Why is Pay for Caregiving Work So Low?” by Paula England.

Scholars Strategy Network:

What We Know – And Need to Learn – About Progress Against Sex Discrimination in Education,” by Celene Reynolds.

And a Few From the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

ru042916

Big things are happening at TSP this week! Our latest volume, Assigned: Life With Gender (edited by Lisa Wade!), is now available along with cutting edge work over on TROT and a new Office Hours podcast to enjoy!

There’s Research on That!:

Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and Sexual Harassment in Law Professions” by Caty Taborda and Sarah Catherine Billups. As HBO premiers “Confirmation,” research traces the legacy of sexual harassment in law firms and beyond.

Cops’ Candid Cameras” by Ryan Larson. Heard about body cams lately? We’ve got the latest looks at whether they work.

Clippings:

Diverse Schools Increase Workplace Diversity” by Amber Joy Powell. A new article in The Atlantic taps research on the lasting effects of racial diversity.

Discoveries:

Smart Whites Less Racist in Principle, Not Necessarily Policy” by Amber Joy Powell. New work from Geoffrey T. Wodtke finds high verbal ability helps people talk the talk, but walking the walk is another story.

Office Hours:

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Drop-Outs vs. Hold-Outs” by Melissa Brown. New research from Nicole M. Deterding shows how structural barriers to higher education don’t kill the dream.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Optimism about families beyond the way we never were” by Braxton Jones. Good news troubles the myth of the “traditional” family.

Scholars Strategy Network:

Why Marijuana Legalization Is Inevitable—And Wise” by Raymond Hogler. Revenue, regulation, and reduced tax burdens? High five!

And a Few from the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

ru42216

It is officially spring here in Minneapolis, but the erratic weather has not rained out our research roundup! Be sure to stop by and check out our latest.

There’s Research on That!:

Spring Cleaning,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. On the sociological significance of dust and who is responsible for getting rid of it.

Rural, White Women Getting Sicker, Dying Quicker,” by Sarah Catherine Billups. How stress and timing of childbirth disproportionately affect poor white women.

Clippings:

Why Pay Inequality is So Stubborn,” by Allison Nobles. “Unfortunately, while a small number of women moving into top positions may help those below, when large numbers of women enter traditionally male-dominated fields, the results are not so rosy. Why? Women’s work simply isn’t valued as highly as men’s.”

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Microscopic Hair Comparison and the Sociology of Science,” by Simon A. Cole and Troy Duster.

Germany Avoids Going Gray,” by Carrie Clarady.

Council on Contemporary Families:

The Way We Still Never Were,” by Stephanie Coontz. Be sure to check out Coontz’s substantially revised and updated edition of The Way We Never Were.

And a Few from the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

 

RU041516

Hello, everyone, and happy NOT Tax Day! With a brief respite from the primary election news cycle this week, we at TSP have been rounding up research on everything from harm reduction to hookup culture. Enjoy!

The Editors’ Desk

Larry Jacobs’ Public Scholarship.” Chris Uggen highlights Jacobs as a model for research and media outreach.

There’s Research on That!:

“Bringing Harm Reduction to America’s Heroin Problem” by Austin Jenkins and Allison Nobles. Research shows how new approaches to drug treatment increase safety and lower stigma.

Clippings:

Corporate Diversity Won’t Solve Income Inequality” by Neeraj Rajasekar. Kevin Leicht explains why in an in The Atlantic.

Tall, Thin, and Raking It In” by Allison Nobles. Amy Blackstone talks to Broadly about pay gaps and personal appearance.

From our Partners:

Scholars Strategy Network:

Can Universities Maintain Diversity without Directly Considering Race in Admissions?” Mark C. Long investigates alternatives to affirmative action and finds a few hazards along the way.

Council on Contemporary Families:

The Date’s Not Dead” by Arielle Kuperberg and Joseph E. Padgett. New research shows hookup culture is popular on college campuses, but so is more traditional dating. Tinder hasn’t trumped it all!

Contexts:

Shallow, Self-Absorbed, and Aggressively Competitive ‘Primates’.” Myra Marx Ferree talks ethnographic methods while reviewing Primates of Park Avenue. 

And a Few from the Community Pages:

Last Week’s Roundup

Sign Up for Inbox Delivery of the Roundup

Our Latest Book

jacobs3After wrapping up a public talk Thursday night, I was delighted to see political scientist Larry Jacobs smiling down from the screen above. On-deck as the next speaker in the series, Professor Jacobs has taught me a great deal about public scholarship. He’s in the news these days for Fed Power: How Finance Wins (with Desmond King), but he’s written powerfully and well on numerous hot-button topics as health care reform (with Theda Skocpol), public deliberation, democratic responsiveness, and US foreign policy.

There are infinite ways to be a public scholar, but Larry Jacobs’ example is instructive. How did he become such a welcome and trusted voice? Well…

(1) He is active and effective in engaging local as well as national and international audiences.

(2) Although he clearly has political views, Larry takes pains to offer a fair-minded perspective.

(3) Similarly, as a center director and leader of our local Scholars Strategy Network chapter, he invites speakers who don’t always agree with him (or with our faculty, or University administration, or each other).

(4) He is a prolific and respected national academic expert in particular specialties, but he has also developed the command and authority to speak to a broad set of public concerns.

(5) After cataloging these attributes, it almost seems redundant to note his boundless energy and willingness to make himself available on short notice.

With regard to the latter point, his advice for me was something of a paradox. When I asked how I could improve in on-camera interviews, he just said, “slow down, don’t rush, and have a nice conversation.”