Category Archives: ASA

UT Austin Sociology at ASA 2018!

The annual meeting of the American Sociological Association is here, with a strong showing from scholars from the UT Austin sociology department. For quick reference, we compiled a list of presentations, talks, discussions, and more featuring our own UT Austin sociologists:

Saturday, August 11th:

8:30 to 10:10am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 406

Emily Paine: “Embodied Disruption: Sorting Out Gender and Nonconformity in the Doctor’s Office”

8:30 to 10:10am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 405

Robert Ressler: “Can Community Nonprofits Help Children from Diverse Families Learn on a National Scale?”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 9

Sharmila Rudrappa: “Reading Stuart Hall in (New) Times of Ultra-Right Nationalism”

10:30 to 11:30am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Salon G

Yiwen Wang: “Family SES and Depression among College Students in China: Mediating Effects of Self-efficacy and Interpersonal Relationships”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 6

Amanda Bosky, Chandra Muller, Eric Grodsky, and John Robert Warren: “Preparing Students for an Advancing Economy: Academic Preparation and Exposure to Bad Occupations at Midlife”

2:30 to 3:30pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Salon C

Jamie O’Quinn: “Responsibilizing Girls’ Sexualities: U.S. Child Marriage, Sexual Violence, and the Neoliberal State”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Salon G 

Bola Sohn, “How Asian Americans Shape their Pathway Frame at the Intersection of Race, Class, and Social Capital”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 2

Ori Swed, John Sibley Butler, and Connor Sheehan: “The Digital Divide and Veterans’ Health: Differences in Self-reported Health by Internet Usage”

4:30 to 6:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 113C

“Shaping and Informing Public Conversations by Sharing Your Scholarship”

UT Panelist: Sharmila Rudrappa


Sunday, August 12th:

8:30 to 9:30am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Salon G

Aida Villanueva and Maria Carolina Mota Pereira Aragao: “Girls’ Domestic and Care Work in Brazil: Educational Consequences and Connections to Mothers’ Work”

8:30 to 10:10am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 104B

Nino Bariola: “The Peruvian Foodie Crowd and the Fields of Ethical Consumption”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 406

Eldad J. Levy: “Heroes, Villains, and Legacies of Modernization: Transforming Mexican Nationalism”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 113C

Michael Garcia: “Marital Strain and Psychological Distress in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples”

12:30 to 1:30pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Salon G

Ari Adut: “Publicity and Common Knowledge”

12:30 to 2:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 405

Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely: “American Life in Debt”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 104A

Koit Hung: “Private Troubles, Public Secrets: The Self-representation in Help-seeking Posts on Facebook”


Monday, August 13th:

8:30 to 10:10am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 404

Elizabeth Cozzolino: “Litigating Relationships: Gendered Conflicts in Child Support Court”

8:30 to 10:10am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 111B

Corinne Reczek, Alexandra Kissling, Lauren Elizabeth Gebhardt-Kram, and Debra Umberson: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Spouses as the ‘Strong Arm’ of Health Care”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 111A

Shannon Malone Gonzalez, Katie Rogers, Jamie O’Quinn, Erika Slaymaker, and Jax J. Gonzalez: “Graduate Student Workshop on Collective Organizing”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 105AB

Mark Hayward: “Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health and Mortality”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 411

Maricarmen Hernandez: “Displaced into Toxicity: An Account of Unequal Toxic Exposures in the Latin American City”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 113C

Daniel Fridman: “Valuation and Meanings of Money in Psychoanalytical Treatment in Argentina”

10:30 to 11:30am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 113A

Marta Ascherio: “Sanctuary Policies and Crime: A County-level Investigation”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 413

Ori Swed, Thomas Crosbie, Jae Kwon, and Bryan Feldscher: “The Corporate War Dead: New Perspectives on the Demographics of American and British Contractors”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 5

Shannon Malone Gonzalez: “Black Girls and the Talk: Policing, Parenting, and the (re)Production of Hegemonic Illegibility”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 414

Christine Williams: “The Deserving Professional: Instability and Inequality in the Oil and Gas Industry”


Tuesday, August 14th:

8:30 to 10:10am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 107AB

Celeste Curington, Jennifer Hickes Lundquist, and Ken-Hou Lin: “Reinforcing the Boundaires of Whiteness and Blackness: The Racial Preferences of Multiracial Online Daters”

8:30 to 10:10am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 105AB

Sarah Brayne: “Technologies of Crime Prediction: Comparing the Reception of Big Data Analytics in Policing and Courts”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 105AB

Rachel Donnelly: “How Precarious Employment in Midlife Shapes Health”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 6

“Is the Sociology of Mental Health at a Crossroads? Some Historical Reflections and Where We Go from Here”

UT Panelists: Debra Umberson, Tetyana Putrovska

10:30am to 12:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 104B

Jennifer Karas Montez, Mark Hayward, and Anna Zajacova: “Educational Disparities in Adult Health: U.S. States as Institutional Actors on the Association”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 414

Pamela Paxton, Nicholas Reith, Melanie Hughes, and Wade Cole: “Entering World Society: A Research Note on Measurement and Statistical Modeling”

10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Salon H

Jess Goldstein-Kral: “Transgender Theory, Queer Measurements, Cisgender Subjects: Discordant Perceptions of Gender and Marital Quality”

Katie Rogers: “Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Colorblind Discourses of Diversity, Professionalism, and Morality in U.S. Legal Cannabis”

12:30 to 2:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 409

Karen Lee: “Multi-Group Attitudes towards Contemporary Black Political Action”

Abigail Weitzman, Leticia Marteleto, and Raquel Coutinho: “Socioeconomic Status and Risk Perceptions: Evidence from the Zika Epidemic in Brazil”

12:30 to 2:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 104B

Andrew Krebs: “Boundary Spanners’ Burden: Exploring the Perspectives of Psychiatric Treatment Providers Working in Texas Jails”

2:30 to 4:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Level 100, 113B

Lilla Pivnick: ” Using Twitter to Investigate Gendered Job-related Stress among U.S. Teachers”

On the Market: Robert W. Ressler

Our “On the Market” series is back, featuring UT-Austin graduate students who are on the job market! This series provides sociology graduate students a space to share their research and exchange advice and insights about the job search process.

This installment features Robert W. Ressler, a 5th-year doctoral candidate and Population Research Center Trainee:

Tell us about your research. What are you working on?

My mixed-methods research focuses on the intersection of community organizations and educational inequalities. With an attention to race/ethnicity and immigration, I investigate questions that ask how nonprofit organizations influence community dynamics and educational opportunities. One project I’m working on uses Twitter data to evaluate the nonprofit sector impact on community well-being.

How did you prepare for the process of going on the market (preparing materials, selecting the right job openings, sending out applications, etc.)?

The department supports a job market group. Each week over the summer professors volunteered their time to meet with ABDs about the different parts of the job market process. It was sort of a demystification process that answered questions like “What is a good research statement,” helped us to write our materials in a timely manner, and to get feedback on things before using them.

How do you stay organized when it comes to the job market?

For me this was not a huge deal. I structure my productivity around a normal work day, so that requires keeping up with deadlines, meetings, and concerted times of productivity. I just substituted the amount of time for about one project and dedicated it to the job market. Practically this means that I work on market stuff as much as I need to on Mondays to prep to apply to a few jobs a day throughout the week leading up to major deadlines (September 15th, September 30th, October 15th, etc.). I also have a spreadsheet with job requirements for myself and information that my letter writers requested. I’ve been updating this frequently along the same deadline schedule, and because new jobs are posted throughout the fall.

What is it like being on the market at ASA? What are the keys to success?

The job market is one of the only times in my life I find myself openly saying something like this, but it’s a miserable experience. Especially at ASA. You can get so bogged down by the anxiety and tension that is palpable every time you’re in a situation to talk about your research. So, the best thing to do is to practice your elevator pitch (something we did in the workgroup and Mary Rose helped us with—thanks Mary!), and just remember to breathe. When you tell people you’re on the market they will genuinely listen to what you have to say, showing a level of interest in your work that you might not have experienced from people before. Everybody in my experience was very encouraging and that sustained my enthusiasm for pursuing a career in this discipline.

What is the highlight experience of your research during your time at UT?

My mentors have been phenomenal. I have been lucky to work with both Rob Crosnoe and Pam Paxton and that has led to innumerable learning experiences. In terms of actual research, just the other week a woman I was recruiting into my dissertation study looked me in the eyes and sincerely thanked me for the work I was doing because it was important to her; that was pretty great.

What is the highlight experience of your teaching during your time at UT?

I’ve really enjoyed all of the opportunities the college provides for learning about the teaching process. I TA’d for one semester so I have great memories of those classes, but the highlight would have to be things like the “difficult dialogues” symposium I attended. Not only can these things spruce up the teaching experience section of your C.V., but they provide real opportunities to develop your teaching skills, and ways to talk about those skills.

How are you practicing self-care?

I go to the gym, schedule a mental health visit once a year as a check-in, ride my bike into work, eat a vegetarian diet, sleep in when I’m tired, attend events in the department, and try not to work on the weekends. We really do not make enough money over these five to eight years of graduate school to overwork ourselves. You have to be productive, but you’re going to have to be productive through tenure, and even later on when you’re busy with the added pressure of departmental business, so it’s okay to purposefully keep some “you” time in your schedule.

What is your biggest piece(s) of advice for those going on the market next year or in the next few years?

Seriously evaluate where you are in your timeline and make a decision based on what you think you could be successful doing. Take a look at your C.V.: do you have a first authored publication? A co-authored one? It’s pretty much a requirement to have something published. The next thing is to think about whether you have articles under review or articles that have an R&R. These demonstrate the ability to remain productive for the near future. You also should consider how far along you are on your dissertation. Can you finish it in a year? You won’t have a lot of time to work on it, because you’ll be busy, so make sure you’re confident in your ability to finish it if you get a job. If you think you’re competitive, go for it! It’s just another part of the game. Once you’ve made the decision, take on major hurdles as they arrive, and try not to spend too much time (or emotional energy) dedicated to job market stuff.

Graduate Student Minority Liaison Initiative Celebrates Students of Color

With generous support from the College of Liberal Arts, the Depart of Sociology piloted a new program aimed at diversity and inclusion.

This program, the Student Minority Liaison initiative, is an effort led by Carmen Gutierrez, Shannon Malone, and Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez (our faculty Minority Liaison), with support from Rob Crosnoe, Becky Pettit, Christine Williams, and with assistance from Evelyn Porter and Julie Kniseley.

The Student Minority Liaison initiative is designed to enhance inclusion by making diversity and the experiences of underrepresented minorities a priority in all areas of the department.

As part of the Student Minority Liaison initiative, we launched a Brown Bag Series focused on underrepresented minority scholars and their research. We kicked off this Brown Bag Series by honoring four of our department’s graduate students who are all making successful transitions into academic jobs in the fall of 2017. These scholars include Anima Adjepong, Shantel Buggs, Hyung Jeong Ha, and Cristian Paredes.

The Brown Bag presentation consisted of each one of these students sharing their experiences on the academic job market and offering their advice for other students navigating this process in the future. Below summarizes each person’s unique background, academic position, experience on the job market, and advice to fellow graduate students.

ANIMA ADJEPONG, PhD (@amankrado)

Anima is joining the faculty in the Sociology Department at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. During graduate school, Anima conducted research on a range of social issues related to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and migration. Anima’s dissertation is a study of a black immigrant community, their political and cultural formations, and how they relate to and shape the discourse in both the United States and their African country of origin.

While conducting this work and navigating the academic job market, Anima decided not to conform to the expectations of others, but instead marched to the beat of her own drum. This decision was also strategic to Anima in that the process of staying true to herself ensured the work she could expect to take on as a tenure-track professor would be consistent with the work she was committed to conducting.

This way of navigating the academic job market also ensured Anima with a great deal of self care. By checking in with herself and her well-being throughout the dissertation-writing process, Anima was able to uphold both the commitment she made to her work and the style of working that best suited her strengths. This strategy helped her fulfill her basic needs, including finding joy throughout a year filled with job applications and dissertation writing.

Anima also worked with a small group of people on the academic job market who helped her in multiple ways. This group helped members organize deadlines to prepare materials for the job market. People in the group provided feedback for one another, offered accountability, and shared announcements for jobs. Working in this collective space also provided Anima with important emotional support during a time filled with uncertainty and anxiety.

SHANTEL BUGGS, PhD (@sgbuggs)

Shantel is joining the faculty at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida with an appointment in the Department of Sociology as well as an affiliated appointment in Program in African American Studies. Throughout graduate school, Shantel’s research has centered on the ways race and ethnicity and gender and sexuality shape family and romantic relationships. Shantel’s dissertation investigated how mixed-race women navigate race as well as form and maintain relationships in the context of online dating.

Through the process of applying for academic jobs, Shantel juggled a number of responsibilities given her involvement in external teaching positions, service work, and planning committees. Because of her multiple commitments, Shantel emphasized the ways she was kind to herself by being realistic with her work—sometimes extending deadlines associated with getting grades out for students needed throughout the semester.

Despite her heavy workload, Shantel applied for academic positions widely and broadly. Shantel emphasized the way this practice reflects a common fear among graduate students of not getting an academic job. If this is a decision made my other graduate students, Shantel recommends making strategic choices along the way. For example, Shantel advises to be sure to make double use of the work required from both the job market and the dissertation. Publishing should represent work from your dissertation. A job talk should serve as an outline for your next dissertation chapter.

Shantel also recommends that graduate students use deadlines for conferences or other events to push work required for the job market and the completion of the dissertation. Doing so helps you make progress in your daily tasks associated with graduate student life during the process of getting a job.


Hyung Jeong will join the Sociology Department at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana as a postdoctoral research fellow through the Global Religion Research Initiative—a program designed to advance social science research on religions around the world. Hyung Jeong’s dissertation studied ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, and the way that these personal features interact within political and geographical boundaries to shape minority identities. Her dissertation draws on ethnographic work conducted in Cairo, Egypt.

As an international student from Korea studying issues pertaining to the Middle East, Hyung Jeong anticipated others asking her to explain why she was studying a place she was not from—a question not generally imposed on white majority students.

This type of additional work disproportionately experienced by people of color reflects the nature of advice Hyung Jeong provided in preparing for the job market. Hyung Jeong emphasized that although there are many aspects of the job market outside of our personal control, there are still many features of it that we can control. For example, Hyung Jeong encourages graduate students to get in touch with their dissertation chair, dissertation committee members, and other mentors to discuss the types of jobs they want. In doing so, graduate students inform these individuals on the best ways they can support us in our experiences on the academic job market.

Graduate students should give information to their committee members as early as possible—sometime during the semester before sending out job applications—to ensure they receive the support needed throughout the tiresome process of navigating the job market. That way, professors can help you focus on the strengths related to your work that best fit with the skills needed for your job after graduate school, whether you want to work as a professor at a research or a teaching institute.


Cristian is joining the faculty in the Sociology Department at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. Cristian’s work is shaped by his personal experiences living in the United States after growing up in Lima, Peru. During graduate school, Cristian’s investigated the influence of immigration on several social dynamics in U.S. cities.

Cristian encouraged students to also take on work that fit their personal experiences. This strategy helped Cristian explain the motivation for his research and also demonstrate his unique position in conducting this work. Cristian mentioned, however, that the process of choosing your work should also reflect the needs of the job market.

For example, Christian recommended that graduate students find research topics suitable for the academic job market by adjusting their interests to correspond with the social relevance of the field. In this way, graduate students should consider balancing a topic that is realistic to their skills and ability, but also attractive to the market.

In terms of long-term preparation for the job market, graduate students should consider what jobs are announced and what areas of interest in are often hiring for positions. Graduate students often enter the PhD program with set ideas of the work they expect to take on, but Christian advises that it is important to be open and flexible to the needs of the job market. Graduate students should consider tailoring their work to best situate themselves as competitive applicants, even if it means making temporary changes to their anticipated research agenda. Landing a job allows people to expand their work in their own personalized ways that are first constrained by the job market.

Christian also encouraged graduate students to think about alternative career paths. The job market and the process of landing an academic position involves a great deal of circumstances that are outside of our control. We also must accept that there are simply not enough tenure-track positions for every graduate student. Some students earning their PhD inevitably work outside of academia.

Reflections on ASA – Seattle and Some (Sage) Advice

Fem(me) Sem in Capitol Hill during ASA 2016 (Seattle, WA)
UT Austin grad students enjoy some award-winning Seattle clam chowder during ASA 2016.

Now that we’ve had time to come down from the hustle and bustle of a busy ASA in Seattle, WA, UTAustinSOC checked in with some graduate students on advice they have for first-timers to make the most of any conferences they attend, especially during their first time at ASA:

I will say know your personality. Recognize that ASA can be a lot all at once and build in breaks if you need it. Don’t be overwhelmed by the fear of missing out and be strategic about the sessions you attend while also remaining open to pop into a session that does not immediately seem relevant. Remember to take walks if you can and try to spend a few hours each day away from the hustle and bustle of it all. Check out the city the conference is in. You did not hustle your way there to only look at the four walls of the convention center.

Anima Adjepong

Attend both the graduate student receptions and the section receptions. These tend to be a much more laid back way to meet people (Twitter is also great for this, by the way). New graduate student friends can be a great way to meet faculty at other institutions – somebody is probably advised by the person you’re dying to meet and your new friend(s) can make that introduction less awkward. This is a good way to land invitations to co-organize panels at future ASAs or other conferences (such as SWS), and just generally get the word out about you and your work/interests.  Also, take time to go eat some good food at a local spot. Make sure to enjoy yourself!

Shantel G. Buggs

So far, my approach to the overwhelming experience of ASA is to step out of my comfort zone a bit more every year that I attend ASA. Although networking with students and faculty from other universities is of vital importance, it’s also one of the most intimidating aspects of any conference (in my opinion). A good first step is to join a few sections and attend their receptions and/or business meetings. More good advice about conferencing can be found in this blog post from The Professor Is In.

Rachel Donnelly

I think for your first time, the best thing that you could do is observe talks in your interest area and see what people are currently working on. Network within those talks. That’s the best way to maximize your involvement in your first year, unless you’re also presenting a paper. The content of those presentations is new and unpublished, so it’s a good way to see what’s going on in your area. The big events can be intimidating if you don’t have a presence or a reputation already in the field. The smaller talks are less intimidating and more relevant to what you’re doing anyway.

Shannon Malone

Go to the panels from your favorite authors and sociologists, whose papers you’ve read and really liked. Meet graduate students who are working in the same area you’re working in and talk to them about ideas. Try to talk to one professor you really like to discuss your ideas and what you’re working on.

Ruijie Peng

Before my first ASA, I was so worried I would feel paralyzed and intimidated by other scholars, but the opposite happened. Learning what other gender scholars are up to gave me inspiration and helped me think creatively about my own research. Don’t feel pressured to attend sessions. Go only to the ones you find interesting, even if they’re out of your wheelhouse. Also, make friends with graduate students outside of UT, especially those with similar research interests. You can get a real sense of validation and camaraderie from grad students who are in the same boat, and I learned a lot from chatting with them about my ideas. Section receptions and happy hours can be exhausting, but I also found them rejuvenating (and in some ways, energizing) after a tough first year.

Katie Rogers

ASA, especially your first couple times, can be quite overwhelming. I always suggest only going to two panels a day in order to be selective (and hopefully go to the best ones) and to not have a brain melt. Aside from panels, you should try to go to other receptions and caucus events in order to connect with other graduate students (who make ASA a blast) and to start building connections with faculty members involved in those sections. Going to a section business meeting is a great way to start integrating into a sub-discipline or two as well!

Brandon Andrew Robinson

Look up what time the section event you want to be a part of is. The first year I went, I went the day that Sociology of Education was not meeting for anything, and I missed out on all of my networking opportunities. Also, get an Airbnb instead of a hotel room (it’s cheaper and you can get a fridge). A lot of sections host dinners. They can be expensive and may not have an option you want, but they’re also great socializing opportunities.

Robert Ressler

It wasn’t as intimidating as I was expecting it would be. We have a really good program here at UT, and you’ll be prepared if you’re presenting. So don’t be nervous! I also have advice based upon what I didn’t do and wish I would have done. I wish I would have downloaded the app sooner and looked through the schedule and organized the sessions that were of interest to me. I didn’t download the app until I had already gotten to the conference, and I didn’t realize until after the fact that I had missed out on some things that I really wished I would have attended.

Kris Velasco

UT-Austin Sociology at #ASA16 in Seattle


With papers that engage the theme of “Rethinking Social Movements” in a variety of ways, UT-Austin Sociology will be a huge presence in Seattle this year! Find more presentations and events of interest in the ASA Program here.

Elizabeth Ackert, Robert Wayne Ressler, Arya Ansari, Lilla Pivnick, Robert Crosnoe

August 23rd, 10:30 – 11:30am

Mexican-origin Participation in Pre-kindergarten Care and Education: The Role of Family Necessity

Children of Mexican origin exhibit gaps in academic performance with their non-Latino peers throughout the educational pipeline, with disparities emerging even prior to kindergarten. Although early formal childcare and education hold great promise in attenuating these gaps, children of Mexican origin are less likely to attend pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs than their peers. This study uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to evaluate selection into formal early childcare and education among 4 year-old children from Mexican-origin, white, and black households. We evaluate how factors related to “family necessity,” including children’s need for educational enrichment and parents’ need for childcare, impact the selection of children of Mexican origin into non-parental care and formal early care and education. Results indicate that factors related to both child and parental necessity are associated with selection into non-parental care and formal care and education for children of Mexican origin, as well as for their peers. Among children in Mexican-origin, white, and black households, the likelihood of enrolling in pre-K is higher among children that have high mental skills, among children with working mothers, and among children in households where a father is absent. White and black children that have a higher number of siblings are less likely to attend pre-K, but number of siblings is not strongly related to pre-K attendance for Mexican-origin children. Even though family necessity is predictive of pre-K attendance for children of Mexican origin, these households have lower observed levels of family necessity than white households.

Anima Adjepong

August 20th, 10:30am – 12:10pm

All Lives Matter? On the Racial Politics of Black African Immigrants to the United States

The goal of this paper is to examine the extent to which tension exists between these groups from the perspective of one community of West African immigrants in Houston, Texas. I use the ongoing protests and discourses of Black Lives Matter as a way of delving into the antipathies and sympathies of this black immigrant community whit regard to the Black Lives Matter movement and as black (African) Americans more generally. This research offers a way to understand how a community of black African immigrants aligns with or opposes dominant black American politics and how they in turn articulate the particularities of their black identities. As such, this paper offers important insights into the diversity of blackness and provides a better understanding of the perceived tensions between black Americans and black Africans.

Jennifer March Augustine, Kate C. Prickett, Rachel Tolbert Kimbro

August 20th, 10:30am – 12:10pm

Health-related Parenting among U.S. Families and Young Children’s Physical Health

Parenting is comprised of a constellation of behaviors, yet investigations of the link between parenting and children’s health typically focus on singular behaviors. Thus, the patterns of health-related parenting among U.S. families, associations between these patterns and young children’s physical health, and prevalence of such patterns among different socioeconomic groups remain unknown. Applying latent class analysis to the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (n=8,550), we find six patterns of parenting that oftentimes include advantageous and adverse behaviors. Children with high levels of screen time had the worst overall health; children in the class characterized by highest consumptions of food and amounts of outdoor play had highest odds of obesity. Children of less educated mothers and Black children were more likely to belong to both classes than the class associated with the best child health, but membership was not distinguished by Hispanicity and only by family income for the latter class.

Jennifer March Augustine, Julie Skalamera Olson, Robert Crosnoe

August 23rd, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Concentrated Poverty in U.S. Schools and Adolescents’ Risk of Being Overweight

The growing concentration of students from low-income families in schools does not only have consequences for academic disparities and educational inequality. Attending a high-poverty school may also negatively affect students’ physical health. Building on the school effects literature and drawing on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health; n = 18,924), we used multi-level modeling techniques to reveal that the concentration of students from low-income families in U.S. secondary schools was associated with students’ individual likelihood of being overweight, net of their own background characteristics and many other factors selecting them into their schools. The primary mediator of this association was the concentration of other overweight students in the school, a mediational pathway that partly reflected unhealthy dieting norms in schools with many overweight students but was not related to the prevalence of obesogenic behaviors, school norms around body size, and social stigma around body size in those schools.

Kate Henley Averett

August 21st, 8:30am – 10:10 am

Constructing the Homeschooled Child: Childhood Gender and Sexuality in the Homeschooling Movement(s)

Though it is commonly understood as a practice restricted to fundamentalist Christians, homeschooling in the United States has, throughout its history, been a container for many differing ideological stances and (non-)religious groups. This paper looks at the question of how childhood is constructed in two different arms of the larger homeschooling movement: conservative Christian homeschooling, and those that use the progressive practice of unschooling, with specific attention to how gender and sexuality are at play in discursively constructing “the homeschooled child.” Using data from field notes collected at five different homeschooling conferences and conventions in Texas from 2013-2015, the author argues that “the homeschooling community,” “the homeschooling family,” and “the homeschooled child” are constructed very differently by these two groups. For religious conservatives, children are seen as innocent and in need of protection from a sexually liberal culture, whereas for progressive unschoolers, children are seen as autonomous beings who should be allowed to explore their own place in a gendered and sexual world. These differing constructions of childhood lead to very different parenting styles, with implications for children’s development of their own bodily autonomy.

Anna Veronica Banchik

August 20th, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Household Labor, Business Inheritance, and Women’s Self-employment in Zacatecas, Mexico

Drawing on interviews with 31 self-employed women in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico, this paper illustrates the processes by which daughters are transferred skills, resources, and economic activities from their mothers. My research shows that daughters enter into self-employment through a process I refer to as “parallel inheritance” whereby daughters participate in their mothers’ businesses from a young age as part of their gendered household responsibilities. Given limited formal employment opportunities, daughters take on their mothers’ businesses despite their advanced educational credentials. I adopt anthropologist Deniz Kandiyoti’s (1988) concept of the “patriarchal bargain” to highlight the reliance of mothers on their daughters’ labor in their households and businesses. Mothers encourage their daughters to continue and increase their participation in “family businesses” by reminding them of their responsibilities as “good daughters” and by invoking the importance of family duty and legacy. In turn, daughters express feelings of ambivalence and burden towards the enterprises they have inherited. This paper builds on feminist and economic sociological literatures by shedding light on the ways by which women’s self-employed practices shape and are shaped by their negotiations with household members.

Laura Barberena, Phillip Vargas, Michael P. Young

August 23rd, 8:30 – 9:30am

“Bad DREAMers” and the Radicalization of the U.S. Immigrant Rights Movement

Liberal elites conceived of DREAMers as the “innocents” of the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. All collective identities are in some sense imagined, but the DREAMers were quite literally conjured up by a piece of proposed legislation—the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or DREAM ACT. This paper is about the radical undocumented youth who struggled for recognition and autonomy within a movement built on their reification as dreamers of the American dream. Drawing on over 50 interviews, years of participatory observation, and the video archives of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, this paper follows key actors and their collective actions from 2009 to the present. From their perspective and through their escalating protests, we sketch how the erstwhile “innocents” of the movement became its “bad-ass” radicals. We conclude with a discussion of the social forces driving social movement radicalization.

Amanda Bosky

August 23rd, 10:30am – 11:30am

Skills in Adolescence, Occupation, and Disability at Midlife

With life expectancy increasing and access to retirement benefits decreasing, the ability to participate in the labor force is vital in today’s society. At midlife, individuals are still of working age and may be particularly vulnerable to the financial and psychosocial stresses of labor force detachment. Using the newest wave of High School and Beyond (1980), this study investigates how skills that individuals possess in adolescence relate to being out of the labor force due to disability at midlife. Results indicate that math skills and an internal locus of control in adolescence are protective against being out of the labor force due to disability at midlife. These associations are partially explained by educational and occupational advantages across the life course, but skills in adolescence remain independently protective of labor force participation at midlife. This study highlights the importance of viewing later-life outcomes as a consequence of earlier experiences and taking a longer view of the life course origins of adult outcomes.

Amanda Bosky and John Robert Warren

August 23rd, 10:30 – 11:30am

Skills in Adolescence, Occupation, and Disability at Midlife

With life expectancy increasing and access to retirement benefits decreasing, the ability to participate in the labor force is vital in today’s society. At midlife, individuals are still of working age and may be particularly vulnerable to the financial and psychosocial stresses of labor force detachment. Using the newest wave of High School and Beyond (1980), this study investigates how skills that individuals possess in adolescence relate to being out of the labor force due to disability at midlife. Results indicate that math skills and an internal locus of control in adolescence are protective against being out of the labor force due to disability at midlife. These associations are partially explained by educational and occupational advantages across the life course, but skills in adolescence remain independently protective of labor force participation at midlife. This study highlights the importance of viewing later-life outcomes as a consequence of earlier experiences and taking a longer view of the life course origins of adult outcomes.

Sarah Brayne

August 21st, 10:30am – 12:10pm

Police Conflict Over the Use of Big Data

In this paper, I draw on fieldwork within a large urban police department to understand how the police themselves respond to the adoption of “big data” analytics. Despite media and social scientific portrayals of law enforcement as an organization with a voracious appetite for data-driven surveillance, I suggest the adoption of advanced analytics and new surveillant technologies is actually frequently contested within law enforcement, ultimately serving to entrench old divisions and create new distinctions within the department. I find levels of enthusiasm for big data varies both by position in the organizational hierarchy and by function in the department. I distinguish between six related, but analytically distinct grievances raised by those opposed to the adoption of data-driven practices within the department. First, police object to increases in their own surveillance associated with new technologies. Second, the emphasis placed on data-driven practices devalues officers’ local, experiential knowledge in favor of abstracted data. Third, the inscrutability of algorithms impedes officer buy-in to predictive analytics. Fourth, the adoption of big data analytics exacerbates friction between pre-existing divisions in the Department including local authorities/federal agencies, sworn officers/civilian employees, managers/street-level workers, and rookies/veterans. Fifth, interviewees in law enforcement raised privacy concerns about large-scale changes in surveillance practices. Finally, individuals raised questions about the efficacy or unanticipated consequences of specific analytic technologies. This research sheds light on new dimensions of surveillance in the age of big data and changes the way we understand data-driven policing, quantification, organizational practice, and inequality.

Shantel Gabrieal Buggs

August 23rd, 10:30am – 12:10pm

Exploring the Influence of Black Lives Matter on Mixed-Race Women’s Discourses of Race and Racism

 This paper explores the discourses and logics that self-identified multiracial and multiethnic women online daters in Texas utilize to explain their own responses to social justice movements around race and racism in the United States. These women utilize stances on the issues that movements such as Black Lives Matter address as a means articulating their own political views, as well as to vet potential dating partners. The language around, and produced by, contemporary social movements in terms of mainstream media coverage and social media campaigns influence the ways in which these women discuss race, gender, and racism. The goal of this paper is to shed light on how mixed-race women are navigating racial politics on an interpersonal level during a time where U.S. media and popular culture is especially focused on issues of racism and state-sanctioned violence.

Ben Carrington

August 21st, 12:30 – 2:10pm

The Two Cultures of Culture: Stuart Hall’s missing legacy from American cultural sociology

On February 10th 2014, Stuart Hall passed away. Hall was one of the world’s leading cultural theorists. But Hall’s groundbreaking sociological approach remains directly at odds with what passes for sociological inquiry as practiced by many American sociologists. Taking its title from C.P. Snow’s famous lecture on the “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution”, this paper, (i) traces the “two cultures” of sociological work on culture, the British Cultural Studies and American sociology of culture traditions, exploring how the object of inquiry has come to be framed in such diametrically opposed ways by each, (ii) I specifically compare and contrast the approaches and distinctive contributions of Hall and Patterson, using Patterson’s recent edited collection “Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth” and Hall’s earlier texts “Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain” and “Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order” to help highlight and exemplify the different ways of understanding culture, identity, meaning and the role of the state, found within each author’s framework and (iii) I challenge recent arguments concerning the value of a “transdisciplinary” approach to the study of culture that some have argued is a “new” way forward for the study of culture. Instead, I suggest that a less myopic (and ultimately more meaningful and informed) American sociology of culture is possible if the five decades worth of intellectual contributions from sociologists such as Hall, and others, are acknowledged and taken more seriously by American sociology of culture scholars.

Jamie M. Carroll and Eric Grodsky

August 23rd, 12:30 – 2:10pm

Tracking Health Inequalities in Midlife: The Role of Curriculum Stratification

Although the link between education and health outcomes is well established, how variation in educational experiences shapes health across the life course is less often studied. This paper examines how on aspect of the process of schooling, high school curriculum stratification, is related to self-reported health status and physical functioning at midlife. We combine literatures on the link between educational attainment and health and on curriculum stratification to understand if curriculum stratification is related to long-term health outcomes, and if this association operates through skill development, postsecondary attendance and attainment and occupational characteristics. We find that, controlling on background, adolescent health and school-level characteristics, curriculum stratification is associated with health at midlife. Specifically, taking higher levels of math increases self-reported health and physical functioning at midlife. This association partially operates through the pathways into adulthood, through experiences in college and the labor force, but an independent association between curriculum stratification and self-reported health remains when considering these mechanisms. Our findings have implications for both educational policy and education and health research.

Shih-Yi Chao

August 22nd, 10:30 – 11:30am

Working Conditions and Marital Dissolution

The vast demographic changes in families and workplace in the U.S. accompany with increasing demands of work and family involvement. Understanding the relationship between work and family can reveal how the new economy competes and negotiates with family, and what people pay to sustain the system. Applying JD-R model to NLSY79 with discrete-time hazard model, this study discusses how specific dimensions of working conditions influence the risk of divorce. The results show a full time job lower men’s divorce risk they encounter. In contrast, longer working hours influence women’s marital stability. Women who work at rotated shift suffer from higher risk of divorce than those at fixed shift. Personal income has no significant influence on men’s divorce risk, while women’s personal income is positively related to the risk of divorce. In addition, fringe benefits cannot effectively predict the risk of divorce for men, whereas paid sick days reduce women’s divorce risk, and health insurance facilitates women’s willing to get divorced. In summary, the influence of working conditions on divorce depends on the image of conventional gender division of labor in household. Although women’s employment keep going up, and gender equality spread widely, conventional breadwinner-homemaker family seems not be challenged for couples of NLSY79 cohort, as well as women’s disadvantages in the labor market, which forces women to stay in marriage.

Wenhong Chen, Seokho Lee, Kang Hui Baek

August 23rd, 8:30 – 9:30am

Hybrid: Organizational Membership and Protest Participation in the Age of Social Media and Financial Hardship

Do formal brick-and-mortar civic groups remain relevant as social media enable connective action of self-motivated, self-joining individuals? Adding to the relatively small number of studies that draw on national representative survey data, this research offers one of the first systematic analyses of hybrid organizational membership and protest participation. Results underscore that hybrid organizational membership matters most to protest participation, while neither membership in traditional civic groups nor membership in social-media-only groups is enough. Mobilization exposure, especially via emails, text messages, and SNSs, is significantly associated with protest participation. Grievances, rather than individual resources, are significantly related to protest participation in the U.S. with growing social inequalities. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Wenhong Chen, Fangjing Tu, Pei Zheng

August 23rd, 2:30 – 3:30pm

When Risk Society Meets a Transnational Networked Public Sphere: An Analysis of PM2.5 Twitter Network

Drawing on Twitter data and publicly accessible government document and media reports, this research integrates Beck’s risk society theory with digital media theories to examine the mediated process of risk definition and assessment of PM2.5 (particulate matters with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers) in a networked public sphere. Network and content analysis of a PM2.5 Twitter network shows that elite – political or professional – remained the most powerful producers of risk definition. Media played a key role yet faced challenges from diverse actors who participated in information dissemination. Laypersons, while peripheral, actively interacted with elite and media. The blurring geographic boundary in the PM2.5 Twitter network revealed an emerging transnational public sphere, which, however, remained segregated by language. This research advances a layered understanding of contingent, paradoxical impact of media in a risk society.

Thatcher Combs

August 20th, 10:30am — 12:10pm
Transcending the Binary: Gay Men and Their Relationships with Transgender Men
Since the fight for marriage equality has now come to a close, many have wondered how the LGBT movement will move forward. Increasingly, the movement’s attention is turning to addressing the needs of the transgender community, which have been historically relegated to an afterthought. As transgender people and the transgender movement continue to gain national attention investigating how “gender normals” view transgender people as friends and possible sexual partners is important. I conducted in-depth interviews with gay men in San Francisco and asked: 1) Do gay cisgender men view transgender men as friends and as potential sexual partners? 2) How do gay men manage their identity as gay men when they have been with transgender men in romantic relationships or in sexual encounters? I focus on how gay cisgender men’s gender identity and sexual orientation influence their choice of friends and lovers. Thus, this project examines how gay men’s discourses on gender and sexuality promote the continued exclusion of transgender men from personal and political networks. I argue that examining how gay cisgender men view transgender men illuminates some of the barriers that can affect the LGBT movement’s future trajectory. Furthermore, this study provides a new lens on the ways in which members of the LGBT community intermingle socially and sexually with each other. In doing so, this study highlights the ways in which gender, sex, and sexuality are inherently intertwined and inseparable.

Elizabeth Cozzolino

August 20th, 8:30 – 9:30am

Deadbeat Dads or Debtor’s Prison? Jailing for Child Support Nonpayment

On April 7, 2015 in North Charleston, S.C., Walter Scott was shot eight times in the back as he fled from a routine traffic stop. According to an attorney for the family, Mr. Scott fled because he owed child support arrears and did not want these arrears to send him back to jail (Schmidt & Apuzzo 2015). This incident points to the understudied connection between child support enforcement and the criminal justice system. Putting non-custodial parents in jail for failure to pay child support is one of the many tools of child support enforcement that the state possesses. But little is known about how frequently this tactic is used, against whom, and what the ramifications are (Patterson 2008). Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCW), this working paper explores who goes to jail for child support nonpayment.

Jorge Derpic

August 22nd, 4:30 – 5:30pm

The Entrance to the Marvelous City: Cable Car System, Ethnicity, and Labor in a Bolivian City

 In 2014, the Bolivian national government inaugurated a massive cable car system between the cities of La Paz and El Alto. The new transportation service generated a sense of pride among citizens who in general received it positively. However, it also opened the door for renewed strategies of ethnic differentiation and boundaries-setting among neighbors, public transportation carriers and street vendors. Those who attempted to settle or work in some of the surrounding areas to the stations confronted residents’ mobilizations, or physical and in some cases violent clashes against competitors. This paper seeks to analyze this phenomenon by focusing on how the inauguration of the cable car at one station of El Alto reshaped the perception of residents about their areas of livelihood; how it transformed the relationship between residents, on one side, and street-vendors and public transportation carriers on the other; and how it exacerbated the competition between these same bus drivers. Through interviews, news stories and participant observation, this study argues that current ethnic distinctions are produced by a structural context marked by a colonial history of discrimination against indigenous populations, combined with three decades of structural adjustment reforms. The ‘new’, clearly identified, undesirable populations in these urban environments, are those of indigenous origins who make a living in the informal markets.

Daniel G. Fridman and Pilar Zazueta

August 23rd, 10:30 – 11:30am

The Sovereign and the Victim: Comparing Consumer Policies in Mexico and Argentina in the 1970s

In the 1970s, the Mexican and Argentine governments embarked in simultaneous efforts to revamp their policies towards consumers. While public concerns about consumers had been present in both countries before that time, the consumer reached at the end of the 1970s a centrality in political discourse rarely discussed in the literature on consumption in Latin America. This article compares how the Mexican and Argentine states treated consumers in Argentina and Mexico in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In both countries, official publications for consumers encouraged people to recognize their consumer condition, to realize that, whether they knew it or not, they were consumers, and their duty was to become better at it. Both governments recruited consumers in the fight against inflation, and demanded that citizens acquire expertise about household economics as well as nutrition and health. Consuming was becoming a craft that required knowledge and continued training, particularly for children, who were having increasing weight in the consumer decisions of the household. There were, however, substantial differences between Argentina and Mexico. While the Mexican campaigns remained suspicious of free-markets and addressed consumers without erasing class and inequality, the Argentine campaigns saw the consumer as the guarantor of a new order based on the market as well as a new identity that would replace social classes. While Mexican officials framed the consumer as a victim of injustices, Argentine officials focused on the consumer as the sovereign and owner of the market.

Carmen Marie Gutierrez

August 23rd, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Health Care Reform and the Criminal Justice Population

The Affordable Care Act offers a new opportunity to examine the health of individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Over two-thirds of the 2.2 million adults incarcerated in jails and prisons across the U.S. have a chronic medical condition or infectious disease, and 70 to 80% meet the criteria for having either a mental health or substance use disorder. With a constitutional right to health care, most inmates with such physical, mental, and behavioral health problems receive prescription medication or some other form of medical treatment behind bars, but the availability of health care typically ends at the gates of correctional facilities for former inmates who often become uninsured and encounter exacerbated health issues upon their reentry. Recent changes in U.S. health policy, however, provide the criminal justice population with an improved chance for health maintenance. Whereas previous state and federal programs have offered assistance for insurance to adults on the basis of disability, as well as to low-income adults who are pregnant or custodial parents to dependent children, key features of the health reform offer new pathways for subsidized insurance coverage to low-income, childless adults for the first time in the nation’s history. Such shifts in policy may have a particularly significant impact for men formerly involved with the criminal justice system who make up over one-third of the 16 million Americans newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014. How do changes in eligibility for subsidized health insurance shape health care access among men involved in the criminal justice system?

Katherine Hill

August 22nd, 4:30 – 5:30pm

Sweet and Sour: Ethnic Networks and Inequality in a Chinese Restaurant

This study examines the experiences of Asian immigrants working in Asian restaurants to understand how ethnicity and race shapes their social interactions and social inequality inside their places of work. Using interviews with Asian immigrants working in Asian restaurants and three months of participant observation in a Chinese restaurant, I consider how immigrants working in an immigrant-owned business understand socioeconomic attainment, how social capital functions in ethnic networks, and how race, ethnicity, and gender shape workers’ experiences in family owned restaurants. I argue that the success of Asian immigrant businesses is not a result of Asian culture; rather, Asian restaurant owners may exploit both co-ethnic and other racial-ethnic workers to benefit their own socioeconomic mobility. Ethnic network members provide support to each other in a project of “ethnic uplift” to gain socioeconomic mobility while differentiating their group from those deemed lower on the ethnic-racial hierarchy. Within ethnic networks, co-ethnic exploitation occurs when individuals attempt to move up the socio-economic ladder in a solitary project of racial and socioeconomic uplift.

Yasmiyn Irizarry

August 21st, 2:30 – 4:10pm

On Track or Derailed? Race, Advanced Math Course Taking, and the Transition to High School

 In order for students to reach the highest echelon of high school mathematics, they must not only establish an advanced math course-taking trajectory, but also sustain this trajectory over multiple years. Unfortunately, this early start makes advanced math trajectories susceptible to curricular disruptions unique to the middle to high school transition (Loveless 2008). Using data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS), I examine racial/ethnic gaps in advanced math course taking for first-time ninth graders attending public schools. Results show that eighth grade math track both mediates and moderates the relationship between race/ethnicity and advanced math course taking. For example, black-white and nonwhite Latinas/o-white math course-taking gaps only hold among student on the advanced math track, whiles the gap between Southeast Asian and white students is most pronounced among students not on the advanced math track. Although some observed racial/ethnic differences were explained by student background (gender and SES) and course grade, significant racial/ethnic differences remain. Additional analyses also examine the importance of math skills. Overall, findings demonstrate that the transition to high school disrupts math trajectories, such that even strong academic performance may not be enough to remain on the advanced math track. They also highlight significant racial/ethnic differences in vulnerability to downward shifts, with black and nonwhite Latina/o students having a significantly higher risk, and East and South Asian students significantly lower risk than whites. These racialized barriers and benefits have important consequences for course-taking trajectories, achievement gaps, and the racial/ethnic underrepresentation in the STEM pipeline.

 Daniel Jaster

August 22nd, 2:30 – 3:30pm

For a Broader Understanding of the Double Movement: Reforming the Rural United States, 1860-1920

Karl Polanyi’s double movement concept has increasingly been utilized to describe and explain instances of community resistance to neoliberalism across the globe. However, this concept has almost exclusively been applied to resistance to economic reforms. In contrast, I argue that the fundamental feature of Polanyi’s double movement is the dialectic of disembedding and rembedding. Therefore, this concept can be applied to cultural as well as economic conflicts. I illustrate this argument with an analysis of a cultural double movement that occurred in rural Midwestern America in the early 20th century illustrates this point. Attempts by the urban middle-classes to disembed the rural economy, community, and cultural practices from the local context and re-embed them in cosmopolitanism and urbanism were met with significant resistance. Farmers chastised comments that rural life was backwards, organized campaigns against school and church consolidation, and worked to ensure that changes would retain as much local influence as possible. Though they ultimately failed, this resistance illustrated that rural communities would not quietly accept changes forced on them. This rethinking of the double movement gives scholars a new way to look at past analyses of social change for other instances of this dynamic, as well as opening discussions about how it can fail.

Betsabeth Monica Lugo

August 21st, 8:30 – 9:30am

What Does it Mean to Return Home? Mexican Women Narratives of Hope and Uncertainty

This paper examines what it means to return to Mexico for Mexican women living in the Dallas metropolitan area without papers. While the fear and distress caused by the possibility of being deported are common features of life among undocumented immigrants, not all undocumented immigrants experience the same kind of anxiety and apprehension about the possibility of returning home. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 43 undocumented Mexican women, I examine the factors that shape the women’s subjective concerns about returning to Mexico and how they use narratives of hope and uncertainty to articulate two main concerns: providing educational opportunities to their children and protecting their children from violence. I pay particular attention to how Mexican women articulate their aspirational longings and how these are shaped by the condition of illegality.

Chandra Muller, Evangeleen Pattison, Robert Reynolds, Eric Grodsky

August 22nd, 4:30 – 6:10pm

Migration within the United States: Education and Skills for Pursuing the American Dream

The U.S. internal migration rate is among the highest in the advanced world and the freedom to move is central to the American Dream. The decision to migrate has long been linked to personality characteristics like determination, hard work, and entrepreneurialism. Yet, spatial inequality is on the rise, with areas of greater economic opportunities—those with a concentration of educated workers, or innovation areas—growing faster. This study uses the High School and Beyond 1980 sophomore cohort and its 2014 midlife follow-up to investigate how cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and education predict who moves during adulthood and who lives in an innovation area at midlife. Findings indicate that cognitive and non-cognitive skills, advanced mathematics high school coursework, and bachelor’s degree attainment predict who moves by midlife. In contrast, only non-cognitive skills predict who moves longer distances. Earning a college degree and better cognitive skills predict who resides in an innovation area at midlife. Implications for stratification and growing inequality are discussed.

Megan Neely

August 22nd, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Financialization and the Patrimonial Firm

In a study of the U.S. hedge fund industry, I examine how racialized, patrimonial allegiances restrict access to financial rewards. The top incomes in this industry make it a relevant case for studying rising income inequality in the twenty-first century. Examining alternatives to large bureaucracies within finance uncovers a counter-movement among anti-bureaucratic firms directed towards the institutionalization of this sector. I extend theories of patrimonialism to understand industry dynamics that restrict access to opportunities, rewards, and resources. Using data from forty-four in-depth interviews, field observations, and secondary source materials, I investigate the hiring, grooming, and seeding processes within and among firms that enable elites to maintain monopolies over financial resources. I contend that the industry reveals patrimonial enterprises present despite the state’s deliberate retrenchment in the neoliberal era.

Pamela Jane Neumann

August 21st, 8:30 – 10:10am

Legitimacy on Trial: Transnational Governance, Local Politics, and the Battle over Gender Violence Law in Nicaragua

Why would a government approve a path-breaking new law against gender-based violence and then subsequently dismantle it? To address this question, this paper examines the process by which Nicaragua came to pass its most recent comprehensive law concerning violence against women (Law 779) in 2012, and the contentious politics that led to its unraveling over the next two years. Drawing on ten months of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, this paper adopts a transnational feminist theoretical lens in order to analyze why the Nicaraguan state embraced a women’s right to a life free of violence in one moment, but then later intentionally undermined its own previous actions. To explain why Law 779 was initially passed and later weakened, I make a twofold argument. First, I suggest that Law 779 was passed in order to keep pace with regional legal trends in Latin America concerning violence against women. Second, I contend that the subsequent derailment of Law 779 is due to (1) the Ortega regime’s alliance with conservative religious groups, and (2) the state’s interest in preserving Nicaragua’s reputation as the so-called “safest country in Central America.” As a result, patriarchal interests and ideologies remain firmly entrenched in Nicaragua’s political institutions. These findings have implications for our understandings of state legitimacy, global governance, and transnational feminist advocacy.

Julie Skalamera Olson

August 20th, 4:30 – 5:30pm

Moving Up, Feeling Down: Socioemotional Health during the Transition into College

Moving from high school to college is a critical juncture in socioemotional health, and how young people fare likely depends on their academic settings and experiences. To examine variation in trajectories of depressive symptomatology across the transition from high school into college, this study applied growth mixture modeling to data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which revealed multiple patterns of symptomatology over time that ranged from healthy to unhealthy. Adolescents appeared to have the healthiest trajectories when they experienced consistently competitive academic settings in high school and college. Overall, transitioning into college was a period of socioemotional vulnerability for some and well-being for others, but challenging curricula and contexts across this transition could differentiate between the two.

Emily Allen Paine, Debra Umberson, Corinne Reczek

August 22nd, 4:30 – 6:10pm

Sexing the Midlife: Women’s Experiences aross Same-sex and Different-sex Couples

 We examine the experiences of women navigating sex amidst midlife transitions within same-sex and different sex long-term couples. Data from in-depth interviews with women in 18 same-sex and 18 different-sex couples were analyzed to reveal how transitions related to caregiving, health and aging work to change women’s intra- and interpersonal experiences of sex and sexuality. We extend theories of gender and sexual scripts to examine how women framed and made sense of their changing sex lives in light of larger cultural schemas of gender and sexuality. For example, lesbian women negotiated their discordance from heterosexual scripts by framing their changing sex lives as either similar to those of heterosexual long-term couples or too different to be understood through such scripts. Whereas straight women cited their alignment with the script of sexless long-term heterosexual marriages, lesbian women negotiated stigmatized heterosexist scripts of lesbian asexuality. We introduce the term of “bed work” to describe the sense of responsibility and work undertaken to keep up sexual relationships discussed by lesbian women.

Cristian Luis Paredes

August 21st, 8:30 – 9:30am

Multidimensional Ethno-racial Status in Contexts of Mestizaje: Ethno-Racial Stratification in Contemporary Peru

In this study, I define ethno-racial status as the combination of ethnic and racial characteristics simultaneously embodied by mestizos. These characteristics refer to conceptually and empirically distinct dimensions of ethno-racial status: phenotype, ancestry, and self-identification. I alternatively explain self-identification, net of phenotype and ancestry, as exposure to ethno-racial ideologies. I also argue that these dimensions should be considered together when analyzing ethno-racial inequality. Using nationally representative data of Peru, the mestizaje research setting, I examine whether there are significant ethno-racial differences in educational attainment and household possessions by phenotype, ancestry, and self-identification. I find that indigenous ancestry and darker skin colors are inversely associated with both socioeconomic outcomes. Moreover, white self-identification compared to mestizo is negatively associated with educational attainment, but positively associated with household possessions. This approach unveils ethno-racial ideologies as relevant beliefs that are instrumental in gaining socioeconomic advantages.

Evangeleen Pattison

August 23rd, 12:30 – 2:10pm

Stratification in Higher Education and BMI at Midlife: The Role of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills

The inverse association between bachelor’s degree completion and body mass index (BMI) is well-documented among non-Hispanic whites, particularly at midlife. That said, existing research often neglects the highly stratified nature of postsecondary schooling in the U.S. and therefore may only tell part of the story of how bachelor’s degree completion affects BMI. As higher education has transformed from an elite to a nearly universal-based system, cognitive and non-cognitive skills developed during adolescence have become increasingly important for the sorting and selection of students into higher education. They have also been linked to numerous adult health outcomes and behaviors. In the current study, we use nationally representative longitudinal data from the sophomore cohort of High School and Beyond to investigate the relationship between stratification in higher education—as reflected by institutional selectivity—and BMI at midlife, paying particular attention to the role of skills observed in adolescence in the process. Results suggest that institutional selectivity predicts BMI at midlife among women, whereas among men, that they go to college is more important than where they go. Results further suggest that skills observed during adolescence do not independently predict BMI at midlife. There is one notable exception to this rule, however, as popularity in high school independently predicts BMI at midlife among women. Accounting for skills observed in adolescence explains the protective effect of graduating from a selective college on BMI at midlife among men. In contrast, they do little to explain this relationship among women. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

Ruijie Peng

August 20th, 8:30 – 9:30am

Chinese and Edcuadorian Workers in China’s Construction Project: Group Interactions and the Effect on Subordination

 In 2010, China reached a loan agreement with Ecuador to fund and construct Ecuador’s largest hydro-electric project. Subsequently, the Chinese state-owned construction company began its operations, bringing Chinese and Ecuadorian staff and workers together to commence work on the first project. Due to the terms of the agreement, the Ecuadorian employees, backed by a pro-labor state with a clear Labor Code, observe eight-hour work days and bear considerable protection against work encroachment. Despite active negotiation for labor rights, Ecuadorians work almost exclusively at elementary level jobs compared to their Chinese counterparts. In contrast, Chinese employees hold privileged and seemingly better-paid work positions, but they chronically over-work with virtually no power or room to negotiate better working conditions. With different labor rights provisions on the same project, how do the Chinese and Ecuadorian employees interact with and develop opinions about each other? Then how do such interactions and popular opinions influence their radically different relationships to labor rights? This essay draws on field observations and interviews to argue that both the socio-economic structure of labor and the particular ways in which these two distinct groups interact matter. The lack of individual and group interactions, the institutionalized hierarchy in workplace, and different labor rights provisions together condition the Chinese and Ecuadorian workers’ respective relationships with labor rights. This essay examines the types of hierarchies and exchanges evolved on the project, the different labor rights and protection provisions implemented, and the origins and development of the conflicting opinions of each group.

Marcos Emilio Perez

August 23rd, 8:30 – 9:30am

Becoming a Piquetero: Past, Novel and Current Routines in the Development of Activist Dispositions

Despite substantial progress in social movement research, our understanding of activism is much more elaborate with regards to the role of ideological conversion than concerning the influence of practices. In other words, we know more about how concurring with a set of ideas sustains long-term participation, than about how engaging in certain habits lead to the same outcome. In this paper I draw on a broad sociological literature, as well as on extensive ethnographic research on the unemployed worker’s movement in Argentina, to address this issue. I argue that an essential attraction of participating in this movement is the opportunity to engage in the practices associated with a respectable proletarian ethos. Through the reconstruction of past routines, the development of new habits, and the protection of practices that are perceived as endangered, some participants enjoy their involvement in the movement, despite significant personal obstacles and even occasional disagreements with their organization’s ideas. These findings suggest that research on the relation between practices and activism can complement significantly the current literature and deepen our knowledge of social movement participation.

Kate C. Prickett

August 22nd, 10:30 – 11:30am

Non-standard Work Schedules, Family Dynamics, and Mother-child Interactions During Early Childhood

The rising number of parents who work nonstandard schedules has led to a growing body of research concerned with what this trend means for children. The negative outcomes for children of parents who work nonstandard hours are thought to arise from the disruptions these schedules introduce to family life and, through this channel, parents’ abilities to follow through on their efforts to cognitively and emotionally support children’s development, particularly when children are young. Using a nationally-representative sample of two-parent families (the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth cohort, n = 3,650), this study examined whether mothers’ and their partners’ nonstandard work schedules were associated with mothers’ parenting when children were two- and four-years old. Random effects models revealed that mothers’ and their partners’ nonstandard work schedules were associated with mothers’ lower scores on measures of positive and involved parenting than mothers who worked standard daytime schedules. These associations were mediated by fathers’ lower levels of participation in cognitively-supportive parenting and greater imbalance in cognitively-supportive tasks conducted by mothers versus fathers, providing considerations for policies supporting families with diverse work schedules.

Robert Wayne Ressler, Pam Paxton, Lilla Pivnick, Kristopher Velasco, Inbar Weiss

August 20th, 4:30 – 6:10pm

Non-profits, Tweets, and Social Well-Being

Nonprofit organizations are a large and growing sector in the United States and span a diverse array of fields including education, youth development, employment, healthcare, and the arts. Yet little is understood concerning their impacts in the lives of individuals. This study explores whether communities with higher numbers of nonprofits per capita exhibit greater social well-being in the form of more positive relationships, emotions, and engagement and fewer negative relationships, negative emotions, and disengagement. We use novel measures of social well-being — positive and negative tweets in a county — and relate them to per capita nonprofits in relevant fields, such as the arts, derived from the National Center for Charitable Statistics. We find that most categories of nonprofit organizations (e.g., education, recreation/sports, and human services) decrease the expression of negative emotions, negative sentiments about relationships, and disengagement on Twitter. A few categories of nonprofits, those focused on the arts, education, philanthropy, and the environment, also increase the proportion of tweets in a county that indicate engagement and positive emotions. This study broadens the discussion regarding what nonprofits may be accomplishing in the communities in which they are located.

Brandon Andrew Robinson

August 20th, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Beyond Family Rejection: Gender, Sexuality, and Family Instability in the Lives of LGBTQ Youth

Most research on LGBTQ homeless youth has focused on family rejection as the main pathway into homelessness for the youth. In conducting the first qualitative study of LGBTQ homeless youth in Texas, I qualitatively complicate this picture of family rejection by situating this narrative into the larger story of family instability. I turn to the extreme case of LGBTQ homeless youth to uncover how gender and sexuality operates for some LGBTQ youth within family disorganization. I reveal that LGBTQ homeless youth have experienced economic hardship, parental marital transitions, residential movement, disruption in family routines, and other negative life events, especially death of a family member and sexual abuse. I also argue that the mechanism creating the disproportionate number of homeless youth to be LGBTQ is how heteronormativity and homonormativity operates within family instability. Working-class and poor families, who are already constrained by so many structures in society, may find that a non-heterosexual and/or non-gender conforming child adds more instability to the family and adds fear that the child will not succeed. As a result, the threat or the act of kicking a child out for being LGBTQ may be a form of heterosexual compliance in trying to discipline the child to not be non-heterosexual and/or non-gender non-conforming. I propose a renewed investment in all families through welfare polices and social safety nets along side of LGBTQ education and challenging heteronormativity as solutions to preventing LGBTQ youth homelessness.

Luis Romero and Amina Zarrugh

August 20th, 8:30 – 10:10am

Linking Immigration and Terrorism in the Post 9/11 Era

‘Illegal’ immigration and ‘terrorism’ have been the objects of United States national security in contemporary times. While each construction has garnered much attention as individual phenomenon, this paper explains how these issues have been linked in order to surveil Latino immigrants and Muslims after the events of September 11, 2001. This study historically traces the rhetoric of politicians, creation of policy and the action of state institutions to explain how issues surrounding Latinos and Muslims have been used to surveil both groups more extensively. Using government reports, media accounts, and secondary data, we find that immigration and terrorism have been linked with one another to garner political support, create surveillance policy and to combine state agencies and resources in order to target both groups.

Harel Shapira

August 20th, 4:30 – 6:10pm

An Education in Violence: Teaching and Learning to Kill in America

Through ethnographic fieldwork at gun schools located in central Texas, my research expands and complements existing public health, public policy, and criminological approaches to gun violence by examining how Americans teach and learn to use guns. By participating in classes offered at these schools, by interviewing instructors and students, and by watching people become comfortable around guns, I move beyond accounts which document people’s motivations for having guns, to analyzing how they train their bodies and minds to kill.

Vivian Shaw

August 22nd, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Crush the Racists!: Masculinity, Surveillance, and the Body in Japan’s Contemporary Anti-racism Movement

Since 2013, a new wave of anti-racism social movement has emerged in Japan as a powerful counter to a nationwide trend of anti-Korean and anti-foreigner hate speech. With many activists assuming the position of “vigilantes” against discrimination, masculinity and risk-taking figure prominently within this scene. Such “macho” expressions, notably, have not only generated wider controversies within Japanese publics but have also resulted in increased surveillance at protests and within activists’ private lives. This paper examines the cases of The Guys and C.R.U.S.H., two organizations within Japan’s contemporary anti-racism movement, to conceptualize the meanings of the dissenting body. The dissenting body encapsulates how state-sponsored surveillance of movement politics are linked to social practices of excluding and discrediting particular types of people. By linking the context of social movements to historical practices of population-based surveillance in Japan, I suggest that the “unruliness” that gets affectively attached to the anti-racist protester is embedded within similar notions of racial/ethnic minorities and foreigners as disruptive. In this way, the dissenting body is one that fits outside of the somatic norm of the majority, in this case, Japanese, not simply on the basis of its behaviors but in its affiliation to groups deemed outside of the social order. The basis for this paper is ethnographic fieldwork collected over the course of thirteen months of fieldwork taking place in the Tokyo metropolitan area and in the Kansai region of Japan. I collected data through participant observations, interviews, and social media analysis.

Connor Sheehan

August 23rd, 8:30 – 9:30am

Race and Ethnic Differences in Risk of Mortality among Veterans and Non-veterans

Military veterans are a large and racially heterogeneous population with distinct health challenges. Previous research has analyzed racial and ethnic health disparities among veterans and non-veterans, yet little research compares the extent of health disparities between veterans and non-veterans. However, other research has found that racial/ethnic minority veterans have favorable levels of socioeconomic status, marriage, and occupational satisfaction than their peers who never served in the military. Using the 1997-2010 National Health Interview Survey (N=122,722) with Linked Mortality Files through 2012 (15,661 deaths) and cox proportional hazard models this paper compares the risk of mortality among veterans relative to non-veterans. We find that among non-veterans, net of basic demographic controls, blacks have a 43% higher risk of mortality than whites. Among veterans blacks have a 26% higher risk of mortality than whites. While blacks have elevated risks of mortality among veterans and non-veterans the risk is significantly smaller among veterans than non-veterans. There is no significant difference between veterans and non-veterans among Hispanics or other race groups. We find similar results using an interaction term between race/ethnicity and veteran status with non-veteran whites as the reference group, which is significant net of demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral health factors. We offer three complementary explanations for the smaller racial disparities among veterans: higher risk of death among white veterans, the military as a meritocratic total institution, and favorable selection of blacks into the military. Veterans are a focal group to analyze how to minimize broader racial and ethnic health disparities.

Connor Sheehan, Phillip Cantu, Daniel A. Powers

August 21st, 10:30 – 11:30am

Long Term Neighborhood Poverty Trajectories and Obesity

Most neighborhood effects research relies on cross-sectional research designs and measures of neighborhood characteristics, limiting the ability to make causal inferences. However, neighborhoods (and people) are not static, instead shaped by dynamic long-term processes of change (and mobility). Using the Geographic Research on Wellbeing survey, which consists of a population-based sample of 2,482 Californian mothers, we investigate how long-term neighborhood poverty trajectories predict the likelihood of being obese, taking into account individual residential mobility. First, using Latent Class Growth Modeling we distinguish three unique longitudinal census tract poverty trajectories. Next, we fit logistic models predicting obesity based on these classes. We find that net of numerous individual level controls, living in or moving to wealthier tracts decreases the odds of being obese relative to living in the long term poverty tracts. Finally, we use regression-adjusted inverse-probability weighted models which show that living in the poorest class may cause obesity.

Samantha Jones Simon

August 23rd, 12:30 – 2:10pm

Behind the Sony Scandal: Organized Sexism in Hollywood Talent Agencies

 Hollywood talent agencies are powerful organizations that structure the labor market for actors, directors, and writers. This article applies Joan Acker’s theory of gendered organizations to understand the organizational structures that inhibit or discourage women from becoming talent agents. Through interviews conducted with talent agents, I found four primary ways in which talent agencies favored men and formed obstacles for women: (1) a culture of overt sexism; (2) men’s monopoly of powerful positions; (3) homophily and patrimony in professional networks; and (4) masculine symbols. This paper illuminates the exclusionary organizational structures operating within talent agencies that may help explain the underrepresentation of women talent agents.

Chelsea Smith

August 20th, 4:30 – 5:30pm

Overweight and Obesity in Adolescence and Childhood Family History

As overweight and obesity become increasingly common among U.S. adolescents, looking further back in the life course offers clues about its roots. As a developmental process, weight status is dynamic and shaped by aspects of the family context that are known to be especially important for child wellbeing such as family instability and poverty. This study used data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD; n = 830) to predict overweight/obese status at age 15 with the timing of childhood family instability and poverty. Logistic regressions revealed youth who experienced family instability during middle childhood were significantly more likely to be overweight/obese in adolescence, as were youth who lived in persistent poverty throughout their childhoods. In addition to being a strong and consistent predictor of adolescent overweight/obesity, childhood poverty also explained some of the association between overweight/obesity and family instability. Results suggest adolescent overweight and obesity are influenced by family instability during the sensitive period of middle childhood, compared to an overall cumulative effect of childhood poverty. Furthermore, this study has policy implications for how childhood experiences among vulnerable populations can heighten the risk for overweight and obesity in adolescence.

Katherine Sobering

August 22nd, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Constructing Organizational Equality in a Worker-recovered Cooperative

Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in a worker-recuperated cooperative in the city of Buenos Aires, this article examines how one work organization constructs and maintains equality in the workplace. The workplace is well understood as a site where social inequalities are produced and reproduced, yet we know much less about efforts to resist such forces. This article builds on a relational model of inequality to analyze how in/equality operates in an alternative work organization. Using the case of Hotel B.A.U.E.N., which was converted from privately-owned enterprise into worker-controlled cooperative, I argue that an examination of efforts to construct better jobs and a more equal workplace uncovers a complex and sometimes contradictory environment where inequality is produced and reduced simultaneously. First, I analyze exploitation and inclusion in the cooperative workplace, arguing that hierarchy and authority reproduce inequality while autonomy and democratic decision-making foster inclusion. Next, I examine how opportunity is both hoarded and distributed in the workplace, arguing that a discursive revaluation of skill, credential and responsibility facilitates a more equal distribution of resources among members of the cooperative. Finally, I argue that both emulation and innovation are active in the cooperative workplace, facilitating an organizational culture based in solidarity that justifies policies that support the working poor. The article concludes with a discussion of the possibilities and limitations of equality in transforming the everyday experiences of work.

Emily Jane Spangenberg

August 23rd, 8:30 – 9:30am

Party Politics and Environmental Contention in Palpalá, Argentina

Much of the scholarship on “contaminated communities” – spaces in which people live in areas affected by widespread pollution – assumes that residents will either publicly protest the existence of contamination once they are aware of its health effects or will remain “acquiescent” on the issue, and it will fail to become a salient political priority. This scholarship hinges on recognizing public contention according to familiar tropes – protests, marches, roadblocks, and the like, which in turn are motivated by people’s level of awareness and understanding of health risks they face.

In this paper, I analyze how what might look like “acquiescence” on contamination is a result of the embeddedness of environmental contention in everyday routines and political power struggles. Based on two years of ethnographic observations and interviews, this paper shows how local political party networks frame people’s discourse and action on widespread pollution in Palpalá, Argentina, a hub for mineral processing in the country’s Northwest. I show how people’s aversions, frustrations, alienation from or loyalty to local party politics mediate organization and discourse on environmental contamination, despite a general awareness of health risks incurred by exposure to toxic industrial pollution. Understanding how local politics and political networks are bound to residents’ relationship to “action” on contamination complicates existing literature that links people’s understandings of the gravity of environmental risks to their likelihood to act collectively on them, and also complicates scholarly definitions of what “action” looks like among residents of contaminated spaces.

Ellyn Arevalo Steidl

August 22nd, 10:30 – 11:30am

Workplace Authority and Women’s Birth Outcomes

 The lens of occupational demands and resources is often used to understand how work stress influences workers’ well-being. Recent work has investigated how this stress model may operate in different gendered contexts, and shown that certain work characteristics that are commonly understood as resources, such as job authority and responsibility, can fail to provide a protective health advantage to women. Pregnant women that work throughout their pregnancy represent a specific sub-population that faces additional implications from occupational stress. Research has demonstrated a link between the experience of highly stressful events and negative birth outcomes, but it is unclear what the consequences of work authority are for women’s birth outcomes. This project analyses whether pregnant women in jobs characterized by high authority and control experience an advantage when it comes to women in low authority jobs. Using the NLSY’97, the author employs logistic regression to study how occupational characteristics associated with authority and control affect pregnant women’s risk of having a low birth-weight infant. The results provided mixed support for the idea that women in high authority and control positions experience their leadership roles as a health liability rather than a health benefit. Working in a higher decision-making job was consistently found to be protective against having a low birth-weight infant. At the same time, women that were in jobs that involved both high levels of responsibility for other workers while regularly facing strict deadlines were at greater risk of giving birth to a low birth weight infant.

Allyson Stokes

August 21st, 10:30 – 12:10pm

Cultural Chameleons: Repertoire Diversification and Adaptability in Cultural Production

The benefits of variety in cultural consumption have been widely documented, with much focus on the rise of omnivorousness. In contrast, theory and research about the benefits of variety in cultural production require elaboration and refinement. Are diverse cultural repertoires as valuable to cultural producers as they are to consumers? How are they cultivated and used, and what benefits do they offer? Using 56 in-depth interviews with three groups of cultural producers (musicians, filmmakers, and fashion designers), these questions are examined. Interviews show that diverse cultural repertoires are indeed valuable and that cultural producers cultivate them in three ways. First, they diversify production by engaging with a range of genres, skills, and fields. Second, they diversify their audiences by trying to appeal to a variety of needs and to seek out new untapped audiences. Third, they broaden their orientations to cultural production by renegotiating traditional boundaries between artistic and economic interests through entrepreneurialism. Importantly, diverse cultural repertoires are necessary but insufficient for career success. Producers must also be adaptable and must know when and where particular types of production will be most beneficial. I dub these producers “cultural chameleons” who, like their animal counterparts, possess a variety of “colors” and can adapt these colors appropriately in particular contexts.

Ori Swed

August 22nd 3:30 – 4:10pm

The Effects of Insecurity on INGO Proliferation

A great deal of scholarly work has described and sought to account for disparities in INGO expansion across countries. This paper examines a new set of determinants associated with conflict and political unrest. Framing the disparities in INGO presence in relation to the tension between institutional and realist explanations, I use a time-series analysis of INGO presence between 1979-2006 in a global sample of 164 countries. The findings highlight the interplay between institutional and realist approaches, showing how conflicts can both attract or repel INGOs in accordance to the type of conflict—interstate or instate— intensity, and most importantly the location relative to the capital city.

Maggie Tate

August 23rd, 10:30am – 12:10pm

Comfortable While Homeless: Resistance to the Annihilation of Space by Law

This article uses photographic images and ethnographic experience to argue for the importance of taking comfort seriously in the discussion of homelessness. Taking a research interlocuter’s mention of comfortability as a starting point, the analysis finds the persistence of comfort amongst the lives of people sleeping rough to point towards the need to humanize how homelessness is perceived and discussed. Because the discourse around managing homelessness in urban spaces revolves around the comfort of housed consumers, the comfort of those experiencing homelessness falls off the terrain of discussion. Conversely, this article presents comfort as central to the politics of homelessness discourse because it carries the cultural history of the false binary between the private and the public spheres that underlies the rationale for excluding the homeless from public spaces. Rather than viewing actions such as sitting or lying on the sidewalk as passive, seeking comfort becomes a mode of political action in resistance to the “annihilation of space by law” that dominates homeless management.

John Robert Warren, Tim Werwath, Sarah Garcia

August 23rd, 10:30 – 11:30am

Predictors of Suicide and Accidental Death from Adolescence through Midlife: Evidence from High School and Beyond

Unintentional injuries and suicide are the leading causes of death among Americans between the ages of 15 and 34 (Heron 2015; Kochanek, Arias, and Anderson 2013). Although we know a great deal about the demographic correlates of death frm suicide and accidents, we know much less about the educational, behavioral, psychological, or other factors that may mediate the effects of sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic variables on risk of death from these two causes through midlife. Through what processes or via what mechanisms do sex, race/ethnic, and socioeconomic differences in rates of suicide and accidental death arise? We use new data on a large, nationally representative sample of adolescents in 1980 who have been followed through midlife in 2014 as part of the High School and Beyond (HSB) project. As expected, we find that HSB boys are at greater risk of death from both causes. We also find that Hispanics are at greater risk of death from accidents but at less risk of death from suicide. Various aspects of adolescents’ educational experiences mediate most of these relationships.

Tim Werwath and Chandra Muller

August 23rd, 2:30 – 4:10pm

Academic Marginalization in High School as a Predictor of Depressive Symptoms in Midlife

Although research has consistently shown that higher levels of educational attainment are associated with better mental health at midlife, we know little about specific aspects of education from adolescence and the transition to adulthood that help to produce educational mental health disparities. This study examines the extent to which high school academic performance, non-cognitive skills, and post-secondary degree attainment are predictive of moderate and severe psychological distress at midlife. Using data from the 2014 follow-up survey of the High School and Beyond study, we find that different aspects of education are related to moderate and severe psychological distress. Specifically, our findings indicate that better grades in high school and the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree significantly reduces the likelihood of experiencing moderate distress, but not severe distress. Non-cognitive skills such as locus of control and self-concept in adolescence are negatively related to severe distress, but not moderate distress. These results highlight the importance of developing a more nuanced understanding of the association between education and mental health, and demonstrate that academic outcomes as early as in adolescence have implications for levels of psychological distress much later in the life course.

Christine L. Williams

August 20th, 8:30 – 10:10am

Gendered Discourses of Work-family Balance: The Limitations of Voluntary Corporate Policy

In response to work-family conflict, feminist sociologists have urged employers to voluntarily redesign their workplaces to promote greater balance, with limited success. This study investigates the limitations of the voluntary corporate approach by exploring the meanings of “balance” held by young professionals working for a multinational oil and gas company. Interviews with early career scientists and engineers reveal stark gender differences. Mothers and prospective mothers describe intense work-family conflict, but they blame themselves and not their employer, and believe that the only way to achieve balance is to leave the company. A number of men, in contrast, express satisfaction with their employer for promoting work-family balance. Yet their narratives reveal that their achievement of balance depends on a traditional gender division of labor in the home. Some men and women define balance as the elision of work and family, or the pursuit of endeavors separate from work and family. Those who are thwarted from these goals absolve their employer from responsibility and express an inclination to exit the industry. These responses are consistent with the hegemonic neoliberal discourse of individual choice promoted by corporations. The study thus exposes the limitations of voluntary corporate policy and suggests the need for an alternative discourse to promote better work-family balance.

Maro Youssef

August 21st, 10:30am – 12:10pm

State Feminism and Film: Redefining Egyptian Womanhood After a Revolution

In post-colonial nations, newly formed governments often attempt to re/shape national identity and citizenship through state processes. It engages in this process in order to consolidate its power, establish its legitimacy, and prove its ability to modernize on its own. This study is about middle class women and their response to social change. The films in this study were produced during the height of state feminism and the film industry between 1957and 1967 (Bier 2004, 2006; Hatem 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999; Shafik 2007). I use in depth text and plot analysis of four popular Arabic full-length feature films: Mother of the Bride (1963), A Film for Men Only (1964), A Diary of a Student (1962), and The Empty Pillow (1957). They reveal women’s struggle to balance the state’s notions of modern womanhood (i.e., educated, politically active, and employed) and traditional gender roles (i.e., wife, daughter, stay-at home mother).

ON THE MARKET: Navigating ASA Employment Services

As part of our On The Market series, our newly-minted Dr. Amina Zarrugh shares some sage advice on how to maximize Employment Services, one of several resources that the American Sociological Association provides graduate student members. 

Source: American Sociological Association (ASA)

Each year during the ASA annual meeting, the organization facilitates meetings between prospective job candidates and employers. These meetings, referred to as “Employment Services,” are brief 20 minute meetings that are sometimes regarded as preliminary interviews for the upcoming job market. This is a paid service (roughly $50-55), which you must  purchase in advance of the conference (through your ASA account) if you would like to access information about employers as early as possible. The process can be unclear unless you have already been through it once before so here is a brief “how to” to help those who may be navigating it for the first time.



The purpose of ASA Employment Services is for job candidates to meet faculty from universities that intend to hire new faculty for the upcoming year. It is important to recognize that not all universities that plan to hire in the fall will hold meetings during ASA and not all of the meetings are considered by universities to be part of their formal interview process. Universities approach ASA Employment Services with different intentions and purposes; for some, the ASA interview is an opportunity to sincerely assess candidates and expedite their job search while for others the ASA interview is an opportunity for them to share information about their universities and positions. As a candidate, you should be prepared to treat each interview as an opportunity to both 1) practice describing your dissertation and your broader research plans and teaching style and 2) learn more about schools to which you may apply. The interview process can be an important exercise in learning how to talk about your research and can also provide you with important details about schools that you can later include in your application materials. Use this opportunity to think about how your application can benefit from speaking to members of the search committee.


The process of participating in ASA Employment Services is composed of two phases:

 Before ASA


After registering and paying for ASA Employment Services, you will be granted access to an interface which will allow you to post your CV, fill out a calendar with your availability, and see employer postings. Universities that are hiring in the coming academic year and who would like to meet with candidates at ASA provide information about the position(s), application materials, and contact information. Most job postings will not appear until late July or early to mid-August. Several postings may appear during the ASA annual meeting itself so you should continue to check for new postings while you are at ASA.

First and foremost, you should post a CV and fill out the calendar with your availability. You should be as generous as possible regarding your availability on the calendar; leave open many time slots (twenty-minute increments) so that universities will have several choices from which to select when scheduling a meeting with you. It is especially important to keep Saturday and Sunday as open as possible because many faculty will only be at the conference during the weekend given that some universities commence classes before the conference concludes.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you should contact employers through the ASA Employment Services interface before ASA. Contrary to the idea that employers will contact you because you posted a CV, you need to contact employers as soon as possible. There are far more job candidates than employers and, therefore, it is incumbent upon you to take the initiative and invite yourself to be considered for an interview. It is possible that you will receive a request to meet from universities on the basis of your CV but it is less common.

Once your CV is posted and you have filled out your availability, you should begin writing employers as soon as they have posted a job ad. It is important to note that they may not reply to your invitation until two to three weeks before the conference in order to process all of their interview requests; however, it is good to express your interest early.

Your message should be framed as an “expression of interest” in a position. In your message, be sure to include the following:

  • Your name, university, and expected graduation date
  • Your research interests (in order of importance according to the job ad) and a one-sentence description of your dissertation
  • Any sources of funding that you have received in support of your work (see example for how to assert this in a modest way)
  • Your broader research agenda (especially if you can connect it to other aspects/requirements of the job description)
  • Your teaching philosophy (brief statement that connects to research, if possible)

Here’s a sample message:


I am writing to express interest in the position of [POSITION] in the [DEPARTMENT] and at [UNIVERSITY].

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and I plan to graduate in [MONTH, YEAR]. I specialize in [RESEARCH INTERESTS PRIORITIZED BASED ON JOB AD]. With funding from [FUNDING SOURCE], I examine [ONE SENTENCE DESCRIPTION OF YOUR DISSERTATION]. My broader research agenda also includes a focus on [ONE SENTENCE ABOUT YOUR OTHER RESEARCH].

With my international research experience [FIND A WAY TO BRIDGE RESEARCH AND TEACHING], I bring unique insights to the classroom through a global perspective on classic sociological topics. I am firmly committed to teaching, which is evidenced by [INCLUDE ANY SPECIAL TRAINING OR EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE RELATED TO TEACHING]

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration and I look forward to an opportunity to meet with you at the ASA annual conference.



In response to these messages, you will receive requests from employers who suggest a specific day and time to meet on the basis of your calendar of availability. You will receive requests through ASA Employment Services and copies will also be sent to you via e-mail. You will use the ASA Employment Services interface to confirm the requests. If you are invited to an interview, you should confirm the request and also send a message thanking the employer for their time and stating that you are looking forward to the meeting.

During ASA


Before ASA begins, you should have confirmed the universities and faculty with whom you will be meeting (though some universities will provide later notice and will contact you during the conference, so keep looking at your ASA Employment Services interface).

For each department, you should closely research its programs, research areas, and its curriculum and classes. It is very important that you pay close attention to the research program and classes taught in the department because many of the questions you will be asked throughout the interview will concern how you relate to these aspects of the department. You can access this information on most departmental websites and you should prepare before ASA so that you can review it on your way to ASA and during breaks you may have during the conference.

Upon arriving to the annual meeting, you should locate the registration area of the conference, where you will confirm your participation in ASA Employment Services on-site. You will be provided with instructions about how the process works and you will be given a name tag that permits you access to the Employment Services area.

The meetings take place in a common and open, but secure, space with several tables (akin to the structure of a roundtable session). To each table is affixed a number that is assigned to a specific university. You should plan to arrive early to your scheduled interview meeting in order to look up the table number that corresponds to the university with which you plan to meet. The meetings are twenty minutes long and an orchestral sound will signal that two minutes remain in the interviews. The end of meetings is punctuated with another orchestral sound, which signals people to end their meetings and new meetings to begin. Bring a copy of your CV with you and, if you have them, business cards to give to the employers; some employers will have a copy of your CV while others may not.

You will be meeting with as few as one departmental member and as many as three members; many meetings take place with two departmental members, which helps facilitate the conversation. This means also that you will need to make sure that you speak to (and make eye-contact with) both departmental members during the conversation. Meeting with multiple faculty members underlines the importance of researching the universities beforehand and being aware of who belongs to the department.

 Potential Interview Questions

While twenty minutes is not a long time, it is possible to cover several topics, which generally focus on your dissertation, research, and teaching. Most faculty will leave at least five minutes towards the end of the meeting for you to ask questions about their program and department so you must have 2-3 questions prepared to ask of each university (and these can overlap).

  1. Research: The questions that relate to your research will concern your dissertation, your future research plans, and how your interests connect to the job. You should be prepared to briefly summarize your dissertation punchline and its contribution. Be prepared to talk about the key arguments in any papers you have published or are under review. Examples of questions:


  • Could you tell us about your dissertation?
  • When do you plan to defend?
  • What have you written and what remains to be written? (Be specific about the chapters you have completed and offer a concrete schedule for when you plan to complete remaining chapters)

Research Interests

  • Tell us about your research interests.
  • Where do you see your research going in the future?
  • How did you become interested in this line of research?


  • Tell us about this paper (describe key argument and how it connects to your broader research agenda)
  • Tell us about your collaborations (be prepared to discuss your contributions to papers that have multiple authors).
  1. Teaching: The questions that relate to your teaching will concern what types of teaching you have done, how you approach teaching on a pedagogical level, and what kinds of classes you would like to teach and how you would approach them. Your research about individual universities will help you identify what classes you could contribute to each university (and you should identify courses that you are capable of teaching and would contribute to the program).

Teaching Background

  • What classes have you taught?
  • How did you teach these classes? (Evaluations, assignments, etc.)

Approach to Teaching

  • What is your philosophy about teaching?
  • How would you approach teaching “x” course? (Some faculty will ask you about how you would teach specific courses so pay close attention to job ads and whether they mention classes that future faculty are expected to teach)

Future Classes

  • What classes would you like to teach? How would you teach them?
  1. Your Questions: While ASA Employment Services is an opportunity for employers to get to know you, it is also a chance for you to learn more about specific universities. You should anticipate the opportunity to ask questions of the employers and you should prepare questions for each university. Some topics/questions include:

Research-related Questions

  • Are there any departmental area groups? Are there faculty writing groups?
  • What kinds of support exist for research travel and conference travel?
  • Does the department plan to develop a particular research area in the future?
  • What kinds of affiliated research centers exist at the university?

Teaching-related Questions

  • What is the teaching load and how many new course preparations are expected?
  • Will I be able to teach courses in my field or will I be expected to teach introductory and methods courses?
  • Are there opportunities to co-teach classes?
  • How many sociology undergraduates (and/or graduate students) are there and what are the expectations regarding advising?

University- and/or City-related Questions

  • What kinds of institutes and centers exist for collaboration between departments?
  • What roles do the university and department play in the community?

After your interview, you should take notes about the discussions you had with committee members, particularly if they communicated information that could be useful to your preparation of an application.


When the annual meeting concludes, you should send thank you notes to the faculty members with whom you met to express appreciation for their time and the information they shared about their department and university. This is an opportunity to underline your interest in the program and to state your intention to submit an application.

See more on Employment Services here. You can also reach out to Amina for more amazing advice!

Amina Zarrugh received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology in 2016. She joins the faculty at Texas Christian University as an Assistant Professor. Her research interests focus on gender, nationalism, and religion in North Africa and the Middle East from a postcolonial perspective. Her dissertation examines regime violence in Libya and the mobilization of women in a family movement that developed in response to a contested prison massacre at Abu Salim Prison in Tripoli. 

Contemporary Changes in the Transition into Adulthood

by Chelsea Smith, Robert Crosnoe, and Shih-Yi Chao

This blog post is based on “Family Background and Changes in Young Adults’ School-Work Transitions and Family Formation in the United States,” available online and forthcoming in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. This blog post was originally posted on Work in Progress, a public sociology blog of the American Sociological Association.

Source: TIME

A hallmark of the late teens through the 20s is attainment of social roles that signify the balance of independence, interdependence, responsibility, and productivity widely considered to define adulthood in Western societies. Completing education, taking on full-time work, and starting a family are social signals that someone has left adolescence to become a “real” adult.

This process of becoming an adult, however, looks different for today’s young people than it did 20 years ago. Over the last several decades, the transition into adulthood has become delayed and elongated for two reasons. First, the decline of the manufacturing sector and growth of the information/service sector have massively reshaped the economy into an hourglass labor market with little middle ground between the security afforded by professional careers and the insecurity of low-wage work. Second, that economic restructuring has affected cultural views about when young people “should” form families—after securing economic independence, which is increasingly difficult.

The transition into adulthood also looks different based on youth’s social class and family background. The different resources that families provide can shape whether transitions into adult roles are launch pads into a successful adulthood or a time of stagnation that limits future opportunities. Parents’ own college education influences the knowledge, status, and money they can pass along to youth, and family structure influences the time and money that parents have to invest in youth.

In an article forthcoming in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, we compared two age cohorts of youth as they aged from 16 years old to 32 years old in terms of family background disparities in how long they took to complete schooling and commit to the labor market as well as family formation transitions (marrying, becoming a parent) closely tied to such socioeconomic attainment. We found young people today are indeed delaying transitions into a number of adult roles. Those delays, however, look different depending on youth’s family backgrounds.

Delayed transitions into adult roles

Compared to the older age cohort of young people coming of age in the 1980s, the more recent cohort of young adults in the early 2000s was, on average, slightly younger when they completed their schooling and had their first child and slightly older when they entered the labor force and got married for the first time. More of those young adults had college-educated parents but fewer lived with both biological parents when they were teenagers.

Proportion Not Yet Experiencing Each Transition, by Cohort (Kaplan-Meier Survival Estimates)
Proportion Not Yet Experiencing Each Transition, by Cohort (Kaplan-Meier Survival Estimates)

All things being equal, the most recent age cohort was less likely to have completed schooling, fully entered the labor force, married, or become parents by their 30s than those in the older cohort. The descriptive figure above shows the divergence of when cohorts moved into adult roles, with each graph depicting the proportion of young adults that had not yet transitioned into the role at each age. Labor force entry, for example, occurred earlier and at a sharper rate for the older age cohort in blue compared to the more recent cohort in red.

Having college-educated parents also made young people less likely to complete those transitions. Living with both parents as a teenager made school completion and having a baby less likely but labor force entry and getting married more likely.

Different transitions based on family background

As described above, there were overall differences in the transition into adulthood by cohort, and there was also variation in those patterns by family background. Essentially, the general delays in the transition into adulthood looked different based on young people’s parental education and family structure.

The cross-cohort drop in school completion was more pronounced among young people from more disadvantaged family backgrounds (i.e., neither parent college-educated, non-partnered parents). Compared to their more advantaged peers, youth from disadvantaged backgrounds were more likely to have completed their schooling, but that gap in school completion was larger for the older cohort than it was for the more recent cohort.

The drop in labor force entry was more pronounced among those from more advantaged backgrounds (i.e., at least one college-educated parent, partnered parents as a teenager). In the older cohort, youth from advantaged backgrounds were more likely to enter the labor force compared to youth from disadvantaged family backgrounds. In the more recent cohort, however, advantaged youth were less likely to fully enter the labor force.

Although the drop in marriage did not differ by family background, the drop in having children was more pronounced among those from more advantaged backgrounds. In both cohorts, youth from advantaged family backgrounds were less likely to have their first child in a given year during the 16-32 years old window, compared to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. That gap in the probability of childbearing was more pronounced, though, in the more recent cohort.

Our findings confirm that young people today are delaying transitions into adult roles, which reflect large-scale economic structures and cultural norms. Contemporary young adults finish school, fully commit to the labor force, get married, and become parents significantly later than their counterparts did 20 years ago. Fewer of today’s young adults have achieved the roles that lead society to deem them “real” adults by the beginning of their 30s.

Notably, youth’s family backgrounds accounted for some of those cross-cohort differences in markers of the transition into adulthood. The delay we found in school completion among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds was likely the result of taking more time to obtain a degree with breaks in enrollment as opposed to the pursuit of advanced degrees. Youth from more advantaged backgrounds, on the other hand, may have been delaying fully entering the labor force in favor of professionalization opportunities such as internships with little or no pay but that broadened their professional networks and gave them the work experience now required for entry-level jobs.

Knowing the sources and outcomes of differences in socioeconomic attainment during the transition into adulthood is especially important for current and future generations as today’s young adults take longer to achieve adult economic roles yet delay family formation to a much smaller extent. The lack of movement in childbearing patterns among young adults from more disadvantaged backgrounds has implications for their own socioeconomic prospects and those of their children.

Our study presents a broad overview of changes in the transition into adulthood and then considers whether those changes were specific to young people from different family backgrounds. This investigation of delays in the transition into adulthood as they relate to past inequality in family background and unequal future prospects is an important first step. Future research should build off of this framework to consider geographic differences, such as local labor markets dictating job opportunities, regional norms about the appropriate age for marriage and childbearing, and cross-national comparisons including non-Western countries.




Chelsea Smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and graduate student trainee in the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on family formation during young adulthood as well as how family complexity matters for children.

 Robert Crosnoe is the C.B. Smith, Sr. Centennial Chair #4 and Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He studies child, adolescent, and youth development in relation to families, schools, and immigration.

 Shih-Yi Chao is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in family and work, labor markets, and poverty.


ON THE MARKET: Pamela Neumann

Our “On The Market” series is back, featuring 5th-year doctoral candidate and Urban Ethnography Lab fellow, Pamela Neumann:


Tell me about your research. What have you been working on?

Really broadly, I consider my research to be at the intersection of gender and political sociology. Empirically, my work looks at the dynamics of the state and social movements in Latin America, and theoretically it’s about issues related to gender and power. I started out doing research on women’s participation in development programs in Nicaragua and how that was affecting their lives. I was fortunate to publish that research a few years later.

Then, I worked on a project (as part of an NSF grant that Javier Auyero spearheaded) comparing perceptions of environmental risk in three different countries in Latin America. My piece of that was in Peru, in a small town called La Oroya. I was looking at why more people weren’t mobilizing against this 90-year old lead smelter that had caused so much contamination in the community. Many people work for the company, so that was one reason people weren’t mobilizing; but I was trying to figure out what some alternative explanations might be as well.

For my dissertation, I’m writing about violence against women, feminist activism, and state practice in Nicaragua. What happens when women try to place a legal claim against an abusive partner or someone else? What obstacles do they they face in the midst of that? I also look at local feminist mobilization around the issue of violence against women, and the dynamics of these interactions between women’s organizations and the state.

Where do you see your research going?

In the future, what I’m hoping to do is some more comparative work in Latin America, both related to violence against women and collective action. I’m particularly interested in places where extractive industry is increasing – in Peru, for example, where there are a lot of new open pit copper mines – and trying to explain when and how people mobilize in those settings against those kinds of projects and also, the gender dynamics in those communities.

Sounds like really complex and interesting work. So, how have you been preparing for this process of going on the market?

One of the first steps was to write a ​lot o​f drafts of things like research statements and teaching statements, trying to figure out how to articulate what my project is about beyond the case itself and what kinds of contributions I’m making to the subfields I’m in conversation with. I worked to figure out what those arguments are and then to synthesize them into a few key paragraphs. One thing I spent a lot of time thinking about was: what is the role of feminist activism on the issue of violence against women? Is it effective? In what ways? Is it not effective? And how does that compare or contrast with what women’s actual experiences are, because I feel like sometimes there’s a disconnect between feminist activism and the lived experiences of women. Activists have a particular point of view, priorities and strategies for what they think needs to happen, but for example, in my research I found that a lot of women didn’t necessarily want their partners to be incarcerated. You know, what does that say about feminist activism that’s all about getting laws changed or getting higher legal penalties for these crimes. I’m definitely not saying these crimes shouldn’t be penalized, but why is it that these are the main strategies being used? So, it’s a larger question about how activists try to promote social justice. Are legal strategies always the best?

So, I had to step back from the particularities of women’s situations in Nicaragua to ask a bigger question about the theoretical implications of what I’m doing. That’s one thing. The other big, theoretical issue I thought about as I was preparing my materials is about the state and how the state operates. A lot of how we talk about the state is high-level and kind of monolithic; I was thinking, what is my contribution to that debate, looking at low-level actors like police and prosecutors and the power and influence that they wield in these situations?

So, you spent a lot of time thinking about how to present yourself and your work. Situating where you’re engaging with these broad, sociological questions. When did you start working on materials?

I started writing drafts of my statements this summer, around June when I kind of knew – I had been advised – that I should start preparing. I was assisted by the fact that there were some July deadlines. This is something to be aware of if you’re going to go on the market, there could be deadlines as early as the middle of the summer. It’s good to start watching the ASA job bank, because some of the very early deadlines – July, late August, September 1 – were some of the main places that I wanted to apply. So, being ready by the beginning of the summer to send things out. Also, ASA falls at the end of August and well before that, there’s the ASA Employment Services that opens up– and those jobs start posting months before – so the sooner that you’re ready to send initial contact emails to those places with your updated CV, a brief description of your dissertation (a dissertation abstract) the better off you’re going to be.

How was it being on the market at ASA?

The key to being successful at the ASA-phase is to have already been thinking about this process well in advance and to have made contact with schools well before the Employment Services time period. The way it’s set up, you get 15 minutes with schools. Those schools look at your materials that you’ve already posted when you signed up for the service and they decided whether or not they’re going to contact you. The sooner you’re in the system, the sooner you can be on their radar, and the more likely it is that some of those schools are going to want to meet with you. I hadn’t received any advice early on one way or another about whether I should do that, so I didn’t sign up, unfortunately, until right when ASA started. Something else to be aware of is that you can’t see who the schools are who are signed up until you pay for the service. Many of these schools only send one or two people to ASA to do these interviews and there are potentially thousands of people submitting their materials. So, the sooner you’re on their radar, the sooner you can potentially get a slot.

You’re teaching a class this fall in addition to the doing all these applications and writing. How are you balancing all of your responsibilities?

That is a great question. I think teaching my own class this semester has been a challenge in that it requires a different kind of time management. As a TA, you’re not responsible for the lectures. I didn’t really have an idea of how long it would take to prepare a lecture until I actually had to do it. I learned early on that if I let myself, I could spend 8 hours preparing one lecture. After about two weeks of that, I realized that is not sustainable. So, I started to think: how I can make this process a little more efficient? At first, I spent a lot of time doing extra research but I realized I should focus on helping them learn what I actually assigned them to read. That’s what I can do right now. And I work on making the class interactive.

In terms of balancing, I dedicate Monday morning to prepping for my class and the afternoon, after I teach, to job applications. The days that I teach, that’s the pattern. Prep for class, teach, and job applications. At least two thirds of the day on Tuesday and Thursday, I try to devote to my dissertation, and at least one day of the weekend. So, it’s not ideal, but I guess it would help if I had a Tuesday-Thursday class. But, I’m very happy to be teaching; it’s been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot and it’s helped me write my teaching statement. This is the thing about preparing materials; it’s helpful to give concrete examples and the only way to get those examples is to have taught. I realize, now that I have been teaching for the last month, now I have really good stories that I can share not only in my materials, but in the event that I have the opportunity to interview somewhere. I definitely recommend if you have the opportunity to AI before going on the job market, to do it because it’s really helpful.

That’s great advice! What would be your biggest piece(s) of advice for those going on the market next year or the next few years?

I think I’ve said some of it already. It could be categorized into a few things, like writing your statements – research and teaching statements are only one to two pages long and it’s surprisingly difficult to write one to two really concise pages that are tightly woven and flow coherently. One piece of advice is don’t assume you’re going to be able to do that in your first draft. Even those of us who are good writers, who are practiced writers, it’s a different kind of thing to write. Give yourself a lot of time to do that. Don’t rush it.

Also, try to have some idea of what it is that you want, in terms of what you want to do when you’re done. Are you interested in primarily focusing on research? Are you interested in smaller, liberal arts colleges? Use what you know about yourself to inform how expansive or tailored your search is. I know some people think of their first year on the market as a “soft” search, where they’re really particular about where they apply and put “feelers” out. Other people say you should just apply widely and see what happens. I think it’s good practice and helpful to do a little bit of investigation about each school before you decide. Go to their website, look at who the faculty are, see what their research interests are and don’t think too much about “oh, it’s really cold there.” [laughs] You never know.

There are so many things you don’t have control over. In a way, it’s like what they say about publishing, you know you can’t take it personally. For example, now that I’ve been on the market for several months, I’ve already heard from a few places that I’m not on their list anymore. It’s important to remember that it isn’t necessarily because of my record, it could just be I’m not the kind of scholar they need right now. It’s the cliché thing – you’re not a good fit – but that could also be true. You have to try to not invest too much of your identity in the process.

One of the things I forgot to mention is one of the major parts of this whole process, the recommendation letters. If you’re going to apply to 30-60 schools, you’re probably going to want to use some sort of dossier service like Interfolio or Vitae. Investigate those and then, well before your deadlines, you want to make sure that you have identified three people who have already agreed to write for you, who know in advance where you’re applying, if you’re going to be periodically sending request emails. It’s important that they know to expect those emails; sometimes they go to junk mail. I didn’t have a clear idea of what professors would prefer in terms of the organization of the process until I was in it, so it’s good to find out how they want to handle that.

Also, definitely ask for examples of research and teaching statements and cover letters from people that you know or other people in the department. You can save yourself so much time, to at least see somebody’s final product. Not that your first draft has to be the same as whatever that person’s final draft was, but it’s helpful to see the organization, structure and the kinds of ways that people are framing their research to help you structure your own. That was really helpful to me.

How are you keeping all of this organized?

I’ve got a spreadsheet with all the school names and it had school name, deadline, the name of the position – because sometimes, it’s not just a sociology position, sometimes, it’s a joint – and then what they require from you, because not every school is the same. Some schools only want your cover letter and your CV, some want the CV and teaching statement, or just your research statement. Some want the letters of recommendation immediately. Some will contact your references later. So, have all that there. Once I’ve submitted I color-code it blue. I’ve been using Interfolio for the references, so I have a record of when the letters have been sent and to whom they’ve been sent. I save each individual cover letter for each school as a separate document and I have a couple different versions of my research statement and my teaching statement. I created a document that I thought would serve for the majority of schools and then I modify it for each application. I don’t have a separate folder for each school, but I know which versions of statements I send to each, the gender-specific versus just my standard statement.

Also, I didn’t think about this in the beginning, but don’t wait until the last minute to submit things. Anything can happen, you don’t know if the system is suddenly going to crash on you. So, you don’t’ want to be submitting your job applications at like 11:59pm the day before they’re due. Further, some schools start reviewing as the applications come in. So, if you can get your stuff in earlier, then it’s possible your application is going to get more attention. Also, if you’re submitting letters, you can’t submit at the last minute because your recommenders also need time to meet that deadline. So, you should really try to submit your applications a week before the deadline to give your recommenders time to upload the letters. Even if you’re using generic letters, Interfolio takes like a day.

When do you know that you’re ready to submit?

I sent multiple drafts to two professors to get feedback. With their feedback on the standard cover letter, the research statement and the teaching statement, basically I just tweak those documents on my own and don’t send the faculty any of those tweaked versions. They’ve approved the generic version, so whatever small things I might change for an individual school that isn’t something to bother the faculty with. In terms of knowing, I think it’s when the faculty that you’re working with say, “yeah, this is good.” I don’t think there’s really any other way to know. You start to realize what may be working as the process goes on. So, maybe in a few months I’ll know more, have more insight about that, to know what caught their attention. One thing I know is important is to have a clear puzzle in the letter. What is it you’re trying to explain? That’s not just a publication rule, that’s why should I care about your research, you know?

How are you practicing self-care?

I believe in self-care and so do my advisors. One way I like to practice self-care is through exercise. I like to go running, I go to the gym. Getting out all that physical energy, the stress that builds up. Also, I haven’t done this a lot but getting a massage periodically is also helpful. And of course, the occasional glass of wine. That hasn’t ever hurt anyone. Also, solidarity. Whoever is on the market with you, it’s helpful to talk to each other and share information. Yes, academia is a competitive place but we’re also each other’s future colleagues and our mutual success is important. I’m rooting for everyone in our department to get a job.

We’ve worked really hard for a long time and so it feels like it’s really high stakes. But at the end of the day, I’m still a person, and I have a life and that matters to me.

ON THE MARKET: Kate Henley Averett

Welcome to the new “On the Market” series, where UTAustinSOC will profile UT-Austin graduate students who are on the job market! This series will serve as a means of not only allowing the graduate community to learn more about the important work that our graduate students are producing; it will also be a place to share advice gleaned and lessons learned from the job search process.

Up first, Kate Averett, a 6th-year doctoral candidate and Urban Ethnography Lab Fellow:


Tell me about your research. What are you working on?

 My research broadly is around gender and sexuality in childhood and the family. More specifically, I look at how the social structures of gender and sexuality shape and inform experiences of childhood and experiences of parenting. I’ve done research in the past that has looked at LGBT parents and how they socialize their kids with respect to gender, particularly how they navigate the fact that a lot of the gender norms in childhood are based around very heteronormative assumptions. I looked at how they think about their children’s futures as not necessarily heterosexual and how they raise their kids with respect to/in resistance to gender norms.

My dissertation is on the homeschooling movement in Texas. It’s a mixed methods project that is looking at discourses of gender and sexuality in the homeschooling movement. Homeschooling has traditionally been this very bifurcated movement where you have people on the ideological “extremes”: religious conservatives – who have very specific beliefs about what gender and sexuality should look like and are very critical of the secularization of schools and the liberal influence around gender and sexuality – and liberal progressives – who have more of an education reform perspective and are critical of the way that schools encourage conformity in children, including gender and sexual conformity, and view schools as places where children are taught to lose their “true” selves. So, they’re both really critical of the gender and sexual “regimes” of the schools but from really different directions.

So, I’m exploring what discourses are going on and what do these have to do with how these two opposing “camps” are coming to the same decision to homeschool their kids. I look at the values and beliefs of the families but also the structural forces that are shaping this decision, such as the larger neoliberal divestment from public services like public education as well as the type of work that the parents do or whether they have workplace flexibility. Parents I’ve interviewed tend to have had one of two situations: either the husbands of these heterosexual wives make enough to support the family on one income or one or both parents have some sort of flexible work arrangement that allows them to work part-time, work from home or work odd hours in order to accommodate being home with their kids. There’s a lot about the structure of the economy right now that is enabling certain parents to homeschool, but it raises all these questions about who doesn’t have the access to this practice when they are dissatisfied with public education due to working multiple jobs or not having workplace flexibility.

The other major structural factor I look at is the gendered construction of motherhood and how the ways parents on both sides of the political spectrum talk about homeschooling is informed by what it means to be a “good” mother. Even among self-proclaimed “feminist parents” the pressure for the mother to be doing everything she can to provide for her children is something they feel very strongly about and to varying degrees, do and do not feel able to resist.

For my future research, I see myself remaining in this area of looking at gender and sexuality in the family. I’m planning a project looking at families with a transgender parent or transgender child, including both in the study to think about how children are part of the gendering process of the family itself and how children play a role as active social agents in gendering their parents and making the gendered space of the family what it is.

Very cool. So, how did you prepare for this process of applying for jobs and sending out applications this fall?

 I started preparing over the summer; as soon as job postings started going up on the ASA Job Bank (the earliest in May, but most in June or July and continuing into October) I was looking at them, even though there weren’t that many at first and most of them wouldn’t be jobs I’d be applying for in terms of not being in my area. I looked at what kinds of materials they are looking for, what kinds of materials do I need to have. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with my advisor and ask her what were the things I should be doing, at what point should I have drafts of various documents. Her advice was really helpful, in that the documents you produce for the job market are, for the most part, very short but they take a really long time to get them right. It’s easy to write a cover letter but it’s not easy to write a good cover letter; you have to allow time for multiples drafts, multiple rewrites.

I started working on the basics of my documents in July, so that by mid-August I had my basic cover letter, research statement, and teaching statement all set. This was helpful because then ASA happens and then, as soon as you get back, some of the deadlines are starting. I’ve found most of the deadlines are between mid-September and mid-October but there were some early-September ones, so you need to have stuff ready to go.

The other thing I did was contact the people I wanted to write letters for me in June, making sure I gave them plenty of lead time on that, even though as of June I didn’t know more than a handful of specific jobs, specific dates. I asked them, what information would you like from me, what can I do to make this easier? So, being in frequent contact with the letter writers has been really important in terms of checking in with what they need and keeping them informed of new deadlines or new openings that I am applying for.

How often is “frequent”?

It depends on what your letter writer needs. Some want updates whenever you add a new position to the list; others want weekly updates on what’s coming up this week. Every letter writer is going to be different in terms of what they want from you so I think it’s a good idea to just ask.

So, how are you balancing all the things on your plate right now, since the semester is back in session?

 I’m TA-ing this semester for Research Methods. It’s a course I’ve TA’d for before with different professors, so I’m pretty familiar with the subject matter. There’s a lag in the semester before any grading needs to happen on my part, so, even though the majority of my applications aren’t due until mid-to-late-September and early-to-mid-October, I’m trying to get all my applications done and out within the first few weeks of the semester. I know that once I start having to grade papers, it will be harder to balance all of that. For now, I’m trying to spend a couple days a week really focused on applications and getting them out. I have a calendar of what I want to get out each week. Also, I have a couple of days a week that I dedicate to working on my dissertation.

Any sage advice?

My biggest piece of advice would be to be super organized, even if you’re not normally a super organized person. Force yourself to be. I have several different spreadsheets having to do with the jobs I’m applying for, when their deadlines are, what’s required for each application since the portfolio looks different for each one. I have a separate spreadsheet for my letter writers that includes the position – what it is, is it targeted for a gender person, is it a joint appointment, that kind of thing – and what the deadline is, and how the letter is to be submitted. Some you submit through Interfolio or on the school’s website, others you send emails to specific people, and others delay letters until you’ve made it to a certain round in the selection process. I have another spreadsheet that tracks what’s been uploaded and submitted. I color-code to mark my progress of when I finish an application. So much is in the little details, so it’s helpful to mark your progress and know that you’re getting somewhere.

How are you practicing self-care?

The way I’ve been practicing self-care in general the last few years is being really good about my sleep. That’s one area that I just don’t sacrifice because I know that’s what my body needs. I’ve also been working on eating healthier, staying hydrated, stretching, doing yoga. I try to keep my body moving and pay attention to it because if you get sick or your back goes out, it’s really hard to get work done. Make sure you’re taking care of the basics so you can do everything else. People don’t think of scholarly work as being embodied work but it is. It’s tough on our bodies to be writing all the time, to be sitting, to be reading – the postures we hold ourselves in are hard on the body. You have to keep your body conditioned the way that anyone would for a job that requires physical labor.

Also, having a community of other people who are on the job market is really critical. There are a bunch of us in the department who are on the market right now and we bounce ideas off each other, we ask each other questions, we get advice, we talk strategy. There is a temptation to be competitive and not share advice; but I, and my colleagues, know that when one of us looks good, all of UT-Austin Sociology looks good. When we’re all strong on the market that makes us all look good. It’s a very solitary experience so it’s good that we’re all cheering for each other. The little bits of encouragement are really helpful and help with demystifying the process. #solidarityisforgradstudents


The Art of the Live-Tweet (and On-line Networking) at ASA

Social media’s usefulness has been under a microscope as of late. With the attacks on professors Steve Salaita, Zandria Robinson, and Saida Grundy in the last year for their candid commentary on race, nation, and inequality (among other things) via Twitter, some question whether social media should be a part of the lives of academics or other public figures.


It cannot be denied that Twitter is a significant component of public intellectualism. In fact, it can be a very important tool in the graduate student’s arsenal. Twitter serves as a great way to meet other scholars – graduate student and faculty alike – as well as share one’s work. As Ekins and Perlstein (2014) argue, “Twitter can play an active role here to bridge or break down the gap between researcher cliques and can serve as a means to introduce you and your ideas to others in the field, without having to personally ‘know’ them.” Thus, participating in Twitter discussions and live-tweets of either pop culture or academic events provide the opportunity to weigh in based on one’s area of expertise and to hone the skills of clarity, directness, and brevity. Constrained by 140 characters at a time, tweeting, particularly live-tweeting, is an exercise in condensing information in order to share it with others.

Live-tweeting at conferences has become a standard means of participating in discussions within and across sessions with various attendees as well as a way to share the happenings of the conference with the public. Last year in San Francisco, many sociologists tied in-session discussions to the protests in Ferguson, MO, with hashtags. It was because of these on- and off-line conversations that Sociologists for Justice was formed, with a statement on Ferguson and a “Ferguson Syllabus” following shortly after ASA 2014 ended.

On a more personal level, I have reaped several benefits from using Twitter, especially during my trip to San Francisco for my first ASA. Due to interacting over Twitter, I felt more comfortable approaching Professor David L. Brunsma at the panel he organized and via email after ASA ended. In fact, he is now a member of my dissertation committee. More recently, I was contacted by Professor Jessie Daniels (a UT Sociology alumna!) to write a blog post for Racism Review based on our on-line interactions and the “voice” I have cultivated on Twitter. I, and several other graduate students in our program, have made countless connections with scholars all over the country thanks to Twitter and I wholeheartedly believe in graduate students taking advantage of the space for networking and community support.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.42.48 PM

A stray observation at #asa14

So, as Chicago quickly approaches, I encourage everyone in the UT-Austin Sociology community to at least try out Twitter during conference time (the aforementioned Ekins and Perlstein have ten excellent rules to guide you). Not only will you likely make some new friends, you can follow up on your sociological idol(s) and share what you learn from panels and sessions with those who will not be in Chicago (or wherever you might be). ASA is already asking sociologists to share advice for first-time attendees, so a great place to start live-tweeting ASA 2015 is to use the conference hashtag (#asa15) and to follow @ASAnews. The conference hashtag and ASA’s tweets will not only show you what folks are saying and sharing from the various panels, but will enable your tweets to be cached with other attendees. Last year, nearly 18,000 tweets were sent out regarding #asa14 and @UTAustinSoc was right in the middle of it! Hopefully, we can keep the tradition going this year.


I hope to see many of you (and your tweets) in Chicago!


Shantel Gabrieal Buggs is the incoming editor for UTAustinSoc and a 5th-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter at @Future_Dr_Buggs.