For the conference schedule, click here.
Lady Anima Adjepong. “Play-Forms of Association: An Examination of How Women’s Rugby Teams Develop Sociability and Organic Solidarity”
The organization of a rugby team is utilitarian and calls attention to individual positions and skills, while emphasizing the importance of the collective for success on the field. Although teams may undergo changes overtime, rugby culture emphasizes a core identity that teams strive to maintain. Women’s rugby teams act as a site for the resistance of dominant discourses of normative femininity, allowing female rugby players to identify with a larger group of women who play the sport. However, these teams may also defensively engage in maintaining a heterosexual identity to combat the stereotype of “butchness” often associated with women’s rugby players. This paper develops a theoretical framework for understanding how members of women’s rugby teams evidence Simmel’s theory of sociability and group identities, and navigates the different identities that emerge from participation in the sport. Using examples from recent ethnographies conducted by Matthew Ezzell and Laura Chase, this paper examines the mechanisms at play to construct sociability on the teams in question.
Travis Beaver. “Wayward Heterosexuals: The Sexual and Gender Politics of Ambiguous Sexual Identity”
Social constructionist scholarship within gay and lesbian studies has examined the history and changing meanings of homosexual identities. Yet heterosexuality has been left largely unexamined and unproblematized as an identity category. Within a sexual regime that is dominated by the heterosexual/homosexual binary, it is logical to assume that changes in the meanings of homosexuality will in turn affect the meanings of heterosexuality. A number of scholars have pointed to the increasing visibility and acceptance of gays and lesbians in Western nations since the 1990s. This project examines how the mainstreaming of gay and lesbian identities has impacted heterosexual identities. Some scholars have argued that the hetero/homo binary has become increasingly blurred, while others assert that this binary has been solidified. This research seeks to add nuance to these debates by studying straight-identified individuals who are “read” (or “misread”) as gay or lesbian. Through life history interviews, I will examine the ways that ambiguous heterosexuals “manage” their sexual identity. Do they try to “prove” their heterosexuality? Is their heterosexuality a central component of their identity? How does heterosexual privilege benefit, or fail to benefit, ambiguous heterosexuals? How do the politics of the closet affect ambiguous straight people? This research will also contribute to our understanding of the links between gender and sexuality in everyday practice. Because gender and sexuality are often conflated, people who are not gender normative are assumed to be gay. Through this project, I hope to challenge the reified, and normative, connection between gender presentation and sexual orientation by highlighting queer crossings within heterosexuality.
Amy Lodge. “Parenthood and Physical Activity across the Life Course: How do Gender and Race Matter?”
This study examines both how parenthood shapes physical activity across the life course as well as if the processes through which parenthood shapes physical activity differ for men and women and African Americans and Whites. In order to answer these questions, we integrate theoretical work on social ties and health behavior, the life course, and the second shift to frame an analysis of in-depth interview data with 44 parents. Results indicate that mothers and fathers of minor children have very divergent experiences: while motherhood is more likely to be a barrier to physical activity, especially for African American mothers, fatherhood is rarely experienced as a barrier to physical activity and many fathers are able to combine fathering responsibilities with exercise. In contrast, both mothers and fathers of adult children feel that being healthy and alive for their children motivate them to exercise, although only mothers report that their adult children explicitly encourage them to exercise. These results suggest that parenthood shapes physical activity in different ways across the life course and in different ways for men and women and African Americans and Whites.
Megan Neely. “Women Political Executives on Women’s Rights: A Shifting Framework”
This paper examines how women presidents and prime ministers address women’s rights within broader discourses on globalization. The language used in speeches and interviews by the 13 women currently holding these offices demonstrates how they assert their position as descriptive representatives of female constituents, call attention to women’s labor, and situate gender within economic development. The findings suggest women executive leaders assume responsibility for representing women both nationally and internationally. While doing so, they call attention to women’s labor in both the formal and informal economy. Women leaders identify the formal economy as the site for women’s economic liberation. Following the global recession beginning in 2007, women leaders frame women’s rights as economic rights and understand economic freedom for women as key to stimulating economic growth. Thus, women’s economic rights become a rallying point for nationalism centered on economic recovery.
Pamela Neumann. “Empowerment paradox: Volunteer Mothering as Community Participation in Nicaragua”
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) now play an increasingly important role in community development programs throughout the global South. While some practitioners and scholars view these spaces as opportunities for women’s participation and empowerment, others have critiqued this now-common approach to promoting gender equality for its inattention to important contextual differences among women in developing countries. In this paper, I examine the case of a rural village in Nicaragua where women have been recruited by both NGOs and the government to become “volunteer mothers” –a role that encompasses numerous tasks as health promoters, educators, and social workers. Through a careful examination of these women’s narratives, their daily lives and routines, and the local context in which they are embedded, I explore the complex implications of becoming a volunteer mother. I argue that the increasing reliance of NGOs and the state on women’s unpaid labor to accomplish social policy goals has generated significant new burdens in the everyday lives of poor women and their families. The lessons to be drawn from the case of Loma Verde are not unique, but can inform our understanding of the repercussions of women’s community participation in other contexts of high social and economic vulnerability.
Cristian Paredes. “Using Media in Foreign Languages: an Analysis of Cultural Proximity and Cosmopolitanism in Austin, Texas”
Due to its planned transformation into an information-technology-oriented economy, Austin is often portrayed as an example of prosperity. This prestige combined with Austin’s atmosphere of multicultural openness might suggest the rise of cosmopolitan identities among those who succeeded in this society. Nonetheless, this picture does not reveal Austin’s structural inequity, which favors white people over minorities and migrants. In this article, I statistically analyze the disposition toward the consumption of cultural manifestations in foreign languages by examining whether the consumption of these cultural manifestations is balanced among different groups as a measure of cultural proximity. Based on this foreign language criterion, I find evidence of cultural distances between white people and Latinos, between white people and Asians, and between foreign people and those who were born in the U.S.
Kate Prickett. “How Couples Spend Time with Children: The Role of Parental Employment Status and Educational Attainment”
This study examines the intersection between mothers’ and fathers’ employment and educational statuses in two-parent families and the implications of this intersection for the amount and type of time parents spend with children. Tobit analyses of the American Time Use Surveys from 2003 through 2009 (n = 30,231) revealed that college-educated mothers spend more time with children than mothers without a college degree. Whereas unemployed mothers spend more time than employed mothers with children regardless of education status, the difference between employed and unemployed mothers is greater among the college-educated. Moreover, college-educated mothers’ time is less affected by their partners’ employment status, with partners’ unemployment making no difference in the time spent with their children. College educated fathers have stable parenting patterns, regardless of their own and their partners’ employment status, while fathers without a college degree adjust their time use based on their own and their partners’ employment status. Despite these findings, there is very little education difference in the type of activities parents conduct with children by employment status.
Brandon Robinson. “In Defense of Barebacking and Sexual Risk Taking: Weberian Perspective on Rationalization, Discipline, and Disenchantment”
Since the HIV/AIDS outbreak of the 1980s, public health and its HIV/AIDS discourse have become an integral part of gay men’s lives and their perceptions of their sexuality. However, what happens when a subculture of gays begin to reject this framework and begin having unprotected sex – begin to form an identity around barebacking? Through using Weber’s theories on rationalization, I will explicate how sexual health and HIV/AIDS discourses are calculable, efficient systems that are about protecting the public good. Likewise, I will show how this rationalized sexual health system disciplines pleasure
and intimacy, making sex about the larger public, and not about the individuals engaging in it. Through this disciplining, I will show how sexual health has disenchanted sex, specifically for gay men, causing the rise of the barebacking subculture, and its counterpart bug chasers, who are attempting to find re-enchantment in this disenchanted sexual world. In the end, Weber’s theories help one to further comprehend the actions that barebackers engage in, where barebackers may not be seen as irrational in the end, but rather instinctually rational in that they are re-exploring personability, intimacy, eroticism, and love – all things that sex should be predicated on in the first place.
Dara Shifrer. “Stigma of a Label: Educational Expectations for High School Students Labeled with a Learning Disability”
Labeling theory predicts that stigma related to labels alters the perceptions of others and thereby the expectations labeled persons hold for themselves. Using a large nationally representative dataset, The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, I find that teachers and parents hold significantly lower educational expectations for adolescents labeled with an LD than they do for otherwise similar adolescents not labeled with disability. Teachers’ and parents’ perceptions of the adolescent as disabled contribute to their lower educational expectations for labeled adolescents, even net of several strong controls for academic achievement. Also consistent with labeling theory, I find that parents,’ and particularly teachers’, educational expectations are associated with adolescents’ educational expectations for themselves. Teachers’ and parents’ educational expectations mediate the association between the LD label and adolescents’ lower expectations for themselves, even net of differences in academic achievement. I also found greater disparities by LD status in the educational expectations of higher SES parents than in those of lower SES parents. Monitoring the self-perception of labeled students, and working to mitigate stigma related to the LD label, should be integral aspects of special education programs.
“Parent and Peer Influences Mediating the Association between Adolescents’ Socioeconomic Status and Locus of Control”
People who believe life events are a product of their own effort, rather than fate, experience better outcomes in multiple domains. Previous research has established that socially disadvantaged students feel less control over their lives but the aspects of socioeconomic status (SES) that matter most and the mechanisms underlying these associations are not as clear. This study utilizes data from a nationally representative dataset, The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, to explore the social mechanisms that underlie the association between SES and locus of control. I find that race isn’t significantly associated with adolescents’ sense of control net of other SES components, and that family income and the status of parent(s)’ occupations are most closely associated with adolescents’ sense of control. Each SES component impacts adolescents’ sense of control through differences in parental influences, but only parental occupation impacts control through differences in peer influences.
Katie Sobering. “From Worker to Worker-owner: A New Theater of Service Work”
What happens to service work when organizations change? This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork in Hotel BAUEN, a worker-recovered hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that was occupied by its workers and reorganized as a worker cooperative. In this alternative service workplace, insights into the dynamics of a “service triangle” made up of worker, owner and consumer shift as workers become worker-owners, providing a different venue to explore how structural variation transforms service interaction. This article begins by adding dimension to the range of products and services produced and consumed, linking different products to diverse consumers that participate in interactive service work. It, then, considers workers’ emphasis on self-management as a form of emotional labor that is required not only in the service interaction with the customer, but in other sites with different parties to complicate understandings of emotional labor as a standard, commodified or managed effort. By taking a broader view of the product being sold, the consumer being served and the worker being managed, the case of Hotel BAUEN exposes how workplace structure transforms workers’ experience of their service labor by increasing the emotional demands of work.
Emily Spangenberg. “The ‘Sick Poor’ and the ‘Healthy Professional’: Environmental Health Discourse in Abra Pampa, Argentina”
When the lead smelting plant Metal Huasi closed in the 1980s, it left roughly 60,000 tons of lead waste in residential areas of Abra Pampa, Argentina, a city in the Northwestern province of Jujuy. Much of this waste remains untouched, over 50 years since the smelter began processing minerals from nearby mines. Health problems associated with lead contamination have been obscured through the discrediting of evidence of human suffering in the town in dominant political discourse that protects the image of the lucrative mining industry that operates in the area, and also in Abra Pampa residents’ own discourse on contamination. When residents talk about the effects of lead, there emerges a “sick poor” versus “healthy professional” dichotomy, part of a broader narrative of social inequality that resulted from a recent population boom. The reproduction of inequality in discourse on lead contamination reflects “toxic uncertainty,” a framework that Javier Auyero and Débora Swistun developed to research contradictory discourse on contamination that precludes collective understandings of health risks. Ethnographic research conducted in Abra Pampa in 2010 uses the concept to illustrate the misrecognition of the sources and effects of lead contamination, which both blames the poor for their own contamination and denies that lead poses problems for people who “live better.” This case outlines local understandings of environmental health threats that emphasize residents’ own social position in explaining health inequalities. These contradictory explanations, which reflect a perceived social class bias, illustrate how “toxic uncertainty” obfuscates the systemic roots of environmental health inequalities.
Esther Sullivan. “Informal Development in Low-income Communities: Housing Conditions and Self-help Strategies in Informal Subdivisions in Texas”
Based on revised definitions of what is considered “urban” this paper looks at the important peri-urban phenomena of self-help and self-managed low-income housing. Within cities, many low-income residents make use of peri-urban lands to secure owner-occupied housing that is otherwise unavailable to them within high-value metropolitan areas. As yet, little systematic research investigates how low-income populations attempt to participate in homeownership through self-built and self-managed housing in the urban periphery. Although these alternative community forms are increasingly being uncovered, housing conditions and needs within peri-urban, informally developed areas are little studied and largely unknown. The data analyzed in this paper were collected through a two-part mail and in-person survey on behalf of some 630 households in two low-income self-help settlements in central Texas. Using the findings of this original survey, this paper seeks to document and analyze housing conditions and needs for the growing number of people that live in such communities where do-it-yourself housing practices are more common. Through an analysis of survey results we prioritize areas of intervention that suggest future policy directions for informal housing initiatives. Specifically we identify lines of action related to property titles, small-scale financing, self-help home construction, weatherization and other cost/labor-effective interventions, and the links between chronic illness and poor dwelling conditions.
Ori Swed. “The Arab Spring and the Role of the Military: Coercion and Diffusion through Arms Sales”
Focusing on recent Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, we ask why the military is willing to use force to defend its political masters in one state but not another. We suggest that this willingness is inversely associated with the level of military westernization, which is in turn a product of the acquisition of complex military hardware from western countries. That acquisition allows for both a top-down coercive influence by the supplier and also a softer microsocial diffusion of western ideologies regarding the role of the military in the state. Both reduce the military’s readiness to forcefully suppress internal dissent. In other words, the Arab Spring suggests that the supply of complex military systems by western countries, and military westernization in general, are effective agents of political liberalization. The irony in this case is that main targets of liberalization were autocratic leaders most allied with the west.
Maggie Tate. “Representing Social Invisibility: Aesthetics of the Ghostly in Rebecca Belmore’s Named and Unnamed”
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, more than 65 women went missing from the Downtown East Side area of Vancouver, British Columbia. As the poorest neighborhood in Canada, this inner city space is conceptualized within Vancouver as an unproductive space. A majority of the women who disappeared were First Nations women and thus were historically marginalized from the imaginary of Canadian citizenship. Because some were also sex workers and drug addicts, their disappearances garnered little attention from the police or from official media outlets. They had already disappeared from the respectable Canadian social body by being situated in this area. This paper analyzes a street performance by a First Nations artist named Rebecca Belmore, who was haunted by the disappearance of these women and by their invisibility as bodies that mattered. The artist produces a haunting, a concept described by Avery Gordon as “an animated state in which a repressed or unresolved social violence is making itself known” (2008, xvi). In relation to the history of colonialism in Canada, it is significant that the performance is both embodied by the artist and situated within Downtown East Side Vancouver. This paper considers problems of representation that some social events pose and suggests that Belmore’s performance rethinks representation and points to possibilities for transformational aesthetics in relation to vulnerable or marginalized subjects.
Gender and Society features UT researchers:
April 2012 Issue:
“Good Guys With Guns: Hegemonic Masculinity and Concealed Handguns”
Gender & Society April 2012 26: 216-238
Catherine Riegle-Crumb and Melissa Humphries
“Exploring Bias in Math Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Ability by Gender and Race/Ethnicity”
Gender & Society April 2012 26: 290-322
August 2012 Issue
Christine Williams, Chandra Muller, and Kristine Kilanski
“Gendered Organizations in the New Economy”
Gender & Society August 2012: forthcoming
Publications and Article Abstracts ASA 2011 Issue
“‘By the skaters, for the skaters’: The DIY Ethos of the Roller Derby Revival.”
Forthcoming in Journal of Sport and Social Issues.
Abstract: The growth of women’s roller derby has been driven by the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic. This means the majority of roller derby leagues are owned and operated by the participants. Drawing on an ethnographic study of three leagues, I argue that the DIY ethos is not simply motivated by necessity; rollergirls consider it an important value of the revival. Doing-it-themselves ensures that skaters maintain control over their athletic activity, their organizations, and the sport as a whole. I contend that roller derby’s DIY ethic is not about individualism. Instead, the revival is driven by rollergirls’ collective labor. I also show that the DIY ethic pushed women to create a sport that they control. Finally, I discuss the barriers to participation that result from the DIY ethic.
“The Impact of Eugenics on U.S. Coercive Sterilization Legislation in the Early Twentieth Century”
This paper explores the impact of eugenics, a social movement spearheaded by an elite group of scientists, philanthropists, and lawyers who mobilized to ‘improve the national stock’ and prevent the ‘unfit’ from reproducing in the early twentieth century United States. I designate eugenics as a professional social movement that functioned like the public interest groups of the early twentieth century (McCarthy and Zald, 1973; Clemens, 1997). While eugenics did not realize all of its goals of societal transformation and largely fell from popularity after the Holocaust, the movement nevertheless had important consequences on American history. I examine the mobilization activities of two primary eugenic organizations, the Eugenic Record Office and the American Eugenics Society, the efforts of which enabled eugenicists to make coercive sterilization a desirable approach to population control among many states. Eugenicists were responsible for bringing the issue of coercive sterilization legislation before the Supreme Court in the 1927 landmark case Buck v. Bell, where the Court deemed the compulsory sterilization of ‘feebleminded’ Carrie Buck constitutional. Following this decision, coercive sterilization legislation spread around the nation and tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized against their will.
Janning, Michelle, Caitlyn Collins, and Jacqueline Kamm. 2011. “Gender, Space, and Objects in Divorced Families.” Michigan Family Review. 15(1):35-58.
Applying symbolic interactionism and a social constructionist perspective on gender roles, and referencing work by Belk (1988) and others on the significance of artifacts and spaces in the creation and revision of social roles during life transitions, we perform an investigation of 22 in-depth interviews with young adults whose parents have divorced while they were children or adolescents. We attempt to find out how these young adults experience the presence or absence of traditional gender roles within the post-divorce family as manifest in the use of domestic space and objects. Patterns in the data reveal relatively traditional gender roles as manifest in the use of spaces and objects for mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. Additionally, efficacy over space and objects is an important part of the post-divorce experience for children.
Janning, Michelle, Jill Laney, and Caitlyn Collins. 2010. “Spatial and Temporal Arrangements, Parental Authority, and Young Adults’ Post-Divorce Experiences.” The Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 51(7):413-427.
This research examines how the structure of children’s time and space impacts parent-child relationship dynamics post-divorce. Our central research question is whether parent-child relationship quality and degree of perceived parental authority are associated with the amount of time spent with a parent and the type and amount of personalized space a child has at parents’ homes after a divorce. We analyze the reports of 22 adolescents surveyed and interviewed in the Northwestern United States in 2007. Most notably, the quality of personalized space for children, regardless of the amount of private space available, was significantly and positively related to parent-child relationship quality. Amount of time spent with a parent was also significantly and positively associated with parent-child relationship quality. Level of parental authority was partially positively associated with both quality of personalized space and amount of time spent with a parent. Our results confirm that these factors do indeed play a significant role in children’s lives post-divorce and deserve more attention by families undergoing divorce and by researchers investigating the divorce experience for children and adolescents.
Collins, Caitlyn and Michelle Janning. 2010. “The Stuff at Mom’’s House and the Stuff at Dad’’s House: The Material Consumption of Divorce for Adolescents.” Pp. 163-177 in Childhood and Consumer Culture, edited by David Buckingham and Vebjørg Tingstad. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
This research seeks to tie the body of research on adolescent divorce effects to their manifestations in consumption of material culture and home spaces for children. By analyzing in-depth interviews and surveys from twenty-two young adults ages 18-22 who reside in the Pacific Northwest in the United States, we seek to answer the question: How does the material culture in adolescents’ home spaces reflect their identity formation and their perceptions of and relationships with each parent after their parents’ divorce? More specifically, we seek to find out how the consumption of goods and use of these goods in home spaces (and in the transition between two home spaces) manifest in these adolescents’ lives post-divorce. The results of our research reveal that consumption practices by both adolescents and their parents, especially with regard to bedroom decorating and the use of technology, have a significant impact on the daily practices, habits, and visitations involved with adolescents growing up in divorced families, and that those practices are intimately connected to the divorce experience. The consumption of material culture serves as an indicator of the ways that adolescents see spaces and things as being important in their everyday lives and relationships, especially during and after family dissolution.
Jacinto Cuvi Escobar
“Blowing the institutional gridlock: informal institutions and symbolic action in the reform of Sunat”
This paper lays the basis for an analysis of institutional transformations hinged on the mechanics of symbolic crafting. Inspired in Selznick, the latter is conceptualized as the infusion of values into a social body by means of the performance of a transformative narrative. Unless such “work” is undertaken, institutional reforms are bound to remain formal and/or derail. Theoretical claims are bolstered by the analysis of the mechanisms leading to the reversion of the (informal) institutional legacy of the Peruvian tax administration during its reform in the early 1990s. The paper flushes out the political effects of the profound socioeconomic crisis that struck Peru at the time, arguing that they opened a window for reform. More significantly, the analysis focuses on the struggle for supplanting old and enforcing new institutional values led by the reform task-force under the leadership of Manuel Estela.
“Bringing Narrative in: Storytelling, Political Ambition, and Women’s Paths to Public Office”
Gender and politics scholars have yet to recognize political leaders’ “deciding to run” accounts as storytelling performances that draw from and contest dominant cultural discourses. In this article, I present findings from interviews with 44 women candidates and potential candidates in Texas, analyzing my subjects’ “deciding to run” accounts as narratives that illuminate much about women’s attempt to negotiate contradictions between dominant raced-gendered values and their drive for public office. I find that women tell quite different narratives about their decision to run for office, African-American women and Latinas coming from activist backgrounds expressing more confidence and self-direction in their stories than white women generally and women of color emerging out of pipeline professions and those endorsed by the statewide women’s PAC. I also reveal that many of these stories contain complexities and contradictions not illuminated in survey research on candidate emergence.
Erin Trouth Hofmann
“Global Changes and Gendered Responses: The feminization of migration from Georgia”
Erin Trouth Hofmann, University of Texas at Austin
Cynthia J. Buckley, Social Science Research Council and University of Texas at Austin
Abstract: The feminization of migration, while frequently discussed, remains among the least understood trends in the scholarly migration literature. Existing research has linked feminization of migration to socio-economic change in migrant-origin countries, changes in the labor markets of destination countries, structural factors, and changing social attitudes, but questions of how the feminization of migration begins and how it becomes socially institutionalized remain unanswered. The Republic of Georgia, a country that has experienced a recent, dramatic increase in women’s labor migration, provides an excellent case study of the ways in which women’s labor migration emerges and develops socio cultural acceptance. Our findings highlight the importance of declining state social support, increasing divorce rates, growing numbers of female headed households, and the absence of local economic opportunities in motivating the feminization of migration from Georgia. Additionally, shifts in destination labor market demand towards feminized occupations and access to migration networks act as key initial conditions enabling the growth of women’s migration. We document how cultural beliefs stigmatizing female migrants, in the initial stages of women’s labor migration, can be renegotiated to frame women’s migration within normative gender approaches to care giving and self-sacrifice, providing pathways for cultural maintenance rather than challenging or expanding women’s socio-cultural and economic roles.
“Acculturation and Parent-Teen Communication about Sex among Mexican-origin Families”
Authors: Joseph Lariscy, Kristine Hopkins, and Gita Mirchandani
Parent-teen discussion of sexual issues reduces risky sexual behavior among youth. Yet motivations for and barriers to communicating with teens about sex reported by Hispanic parents differ by their own social context during adolescence. We examine Mexican-origin parents’ attitudes about sexual activity and childbearing in adolescence and how these attitudes influence discussions of sexuality with their teenage children. This analysis draws on seven focus groups conducted with Mexican-origin parents of teens as part of the Texas Teen Opportunity Project (T-TOP). We use country where education was completed (Mexico versus the United States) as a proxy for acculturation to observe similarities and differences in attitudes and communication by acculturation status. Nearly all the parents expressed the view that discussing sex with their teenage children is important. However, parents reported a range of communication frequency: actively discussing sex, beginning at a young age; offering to answer questions but not initiating the conversations; and not discussing sex with their children at all. Many parents, particularly those who are less-acculturated, reported that discussing sex is needed to counter negative influences of U.S. peers and social contexts. Less-acculturated parents reported that machismo may lead Mexican-origin parents to discuss sexuality more often with their daughters than with their sons. These findings emphasize the importance of developing culturally-specific interventions to increase the frequency and effectiveness of parent-teen communication regarding sex.
Title: “Age and Embodied Masculinities: Mid-life Gay and Heterosexual Men Talk about their Bodies”
Abstract: This article examines the ways in which mid-life gay and straight men talk about their bodies. In an analysis of in-depth interviews with 15 gay and 15 heterosexual men ages 40-60, we integrate theoretical work on masculinities, embodiment, and age to examine how age and sexual orientation matter for how men practice embodied masculinities. Findings indicate that middle-aged men experience embodiment in relation to hegemonic masculinities that idealize youthful bodies. However, while mid-life men talk about what their bodies can and cannot do, only mid-life gay men articulate a concern with their bodily appearance. We argue these bodily concerns reflect internal hegemonies between both young and non-young men and gay and straight men. Finally, however, both gay and heterosexual mid-life men articulate an essentialist discourse of masculine sexuality, possibly in an attempt to flatten hierarchies between men.
“Thresholds of Trust: Dynamics of Ethno-Religious Incorporation for Today’s Ghanaian Migrants”
In this paper, I argue that immigrants choose from an array of ethnic and non-ethnic religious options, rather than taking any one religious community for granted as their obvious place of worship. I also argue that that their “choices” are based both on conscious self-interest and on the development of personalized trust with others in a given church, which occurs at a more subliminal level. I describe the particular risks and obstacles which inhibit the building of such trust, and characterize these risks and obstacles as a “trust threshold” that must be overcome for such trust to be established and for individuals to commit to a given ethno-religious community. This concept underlies the cyclical and mutually-reinforcing pattern of the individual’s choice of religious community and the development of trust within that community. It underscores the lag between being peripherally-connected to a given group and being fully-committed to that group, and focuses attention on the building of trust as the process that moves individuals from the former to the latter category.
Manglos, Nicolette D. and Alex Weinreb. “Religion and Political Engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Studies of the role of religion in political outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa have characterized Mission Protestant and Catholic churches as more politicized than Muslims or Pentecostals. However, the shift to multi-party democracy, the expansion of Pentecostal/Charismatic groups across the subcontinent, and the growth of Islamic reform movements over the past 20 years are three factors that make this older characterization potentially obsolete. Further, extant literature on religion and politics in sub-Saharan Africa has been more focused on elite actions than the attitudes and opinions of citizens. In this study, we assess associations between religious identity and political engagement using 2008 Afrobarometer data from 13 countries, and analyze both individual-level and country-level co-factors. Our results show that no one religious group is more or less politically-engaged than any other, and that education, religious activity level, religious minority vs. majority status, and overseas development assistance are all important influences on how religion shapes political engagement for a given religious group in a given context.
“The Structuring Effects of Racial Agency in Peru”
Peruvian race relations have their roots in their past, influenced by the conquest of the indigenous world, the colonial heritage, the creation of the Republic, and the arrival of migration. In this article, I apply a structuralist approach with the purpose of revealing the power of race relations in a nation where racial discrimination, a reality that affects the majority, is often disregarded as irrelevant by the mainstream. This analysis uses the concept of mestizaje as a racial ideology that emphasizes the individual’s agency for negotiating a better racial status. From this perspective, I suggest a different interpretation of the self-reported race variable in order to theoretically integrate it with statistical analysis. I find evidence of higher income for those who can negotiate the mestizo racial status.
“Opportunities for a Few: Pro-market Economic Policies and the Regressive Redistribution of Income”
In this paper I investigate the relationship between pro-market economic policies (i.e., “economic freedom”) and inequality. Using data from 120 countries for the period 1996-2008, the effect of economic freedom on income inequality is estimated including tests for interactions by level of development. In addition, I analyze how economic freedom influences the distribution of income across different income quintiles. The results suggest three conclusions: (1) There is a statistically significant and strongly positive effect of economic freedom on income inequality; (2) There is no evidence suggesting that this effect differs for developed, developing and underdeveloped countries; (3) Economic freedom increases inequality by augmenting the income share held by the richest quintile relative to the lower four quintiles. These findings indicate that pro-market economic policies provide opportunities primarily for privileged groups in the upper quintile of the income distribution.
Ellison, Christopher, Gabriel Acevedo and Aida I. Ramos-Wada. 2011. “Religion and Attitudes toward Same-Sex Marriage among US Latinos.” Social Science Quarterly 92(1):35-56.
Objectives. This study examines links between multiple aspects of religious involvement and attitudes toward same-sex marriage among U.S. Latinos. The primary focus is on variations by affiliation and participation, but the possible mediating roles of biblical beliefs, clergy cues, and the role of religion in shaping political views are also considered.
Methods. We use binary logistic regression models to analyze data from a large nationwide sample of U.S. Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Forum in late 2006.
Results. Findings highlight the strong opposition to same-sex marriage among Latino evangelical (or conservative) Protestants and members of sectarian groups (e.g., LDS), even compared with devout Catholics. Although each of the hypothesized mediators is significantly linked with attitudes toward same-sex marriage, for the most part controlling for them does not alter the massive affiliation/attendance differences in attitudes toward same-sex marriage.
Conclusions. This study illustrates the importance of religious cleavages in public opinion on social issues within the diverse U.S. Latino population. The significance of religious variations in Hispanic civic life is likely to increase with the growth of the Latino population and the rising numbers of Protestants and sectarians among Latinos
Riegle-Crumb, Catherine, Chelsea Moore, and Aida I. Ramos-Wada. 2010. “Who Wants
to Have a Career in Science or Math?: Exploring Adolescents’ Future Aspirations
by Gender, Race/Ethnicity.” Science Education 95(3): 458-476.
Our study utilizes data from a national cohort of eighth-grade students to consider how different gender and racial/ethnic subgroups compare to White males in their likelihood to aspire toward a science or math occupation and examine the roles that self-concept, enjoyment, and achievement may play in shaping disparities at this early point in occupational trajectories. We find that the importance of enjoyment, self-concept, and achievement in explaining disparities in science career aspirations relative to White males varies according to the female subgroup considered, such that no singular story applies to females across different racial/ethnic backgrounds. For math, White and Hispanic females remain approximately half as likely as White males to aspire to a math occupation regardless of all indicators we consider. Finally, Black and Hispanic adolescent boys have generally comparable aspirations toward future careers in science and math as their White male peers, despite notably large differences in achievement. We discuss implications of our results for future research on equity.
Meredith Martin Rountree
“I’ll Make Them Shoot Me”
Accounts of Death Row Prisoners Advocating for Execution
Over 11% of death-sentenced prisoners executed in the United States hastened their own executions by abandoning their appeals. How do these prisoners persuade courts to allow them to abandon their
appeals? Further, how do legal structures and processes organize these explanations, and what do they conceal? An analysis of Texas cases suggests that prisoners marshal explanations for their desires to hasten execution that echo and reinforce prevailing cultural beliefs about the desirability and appropriateness of the death penalty. These accounts, however, are produced within a non-adversarial, unreliable legal process that conceals the social organization producing these narratives.
“Unintended Consequences to Health Reform: Patient Responses to Family Medicine and Village Health Committees in Kyrgyzstan”
Tricia S. Ryan (University of Texas)
Inara Toktomushova (American University of Central Asia)
Our work focuses on the shift from a highly specialized system of care to one of family medicine utilizing Village Health Committees in Kyrgyzstan. While the benefits of the health care reform have been substantial and many are pleased with the results to date, many are unhappy with results and there have been unintended consequences. Based on interviews with patients in 4 settings in rural and urban Kyrgyzstan over 15 months in 2008-2009 we discover unintended consequences to some components of health care reform. For example, while Village Health Committees allow greater community involvement in health, they can also be used as tools of social control, an important consideration in a context only recently removed from the extreme repression of years of Soviet control and currently in the midst of great political and social upheaval. Our work suggests that while we should acknowledge the good work that has been done in Kyrgyzstan, premature judgments may ignore context specific issues and unintended
“Revisiting Malthus for Developed Nations? Non-Poor Population Growth as a Population Characteristic”
Isaac Sasson (University of Texas at Austin)
Arthur Sakamoto (University of Texas-Austin)
Poverty research has made notable progress in recent years, but much of the focus has been on poverty rates viewed in cross-section. In the following analysis, we develop a more enriched demographic perspective that is inspired by Malthus and that considers poverty through a more dynamic lens which incorporates both population growth and immigration. Our study develops measures of non-poverty population growth as a population characteristic which may be viewed as enhancing total human welfare by enlarging the size of the population that is above the poverty line. Decomposition methods then assess the extent to which non-poverty population growth derives from the immigration of low-skilled immigrants who are normally at high risk of poverty in their countries of origin. Applying our methodology to the U.S. states using U.S. Census data from 1990 and 2000, the results generally indicate that fundamentally different population processes may be underlying similar changes in cross-sectional poverty rates. While some states maintained a relatively stable poverty rate, they nonetheless experienced remarkable growth in non-poor natural and foreign populations. In general, the U.S. has experienced during this decade both moderate population growth and an absolute reduction of poverty, while potentially contributing to the alleviation of global poverty.
Neveen Shafeek Amin
“Religiosity and Academic Achievement among Immigrant Adolescents in the U.S: A Review of the Literature”
This study reviews the literature on immigration, sociology, and education concerning the influence of religiosity on educational outcomes of immigrant adolescents in the U.S. I address not only the influence of adolescents’ religiosity, but the influence of their parents’ religiosity as well. Additionally, I discuss how scholars define and measure religiosity and academic achievement. I also discuss the “Segmented Assimilation Theory” and the role of ethnic churches in helping or harming the assimilation process among immigrant groups in the U.S. Factors that might mediate the relationship between religiosity and educational achievement among immigrant adolescents will be addressed. Likewise, I highlight the main conclusions from prior research by addressing their limitations as well as their theoretical and practical implications for future studies. Finally, I conclude with addressing gaps in the literature and offering suggestions for further research.
Callahan, Rebecca and Dara Shifrer. 2011. “High School ESL Placement: Practice, Policy and Effects on Achievement.” Linguistic Minority Students Go to College, edited by Yasuko Kanno and Linda Harklau. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Abstract: Under the Lau decision (1974), schools must ensure a meaningful education for linguistic minority students identified as limited in English proficiency, English learners (ELs). In an attempt to meet these federal requirements, most schools provide linguistic support services, the most common of which is English as a second language (ESL) coursework. However, more than three decades later, substantial gaps in achievement remain. Due perhaps to adherence to the letter rather than the spirit of Lau, acquisition of English currently dominates EL students’ education in U.S. schools. Undoubtedly, English proficiency is necessary for long-term success; however, a narrow linguistic focus leaves ELs at an academic disadvantage. Focusing on preparation for college, this chapter synthesizes findings from a series of studies exploring ELs’ academic preparation and outcomes, focusing on the effects of placement in ESL coursework while accounting for English proficiency and other factors that shape adolescent achievement.
Shifrer, Dara, Chandra Muller, and Rebecca Callahan. 2011. “Disproportionality and Learning Disabilities: Parsing Apart Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Language.” Journal of Learning Disabilities 44(3):246-257.
Abstract: The disproportionate identification of learning disabilities among certain sociodemographic subgroups, typically groups that are already disadvantaged, is perceived as a persistent problem within the education system. The academic and social experiences of students who are misidentified with a learning disability may be severely restricted, whereas students with a learning disability who are never identified are less likely to receive the accommodations and modifications necessary to learn at their maximum potential. The authors use the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to describe national patterns in learning disability identification. Results indicate that sociodemographic characteristics are predictive of identification with a learning disability. Although some conventional areas of disproportionality are confirmed (males and language minorities), differences in socioeconomic status entirely account for African American and Hispanic disproportionality. The discrepancy between the results of bivariate and multivariate analyses confirms the importance of employing multivariate multilevel models in the investigation of disproportionality.
Shifrer, Dara and Rebecca Callahan. 2010. “Technology and Communications Coursework: Facilitating the Progression of Students with Learning Disabilities through High School Science and Math Coursework.” Journal of Special Education Technology 25(3):65-76.
Abstract: Students identified with learning disabilities experience markedly lower levels of science and mathematics achievement than students who are not identified with a learning disability. Seemingly compounding their disadvantage, students with learning disabilities also complete more credits in non-core coursework—traditionally considered nonacademic coursework—than students who are not identified with a learning disability. The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a large national dataset with both regular and special education high school students, is utilized to determine whether credit accumulation in certain types of non-core coursework, such as technology and communications courses, is associated with improved science and math course taking outcomes for students with learning disabilities. Results show that credit accumulation in technology and communications coursework uniquely benefits the science course taking, and comparably benefits the math course taking, of students identified with learning disabilities (LD) in contrast to students who are not identified with learning disabilities.
Shifrer, Dara, Chandra Muller, and Rebecca Callahan. 2010. “Disproportionality: A Sociological Perspective on the Identification by Schools of Students with Learning Disabilities.” Pp. 279-308 in Research in Social Science and Disability Series, Volume 5: Disability as a Fluid State, edited by B. M. Altman and S. Barnartt. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Abstract: The disproportionate identification of learning disabilities among certain socio-demographic subgroups, typically groups who are already disadvantaged, is perceived as a persistent problem within the education system. The academic and social experiences of students who are misidentified with a learning disability may be severely restricted, while students with a learning disability who are never identified are less likely to receive the accommodations and modifications necessary to learn at their maximum potential. In addition to inconsistent definitions of and criteria for diagnosing students with learning disabilities that may result in misdiagnoses, it is feared that discrimination also plays a role. We use the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to describe national patterns in learning disability identification by individual- and school-level characteristics. Our results indicate that socio-demographic characteristics are predictive of being identified with a learning disability. While some conventional areas of disproportionality are confirmed (males and language minorities are more likely to be identified), differences in social class entirely account for black and Hispanic disproportionality. Discrepancy between the results of bivariate and multivariate analyses reaffirm the importance of employing sophisticated methodology in explorations of disproportionality.
Mieke Beth Thomeer (University of Texas), Tetyana Pudrovska (University of Texas at Austin)
“Spousal Mental Health Concordance”
This study integrates theory on health concordance, mental health, gender, and marriage to examine to what degree spouses influence one another’s mental health, specifically their depressive symptoms and drinking behavior. Past research on marital mental health concordance mainly has only examined depression similarity, despite the fact that several studies indicate that psychological distress may present differently for men and women. Thus in this current study we expand on mental health concordance studies by including both depression and drinking behavior as mental health indicators. We use path analytic modeling to analyze 4496 couples from the 1996 wave of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). We find that there is high spousal concordance for depressive symptoms and drinking behavior, though it is stronger for drinking behavior than depressive symptoms. Also, husbands have more influence over their wives’ depressive symptoms and drinking behavior than wives do over their husbands’. The more the wife drinks, the less depressed the husband likely is. These results indicate a need to take a more nuanced look at how depression and drinking behaviors interrelate within a marriage, as well as the importance of carefully considering gender in health concordance studies.
“Push Back: U.S. Immigration Policy, Deportations, and the Reincorporation of Involuntary Return Migrants in Mexico”
Since the 1996 passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Individual Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), Mexico has experienced a massive increase in involuntary return migration. However, the process of social and economic reincorporation of involuntary return migrants in Mexico remains understudied. Based on in-depth field interviews with 35 voluntary and involuntary returnees in four research sites in the central Mexican state of Jalisco during June and June 2010, the findings of this study suggest that while important similarities exist
between voluntary and involuntary return, involuntary return migrants appear to occupy a meaningfully distinctive social category in communities of origin. The findings provide evidence that return migrants maintain strong transnational ties with parents but weaker ties with non-relatives in communities of origin. Furthermore, a combination of factors currently serve to discourage undocumented migrants from return to the U.S. in the near future, including increased monetary cost and physical risks of crossing and decreased
economic opportunities in the U.S. due to the current economic recession. Compared to voluntary returnees, involuntary return migrants appear to experience greater stigma associated with the nature of their return in communities of origin, tend to report more diminished emotional and psychological well-being upon return, and return with greater financial insecurity. The unique challenges of reincorporation for involuntary returnees raise social policy concerns for Mexico as well as immigration policy concerns for the U.S.