SOCIOLOGY SEMINAR SERIES 2015/2016

Jennifer Lee (University of California-Irvine)
Tuesday September 8, 2:00-3:00 (ANSO 207)
“The Asian American Achievement Paradox”

[This talk is part of the Department of Sociology’s Academic Launch 2015.]
Asian Americans are frequently deployed as racial mascots by conservative pundits who fixate on their academic success, which they attribute to Asian cultural traits and values. Drawing from her new co-authored book, The Asian American Achievement Paradox, Jennifer Lee explains how this facile explanation fails to consider the pivotal role that U.S. immigration law has had in ushering in a new stream of highly-educated, highly-skilled Asian immigrants. Their “hyper-selectivity” means that their second-generation children begin their quest to get ahead from more favorable “starting points.” Hyper-selectivity also has social psychological consequences: Asian Americans benefit from positive stereotypes and biases, which can result in “stereotype promise”- the social psychological boost in performance that comes with being perceived by teachers, guidance counselors, and peers as smart and high-achieving. These positive stereotypes, however, are a double-edged sword, and make those who do not attain high academic outcomes feel like failures and ethnic outliers. Moreover, the very same stereotypes that can boost Asian American students’ academic performance can work against them as they vie for leadership positions as find themselves trying to break through a “bamboo ceiling.” This is the burden of the model minority trope.

 

Jason Beckfield (Harvard University)
Tuesday September 22, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 2107)
“Sociological Theory & Population Health”

Social inequalities in health endure, but also vary, through space and time. Building on research that documents the durability and variability of health inequality, recent research has turned toward the welfare state as a major explanatory factor in the search for causes of health inequality. With the aims of (1) creating an organizing framework for this new scholarship, (2) developing the fundamental-cause approach to social epidemiology, and (3) integrating insights from social stratification and health inequalities research, we propose an institutional theory of health inequalities. Our institutional theory conceptualizes the welfare state as an institutional arrangement – a set of ‘rules of the game’ – that distributes health. Drawing on the institutional turn in stratification scholarship, we identify four mechanisms that connect the welfare state to health inequalities by producing and modifying the effects of the social determinants of health. These mechanisms are: redistribution, compression, mediation, and imbrication (or overlap). We describe how our framework organizes comparative research on the social determinants of health, and we identify new hypotheses our framework implies.

 

Sarah Brayne (University of Texas-Austin)
Tuesday October 6, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 134)
“Stratified Surveillance: Policing in the Age of Big Data”

In the wake of 9/11, federal agencies provided considerable funding to state and local law enforcement agencies to collect, analyze, share and deploy a wide range of new data. Increasingly, local law enforcement agencies recognized these data could be useful in their own daily operations. The rise of “big data” raises a host of questions about the social implications of new surveillance technologies and analytic practices. In my research, I analyze the use of big data within the Los Angeles Police Department by conducting interviews with sworn officers and civilian employees in area and specialized divisions, and at the regional intelligence center. I also conducted observations in police units on ride alongs to study how officers deploy data in the field. I focus on the organizational transformations associated with the adoption of big data analytics, how the police themselves contest the use of big data, and the ways in which predictive analytics relate to social inequalities.

 

Tina Fetner (McMaster University)

Tuesday January 12, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 134)
“Changing Minds about Lesbian & Gay Rights: Culture, Policy, & Activism”

Kaspar Naegele Memorial Lecture, 2016

Attitudes toward lesbian and gay people are changing rapidly in recent decades, but like any social phenomenon, these changes are not universally embraced, but rather are uneven across social contexts. What social forces promote more positive attitudes toward lesbian and gay people? I consider three connected factors: social movement activity, anti-discrimination policy, and social connections to lesbian and gay people. I compare Canada with the United States, and I consider differences among U.S. states.

 

Lynn Prince-Cooke (University of Bath)
Tuesday February 2, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 134)
“Resuming the Revolution: Wage Impact of Domestic Tasks among Married U.S. Women and Men”

Specialization and time availability theories suggest competing hypotheses as to the wage impact of domestic tasks across wives’ and husbands’ wage distributions, with divergent implications for gender equality. To test them, we pool 2010-12 American Time Use Survey data and use unconditional semi-parametric regressions to estimate the impact of childcare and routine and non-routine housework at different percentiles of married men’s and women’s wage distributions. The pattern of effects among wives supports the time availability perspective, whereas specialization effects dominate among husbands. All wives incur penalties for routine housework performed on employment days, but only the highest-wage husbands incur significant wage penalties for time doing any type of housework regardless of when it is performed. Contrary to either theory, childcare time on employment days predicts no significant wage penalty, whereas childcare time on non-employment days predicts a wage premium for wives and husbands in the middle of the wage distribution. These market effects support continuing progress toward equality in household divisions of unpaid work for all but the highest-wage men, but not with a commensurate reduction in gender wage gaps.

 

Prema Kurien (Syracuse University)
Tuesday February 23, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 2107)
“The Incorporation of South Asian Minorities in Canada & the United States”

My presentation will draw on ongoing research to examine two minority religious groups of South Asian origin (Hindus and Sikhs) that have broadly similar patterns of migration to Canada and the United States and have close ties with their compatriots across the border, but yet manifest divergent activism profiles around North American as well as homeland issues. My presentation will examine how different opportunity structures (both national and local), and differences in the characteristics of the groups, shape how they frame their grievances and mobilize. It also aims to uncover the factors that influence the form that their mobilization takes, specifically, whether it is “ethnic,” “racial,” or “religious.” Focusing on Hindu and Sikh communities and advocacy organizations serving these groups in Toronto, Vancouver, New York/New Jersey, and northern California, this project is being conducted both through interviews and analysis of available information about the organizations.

 

Omar Lizardo (University of Notre Dame)
Tuesday March 1, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 134)
“Linking Position & Perception: How Social Location Shapes the Presumed Characteristics of Genre Audiences”

Traditional models in the sociology of taste are designed to explain the linkage between social position and either patterns of cultural choice (e.g. consumption of certain genre categories) or patterns of aesthetic judgments (likes and dislikes for certain cultural goods). Drawing on field theory, balance theory, and recent work on stereotypes and social judgment, we propose that the link between social position and cultural choice may be mediated by socially patterned perceptions of who the “typical fan” of certain genre category is likely to be. However, due to the lack of appropriate data, we know very little about whether “stereotypical” perceptions linking types of cultural goods to perceived consumer types vary by social position, and if so how they vary. Using a novel data source containing both information about audience socio-demographic categories and their perception of the typical fans of 20 musical genres across 11 status characteristics (e.g. class, race, gender, age, etc.), we show that perceptions of audience stereotype vary by social position, and they do so in systematic ways.

 

Judith Stacey (New York University)
Tuesday April 5, 11:00-12:30 (ANSO 134)
“Studying Global Family & Gender Upheavals: Post-Retirement Reflections & Provocations”

Judith Stacey is a  recently retired member of the first generation of feminists who simultaneously transformed traditional academic disciplines and initiated interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies programs into the academy. She will discuss the major empirical and theoretical interventions of her own research on radical upheavals in gender and family patterns in North America, South Africa and China and will comment on their implications for sociology of gender and family today.