May 1, 2007

Sara Babb (Boston College)

April 24, 2007

Jukka Savolainen

The literature on criminal careers underscores the role of adult social bonds as an important source of desistance. Two institutional contexts appear particularly critical in this regard: work and family. American research on prisoner re-entry suggests that incarceration may entail detrimental consequences for marital and employment outcomes. The purpose of this study is to extend similar questions to a national context characterized by a supportive welfare state and a comparatively lenient sentencing culture. Drawing on data from Finland, I examine individual-level effects of sentencing outcomes on family attainment, divorce, unemployment, and recidivism.

April 17, 2007

John Sutton (University of California - Santa Barbara)

April 3, 2007

Scott Eliason, Eric Tranby, and Jeylan Mortimer

March 27, 2007

Ann Meier, Kathy Hull, and Tim Ortyl

Expectations and desires for marriage have changed in recent decades along with changes in the prevalence, timing, and character of marriage and cohabitation. At the same time, same-sex marriage has emerged high on the policy agenda at the local, state, and national levels. In this project we assess relationship values and desires for marriage among a recent cohort of young adults interviewed in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We investigate differences in relationship values and desires for marriage between heterosexuals and sexual minorities and among sexual minorities between gays and lesbians. Further, we compare values and desires for marriage among sexual minorities with those of racial and ethnic minorities who also face barriers to entry into marriage. Preliminary findings indicate that compared to heterosexuals, sexual minorities hold more accepting relationship values, and they are less likely to desire marriage.

Arturo Biaocchi and Teresa Swartz

This exploratory project sought to examine the potential of investigating trends in foster care, and child welfare and social services in general, from different theoretical and empirical perspectives. In the form of open-ended interviews we wanted to explore recent trends in child welfare related to privatization, manage-care and marketization, and elucidate the context in which social workers, agency directors and county workers view these changes.

At this point we are still reviewing the data gathered in these interviews and analyzing the ways in which social workers frame the work they do, and the institutional arrangements that define contracts between county and private providers. We are also conceptualizing how the interviews speak to the implications elucidated in the Medical Anthropology literature related to managed care and social services. We hope to flesh out this analysis in the form of an exploratory paper to publish. Below are some of the key points of our findings.

A) There are clear signs that economic and social markets have continued to merge since the era of welfare reform. The idea that interventions in child welfare will benefit from the overt medicalization and marketizaltion of services seem embedded in the social worker discourse for improving the effectiveness of such services. The dynamics of manage care seem significant in this regard.

B) Agency directors are aware of interagency competition for county contracts and consequently "market" themselves by advertising their use of "program performance data" to ensure "efficiency." This discourse is grounded in the broader context for a drive toward evidence-based practices intertwined with market structures in the field. A sub-market for evidence-based consulting has evolved in the wake of agencies seeking evidence-based certification, as such certification is a marketable asset.

C) County representatives and agency directors had interesting interpretations regarding the issue and significance of collecting performance data. Certainly, collecting performance measures "seems to be the way things are going," though it is unclear what actual significance agencies ascribe to this data. It is also interesting that agency directors could give examples of how performance goals may not always be aligned with client well-being, though they nonetheless feel the need to measure their work in this fashion.

D) Despite our concerns, there are clear positives for using Medicaid funds to support child welfare. As agency directors shared with us, such funds have allowed for creative and flexible interventions to use with
families. Also, the use of Medicaid pays credence to a universalism for preventative service provision. Children and families covered by Medicaid are eligible for preventative support services that they would otherwise no receive, unless serious abuse had been discovered (which many social workers feel is a stage when things have already gone too far). Nonetheless, using Medicaid services may re-orient the way such services are administered and practiced.

March 22, 2006 (Thursday)

Myra Marx Ferree (UW-Madison)

March 6, 2007

Pao Lee and Doug Hartmann

In previous work (with Teresa Swartz), we have argued that more qualitative, cultural data and methods are required to properly understand segmented assimilation in contemporary American society. We have also suggested that the Hmong in Minnesota present an important and revealing empirical case because of their unique social characteristics and location in the racial landscape. In this paper, the precursor to Lee’s dissertation research, we develop and expand this argument focusing on the value of studying Hmong popular cultural practices. More specifically, we will discuss the methodological benefits of the ethnographic study of popular cultural forms (especially for youth and young adult populations) and explain the racial logic and theory that makes hip-hop and import racing particularly salient for this project. Some key findings from Lee’s preliminary fieldwork will also be presented to illustrate these claims and their broader social and theoretical implications.

February 27, 2007

Yanjie Bian

How do social networks matter for labor market outcomes? Recent critiques identify design deficiencies of previous empirical studies that used probably misguided measures of tie strength and contact characteristics as predictors of the network effect on wage income. Building on network theories and the research of transitional China, in this paper we propose three causal mechanisms--favor, matching, and structural holes--by which network contacts transmit information and influence that in turn result in higher wage income of Chinese workers who used contacts to find jobs than those who did not. In a 1999 random sample of the general population of five Chinese cities (N=4350), 59% of the respondents found their current or last jobs through social contacts who provided job information (32%) or more concrete favors (38%), or both (21%). The concrete favors include delivering applications, face-to-face recommendations, setting up informal interviews, and the like, and they have an immediate impact on a higher initial salary for favor-receiving workers. In addition, these favors and the information transmitted both have a long-term, positive impact on wage income by ways of assigning the workers into jobs that better match worker qualifications to the job requirements of skill training and work experience, and into positions that give the occupants a greater diversity of organizational and market connections to earnings opportunities. The significance of these network effects is discussed within the institutional context of China and beyond.

February 20, 2007

C. Matthew Snipp (Stanford University)

In 1997, the US Office of Management and Budget introduced a new standard for the classification of race and ethnicity. The revised standard acknowledged sweeping social changes taking place in the nation, particularly immigration, ethnic inter-marriage, and growing numbers of persons who claimed more than one racial heritage. This has led some observers to predict that the multiracial population would become a fast growing and increasingly large part of the American ethnic mosaic. This presentation will review these trends and the claims made about them with data from the 2000 decennial census and recent releases of the American Community Survey.

February 13, 2007

Rhys Williams (University of Cincinnati)

February 6, 2007

J. Michael Oaks (Division of Epidemiology and Community Health)

Identification and estimation of the independent effect of (neighborhood) contexts on behavior and health outcomes remains, as one distinguished sociologist put it, the Holy Grail of social science. Whereas most sociologists seem to have headed the early cautions and warning of methodologists such as Hauser, and Blalock and others, the emergence of the so-called multilevel regression model was seen by many outside sociology as a tool to overcome early concerns. This seems especially true in epidemiology, where it seems fair to say that multilevel models are 'all the rage', despite hard-hitting criticism from Oakes and a handful of economists such as Durlauf and Blume. Unlike sociologists who seem to appreciate much of the complexity involved, contemporary (social) epidemiologists appear remarkably unaware of key issues such as residential segregation, the culture of poverty, social stratification, and social interaction. This talk will address these issues from a methodological perspective, and show that if it is to be of any use, epidemiological inquiry into neighborhood contextual effects must incorporate sociological research and understanding.

January 30, 2007

Robin Stryker and Pamela Ward

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) eliminated the entitlement to assistance put in place by the 1935 Social Security Act, replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Although the PRWORA eliminated part of the social safety net, its supporters argued that the reform was compassionate and would benefit welfare recipients. Much has been written about the politics of federal welfare reform, but the role played by redefining compassion so that this cultural value could be associated plausibly with welfare reform legislation largely has been overlooked. This paper provides a combination of historical narrative and systematic content analysis to document both the content of that redefinition and the processes through which it occurred.

Building on literature on the role of values and frames in public policy making and the role of ideas in institutional change, we suggest that defining welfare reform as compassionate was an important part of successfully legislating the PRWORA. In turn, defining welfare reform as compassionate required redefining an abstract and general value—compassion—seen as important to welfare policy making and debate in the United States. For 60 years—and even as support for “big government? eroded and reformers increasingly sought to attack welfare programs for perversely discouraging work and promoting dependency—federal welfare policy and debates over it embodied a “traditional? value of compassion. Compassion expressed itself through long term institutionalization of, and bipartisan commitment to, a need-based entitlement to public assistance as a “safety net? for the “truly needy.? In a few short years in the early 1990s, welfare reformers succeeded in redefining this “traditional? definition of compassion so that a substantial segment of the political elite equated compassion with reduced government assistance, decreased welfare rolls, government fiscal constraint and promoting increased individual responsibility. Although compassion still meant caring for children and caring for each other, the federal government was incapable of compassion, caring for children required parental responsibility, and people could only care for each other through personal involvement and interaction within the community. The redefinition of compassion removed the final set of barriers to passage of the PRWORA. As well, the redefinition of compassion in Congressional debates about welfare reform during the Clinton era facilitated the appeal of George W. Bush’s rhetoric of “compassionate conservatism? in his 2000 election campaign.

January 25, 2007 (Thursday)

John Mohr (University of California-Santa Barbara)

What is an institution? How can social scientists measure the structures, properties, dynamics and effects of institutional forms? After a long period of retrenchment during which the concept of institutions was present as a more of a background notion than an object of measurement, beginning some 25 years ago the new institutionalist movement brought the empirical analysis of institutional forms back to the agenda of formal modelers. What have we learned about the modeling of institutions in the meantime? What are the key concepts and problems for formal measurement approaches to institutional forms? In this talk, Professor Mohr will review some of the current issues in the field, focusing in particular on two questions (1) how the formal analysis of discourse and meaning structures figures in the analysis of institutional forms and (2) how the analysis of dialectical and duality relationships is central to advances in this area of research.

January 23, 2007

Philip Kasinitz (CUNY)

January 16, 2007

Jesse Wozniak and Chris Uggen

This presentation centers on an examination of masculinity formation in the police subculture. Using first-hand ethnographic accounts of a major non-lethal weapons manufacturer's annual sales and educational conference, I explore how the introduction of "less-masculine" weapons are marketed to coalesce with the hypermasculine police subculture. Connell's (1995) theories of masculinity are tested to understand how such a tightly-defined subculture absorbs such challenges to its core values and re-imagines itself to keep those core values intact.

 

January 16, 2007
Jesse Wozniak and Chris Uggen
Real Men Use Non-Lethals: Masculinity and the Framing of Police Weaponry

January 23, 2007
Philip Kasinitz (CUNY)
Inheriting the City: Second Generation Immigrants Come of Age

January 25,2007 - Note: this is a Thursday
John Mohr (University of California - Santa Barbara)
On Meaning, Measurement and Institutional Analysis

January 30, 2007
Robin Stryker
Toward a Framework for Assessing the Utility of Frames

February 6, 2007
J. Michael Oakes (Division of Epidemiology and Community Health)
Neighborhood Effects on Health: WHy Epidemiology Needs More Sociology

February 13, 2007
Rhys Williams (University of Cincinnati)
Immigration, National Identity, and the Good Society

February 20, 2007
C. Matthew Snipp
Counting the Multiracial Population of the United States

February 27, 2007
Yanjie Bian
Favor, Matching, and Structural Holes: Network Effects on Work Earnings in China

March 6, 2007
Pao Lee and Doug Hartmann
Culture, Habitus and Segmented Assimilation: The Case of Hmong Import Racing

March 20, 2007
Katherin Flower Kim
Love Connections: The Dating Experiences of Asian and Asian Americans

March 23, 2007 - Note: This is a Friday
Laren B. Edelman (UC - Berkeley), Linda H. Krieger (UC - Berkeley), Scott R. Eliason, Catherine R. Albiston (UC - Berkeley), and Virginia Mellema (EEOC)
When Organizations Rule: Judicial Deference to Instituionalized Employment Structures

March 27, 2007
Arturo Baiocchi and Teresa Swartz
Privatization, Welfare Reform and the New Business of Foster Care: An Examination of Market-Oriented Discourse in Current Child Welfare

April 3, 2007
Scott Eliason, Eric Tranby and Jeylan Mortimer
Market Attainments over the Early Life Course: Evidence from the Youth Development Study

April 10, 2007
Penny Edgell and Danielle Docka
Ideals of Family and Gender in Diverse Religious Communities

April 17, 2007
Ann Meier, Kathy Hull, and Tim Ortyl
Relationship Values and Gender in Diverse Religious Communities

April 24, 2007
Jukka Savolainen (National Research Institute for Legal Policy, Helsinki, Finland)
Recidivism and Reintegration: The Specific Effects of Sentencing on Employment, Family and Crime

May 1, 2007
Enid Logan
Marking and Unmarking Race: Unraveling the Logic of Social Ascription in Cuban Catholic Marital Records, 1899-1940