Sociology PhDs on the Job Market
- Amelia Branigan
- Kiyona Brewster
- Jeffrey Kosbie
- Elizabeth Onasch
- Jennifer Rosen
- Brian Sargent
- Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott
Areas of Interest:
Social Inequality; Education; Health and Illness; Crime and Deviance; Race and Ethnicity
Amelia Branigan studies the relationship between elements of the physical body and socioeconomic inequality, with a particular focus on education, health, and criminal justice outcomes. Her dissertation, “The Social Relevance of Visible Phenotypical Characteristics for Educational Outcomes,” argues that the visible body is itself a social fact, and that by omitting physical variation from quantitative analysis of inequality, social scientists render invisible systems of inequality that persist within categories such as sex and race. Through three studies using large national datasets, she demonstrates such within-sex and within-race variation in educational performance by phenotype, and offers suggestions for better engaging the visible body in sociological research on inequality. Amelia is currently the Frank H. T. Rhodes Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cornell Population Center at Cornell University, where she has completed a series of papers extending her dissertation work on obesity and educational performance, as well as new studies on the socioeconomic consequences of infertility and the relationship between skin color and criminal justice outcomes. She is currently training in spatial analysis for a new project on how the threat of violence between home and school affects health and education.
I am a PhD candidate in Sociology at Northwestern University where I am also pursuing a certificate in graduate teaching and gender and sexuality studies. My research and teaching interests are in gender, religion, family studies, feminist theory, and qualitative methods. Using ethnography, my research examines how gender and familial roles are defined and maintained within predominantly African American Protestant and Evangelical communities of faith. Data for this research were collected at two congregations that varied by denomination and ideological leaning located in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. I found that evangelical husbands and wives possess strong traditional beliefs about family life especially with regard to work, parenting, and divisions of household labor. I also found that couples employ a number of practical and rhetorical strategies to reconcile negotiations of submission and spousal power with daily routines and religious teachings. Likewise, traditional notions of family life were maintained at each worship site through the use of sermon content; pictures and imagery; informal codes for dress and personal grooming; targeted small group offerings; and in some cases, a gendered use of space. Findings from this work hold implications for larger discussions about the influence of contemporary congregations on African American family life as well as feminist theories about religion and women’s agency.
Contested Identities: A History of LGBT Legal Mobilization and the “Ethics of Impact”
Areas of Interest:
Law and Society, Social Movements, Sexualities, Gender, Inequality, Institutional Theory
My research theorizes law as a field for constructing and contesting identities around gender and sexuality. I study how law creates and perpetuates inequalities and how it is used to challenge inequalities. I address this overarching problem from multiple disciplinary angles. I engage with legal literatures related to constitutional history and theory, civil procedure and federal courts, and queer and feminist legal theory. I engage with sociological literatures related to law and society, social movements, organizations and institutions, and gender and sexualities.
My dissertation uses original data to tell the history of the major LGBT legal organizations. Drawing on extensive interviews and archival research, I argue that internal organizational debates drive strategic decision making processes at these organizations. I received a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant to support this research. Other support includes a dissertation fellowship from the Sexualities Project at Northwestern University and Graduate Research Grant from The Graduate School at Northwestern University.
“Integration through Racialization: A Study of Symbolic Boundaries in the French Reception and Integration Contract"
Areas of Interest:
Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Political Sociology, Comparative and Historical Sociology, Cultural Sociology, and Sociology of Knowledge
I am currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Sociology Department at the New School for Social Research. I am broadly interested in the intersection of race, nationalism, and international immigration, and the social construction and institutional effects of racial and national identities. My dissertation examined the formation of symbolic boundaries, or conceptual differences, in French integration programs for non-EU migrants. I compared how the program draws different combinations of boundaries based on language, religion and culture between the French nation and migrants from three regions: North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia. I traced the historical lineages of these boundaries and showed how the programs serve as sites of racialization, or the reproduction of hierarchical and essentialist notions of difference between Europeans and non-Europeans. The project relied on a combination of qualitative data, including ethnographic fieldwork, interviews with program participants and personnel, content analysis of policy documents, and secondary historical sources. I am currently studying citizenship test preparation courses in New York City in order to build an American comparison case and test the theoretical framework of racialization through symbolic boundaries, which I developed to understand the French context.
I have been awarded several grants and fellowships to support my research, including a Graduate Research Grant from The Graduate School at Northwestern University, a Northwestern University Sociology Research Fellowship, a Doctoral Exchange Fellowship from the L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques and two MacArthur Research Grants. In 2013, I published a book chapter with Marjukka Weide, entitled, “Teaching Integration in France and Finland: A Comparison of National Discourses within Civic Integration Programmes" in a volume which I co-edited with Heidi Vad Jonsson, Saara Pellander, and Mats Wickstrom, entitled, "Migrations and Welfare States: Policies, Discourses, and Institutions," published by the Nordic Centre of Excellence NordWel.
"Explaining Women's Parliamentary Representation: Political Institutions, Development Thresholds, and Gender Equality in National Politics"
Areas of Interest:
Statistics and Mixed Research Methods; Sex and Gender; Political Sociology; International and Comparative Sociology; Intersectionality.
Women’s representation in national legislatures exhibits substantial variation across countries and over time. A particularly surprising aspect of this variation over the past twenty years is that many countries with low levels of socioeconomic development have outpaced developed democracies in enhancing the formal political representation of women. I argue that models designed to explain women’s enhanced representation are actually inadequate when applied to less developed countries, especially African and Latin American post-conflict societies. Using a nested research design, I construct and evaluate an original cross-national, time-series dataset (168 countries from 1992-2010). Next, I conduct two in-depth case studies (Tanzania and France) and 18 abbreviated case comparisons in order to understand how and why the factors identified by the statistical analyses matter.
My results show that two of most important variables identified in the literature -- gender quotas and electoral systems -- have different, even contradictory, effects on women’s political representation across development thresholds. Each component of the nested design provides consistent evidence that socioeconomic development interacts with key causal mechanisms, altering how they affect the political representation of women across levels of development. Given that the under-representation of women in politics may have serious consequences for political agendas, the articulation of women’s interests, and the legitimacy of democratic institutions, my research offers new insight into the best ways to promote gender balance in politics. The results also suggest that universal generalizations derived from large cross-national samples should be interpreted with caution, as they may not adequately represent the effects of key causal mechanisms.
Rosen, Jennifer. 2013. “The Effects of Political Institutions on Women’s Political Representation: a Comparative Analysis from 1992-2010.” Political Research Quarterly. 66(2): 306-321. http://prq.sagepub.com/content/66/2/306.abstract
Rosen, Jennifer. Forthcoming, June 2014. “Gender & Political Representation.” Network News. Sociologists for Women in Society: Lawrence, KS.
Rosen, Jennifer. “Gender Quotas for Women in National Politics: A Comparative Analysis across Development Thresholds.” Under review at Social Problems as of May. 27, 2014.
Rosen, Jennifer. 2005. “1979 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights.” GLBT History. Salem Press: Pasadena, CA.
Honorable Mention, Political Research Quarterly Best Article Published in 2013. Western Political Science Association.
Northwestern University Presidential Fellowship (2010-2012)
Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies Travel Grant (2011, 2009)
Northwestern University Research Improvement Grant (2011)
Graduate Dissertation Research Grant (2009)
Robert F. Winch Award for Outstanding Second Year Paper (2008)
Northwestern University Frisen Grant (2007, 2008)
"Enemies will be made: Organizational identity, governance, and community development policy implementation”
Areas of Interest:
Policy Implementation, Organizations, Urban Sociology, Economic Sociology, Political Sociology, Critical Theory
I am broadly interested in the intersection of organizational studies, policy implementation, politics and urban sociology. I have a particular interest in governance decisions made by organizations attempting to directly address systemic inequality in new ways. These attempts, whether successful or not, can contribute to scholarly understandings of the politics of policy implementation. My work also aims to directly address practical concerns in the fields of policy implementation and public management.
My dissertation examines the Federal Reserve’s early efforts to implement the anti-redlining enforcement policy, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, with a specific focus on the relationship between organizational identity and governance in the policy implementation process. Most scholarship on the first decade of the CRA has characterized it as an ineffectual and inconsequential policy intervention. However, while it was unable to successfully enforce anti-redlining laws to increase access to credit among low- and moderate-income households, it was not without considerable influence. I demonstrate that the Fed's efforts to implement the CRA played an integral role in the injection of powerful market-based ideologies into community development politics. This finding is revealed through a unique analytical approach that emphasizes the roles of institutionally marginalized actors and seriously considers their influence in the policy implementation process. By focusing on the consequences of bureaucratic governance as a subjective experience, this project challenges standard paradigms of community development politics and complicates our understandings of bureaucratic governance.
"Geographies of Knowledge and Identity: Everyday Lived Experience and Features of the Home, Community, and Land, in a Post-Nomadic Arctic Hamlet"
Areas of Interest:
Space/Place, Culture, Identity, Symbolic Interaction, Boundaries, STS, Qualitative Methods
Lisa-Jo van den Scott’s dissertation examines the experiences of space and place, identity, and knowledge transmission in a Canadian Inuit hamlet. Permanent housing, and thus permanent walls, have only been introduced to this population within the last 50 years. Van den Scott examines how they relate to their walls and engage in identity maintenance and performance. She finds that living within the Western walls, apart from the locus of traditional knowledge, impacts how the Inuit not only perform identity work, but also relate to their own sense of ethnic identity, creating an awareness of knowledge and identity as interlinked. Having lived among the Inuit for five years, and having returned for additional research trips, van den Scott uses a combination of ethnography and formal interviews, as well as innovative uses of photography and cognitive mapping.
Van den Scott currently holds a postdoc in Visual Sociology and is working on a project entitled "Making/Re-Making Canadian Families," which explores family photography and "doing family." In addition, she is the treasurer for the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. She and Andrea Doucet are heading up this year's Qualitative Analysis Conference at Brock University. Van den Scott is also an associate editor for The Journal of Research on Human Research Ethics (JERHRE).
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. Forthcoming. “Mundane Technology in non-Western Contexts: Wall-as-Tool” in Sociology of Home: Belonging, Community and Place in the Canadian Context. Laura Suski, Joey Moore, and Gillian Anderson, eds. Canadian Scholars Press International.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K., and Deborah K. van den Hoonaard. Forthcoming. “The Origins and Evolution of ‘Master Status.’” in Everett C. Hughes. Rick Helmes-Hays and Marco Santoro, eds. Anthem Press.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. In press. “Graduate Ethics and Graduate Ethics Boards: Socialization of Contemporary Students by Ethics Boards” in The Ethics Rupture. Ann Hamilton and Will C. van den Hoonaard, eds. University of Toronto Press.
van den Scott , Lisa-Jo K. 2015. “Introduction to the Special Issue. Qualitative Analysis Conference 2014: The Social Construction of Boundaries: Creating, Maintaining, Transcending, and Reconstituting Boundaries.” Qualitative Sociology Review. 11(3):6-9.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K., Clare Forstie, and Savina Balasubramanian. 2014. “Shining Stars, Blindsides, and “Real” Realities: Exit Rituals, Eulogy Work, and Allegories in Reality Television.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. DOI: 10.1177/0891241614545879
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. 2014. “Beyond the Time Crunch: New Directions in the Sociology of Time and Work.” Sociology Compass. 8(5):478-490.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. 2013. “Working with Aboriginal Populations: An Attitude of Learning.” Planning Ethically Responsible Research 2nd Ed.. Joan Sieber and Martin Tolich, eds. Sage. P. 128-129.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. 2012. “Science, Politics, and Identity in Northern Research Ethics Licensing.” Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics. 7(1):28-36.
Fine, Gary Alan and Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott. 2011. “Wispy Communities: Transient Gathering and Imagined Micro-Communities.” American Behavioral Scientist. 55(10):1319-1335.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. 2011. Book Review: The Sea Woman: Sedna in Inuit Shamanism and Art in the Eastern Arctic by Frédéric Laugrand and Jarich Oosten. Northern Review. 33:168-170.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. 2009. “Cancelled, Aborted, Late, Mechanical: The Vagaries of Air Travel in Arviat, Nunavut, Canada” in The Cultures of Alternative Mobilities: Routes Less Travelled. Phillip Vannini, ed. Surrey: Ashgate. P. 211-226.
van den Scott, Lisa-Jo K. 2009. “Inuit Wedding Ceremony.” in Canadian Families Today. David Cheal, ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press. P. 120-121.
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