Sociology PhDs on the Job Market
- Elisabeth Anderson
- Kelly Iwanaga Becker
- Amelia Branigan
- Kiyona Brewster
- Daphne Demetry
- Natalia Forrat
- Dawna Goens
- Theodore (Theo) Greene
- Jeong (Charlie) Kim
- Jeff Kosbie
- Jessica Koski
- Amy Myrick
- Elizabeth Onasch
- Cassidy Puckett
- Jennifer Rosen
- Brian Sargent
- Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott
- Jill Weinberg
- Christine Wood
“Policy Entrepreneurs and Institutional Change: The Politics of Nineteenth-Century Child Labor Reform in Germany and the U.S.”
Areas of Interest:
Comparative/historical sociology, political sociology, sociology of childhood and youth, welfare states and social policy, gender, and theory.
My core research goal is to develop a historically grounded theoretical understanding of why states devote resources to protecting groups that seem politically, economically, and socially powerless. My dissertation explores this question through an analysis of the political origins and development of nineteenth-century child labor regulation and factory inspection in Germany and the United States. Through four case studies, two in each country, I find that these policies came about not as a direct result of industrialization, working-class mobilizations, or institutional feedbacks—as existing sociological theories of social policy change propose—but as a consequence of elite policy entrepreneurs’ dedicated reform advocacy. Relying on in-depth inductive analysis of archival materials and published primary and secondary sources, I explicate the culturally-embedded ideas that informed these reformers’ understanding of the child labor problem and motivated their political action. Furthermore, I identify the alliance-building strategies through which they forged coalitions to overcome political barriers and successfully effect institutional change. On the basis of this analysis I develop a theoretical model of policy change which challenges existing theories of the welfare state by bringing actors, their ideas, and their creative political action to the fore. I use the model to show that similar policy outcomes need not have the same social-structural causes, and that the link between social-structural conditions and institutional change depends on the mediating intervention of agents who exercise judgment, creativity, and choice. I have published two single-authored papers in Theory and Society, the more recent of which won the Charles Tilly prize for best article from the ASA’s Comparative and Historical Sociology section. My other publications appear in Social Science History and Contemporary Sociology.
Areas of Interest:
Social Inequality; Sociology of Education; Race and Ethnicity; Sociology of Health and Illness.
Amelia Branigan studies the relationship between elements of the physical body and socioeconomic inequality, with a particular focus on educational disparities. 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 social categories such as sex and race. She uses educational performance outcomes to assess the sociological relevance of two visible physical characteristics—skin color and body fat— addressing challenges of accurate measurement and of variation in the salience of these characteristics across cohorts. Through three studies using large national datasets, she demonstrates such within-sex and within-race variation in educational attainment and achievement by phenotype, and offers suggestions for better engaging the visible body in sociological research on inequality. The first of these studies is forthcoming in Social Science Research. A second line of work assesses the environmental contingence of the relationship between genes and educational attainment, and a meta-analysis of estimates of the heritability of attainment across sex, nation, and birth cohort is forthcoming in Social Forces. Amelia was a fellow of the Institute for Education Sciences’ Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences, and completed a second interdisciplinary certificate program in Society, Biology, and Health as part of Northwestern University’s Cells to Society Center.
"Episodic Organizations: Survival and Continuity of Pop-up Restaurants and Underground Supper Clubs"
Areas of Interest:
Culture, Organizational Theory, Economic Sociology, Consumers and Consumption, Entrepreneurship, Food Studies, and Ethnographic Methods
My research and teaching interests include culture, organizational theory, economic sociology, consumption, and entrepreneurship. I investigate these issues primarily through ethnographic methods and the case study of the culinary industry.
My dissertation work investigates a central paradox of organizational studies: how does an organization maintain continuity when the environment it inhabits is in perpetual change? To answer this question I investigate what I call "episodic organizations," defined as a repeating, temporary and project-based form of doing business. I examine two archetypal episodic organizations that have gained increased attention in the culinary realm: pop-up restaurants and underground supper clubs. These organizations are temporary social dining establishments which operate in non-restaurant spaces, akin to a paid dinner party. I am studying the puzzle of pop-up and supper club endurance: how does an episodic organization endure and thrive despite its transitory nature? I draw from ethnographic participant observation and interview data across Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and San Francisco to examine the mechanisms that enable episodic organizations to maintain flux and stability. In addition, I investigate the entrepreneurial transition from running a pop-up or supper club organization to a permanent business.
Areas of Interest:
Urban/Community Sociology; Sociology of Sexualities; Race, Class, and Gender; Social Movements
Theo Greene is a doctoral candidate in Sociology and a graduate certificate candidate in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. He holds a BA in English/History from Georgetown University and a MA from Northwestern. His research and teaching interests include urban/community sociology, sociology of sexualities, culture, race, class, and gender. His dissertation, “Not in MY Gayborhood: Gay Neighborhoods and the Rise of the Vicarious Citizen,” draws primarily on ethnographic, archival, and interview data collected from gay neighborhoods in Washington, DC, to develop a framework for understanding how community actors legitimate claims of ownership to a neighborhood community in the absence of residential, network, and material ties. In the context of gay neighborhoods, vicarious citizens represent a diversity of racial, socio-economic, and aged-based populations who legitimate their membership in community through a sense of shared identity with the local area and their participation in the social, cultural, and political life of the community. As a result, these stakeholders retain differing and sometimes conflicting perspectives on the functions of gay neighborhoods. Moreover, I use vicarious citizen to complicate prevailing theories on the declining salience of neighborhoods. The ever-changing composition of gay neighborhoods has not diminished their importance for many LGBT citizens who seek residence outside of them; those who claim vicarious citizenship engage in a variety of practices to protect their interests when their visions of community are threatened.
During his time at Northwestern, Theo has served in a variety of committees, including the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee for the University’s Strategic Planning Committee, the Presidential Inaugural Committee for President Morton Shapiro, and the LGBTQI Network, the Graduate Leadership Council (where Theo served as chair for two years) and the Queer Pride Graduate Student Association (where Theo served as President for three years). As President of NU’s Queer Pride Graduate Student Association, he co-founded Queertopia! An Academic Festival: one of the nation’s first multi-disciplinary graduate student sexualities conferences.
“Access to the Nation: Racialization and the French Reception and Integration Contract”
Areas of Interest:
Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Comparative and Historical Sociology, Cultural Sociology, and Sociology of Knowledge
My dissertation examines the construction of national and racial identities in French civic integration programs for non-EU migrants. As EU member states increasingly require non-EU migrants to complete integration programs, it is important to understand how these programs represent the national communities to which migrants are required conform. By identifying the colonial origins of the programs' representations of the nation and the targeted populations, I argue that civic integration programs are the site of contemporary processes of racialization and boundary-drawing. The project relies on a combination of qualitative data, including an ethnography of the civic integration program, interviews with program participants and personnel, content analysis of policy documents, and secondary historical sources. In addition to locating the development of the French program within the broader context of EU governance, I compare the representations and experiences in the French program of migrants from three different regions –North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia. This comparison allows me to detail how different historical relationships with France affect the contemporary representations of different migrants. I also identify how the program represents different groups of migrants as being separated from the French by different constellations of symbolic boundaries, which appear to be more or less difficult to cross. The findings from this dissertation speak to the definition of European national identities in a context of increasing racial diversity and transnationalism and the translation of these definitions into policy.
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"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)
Areas of Interest:
Space/Place, Culture, Identity, Symbolic Interaction, 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 use their walls to express identity, as a locus for collective memory, for storage, and for privacy. She attends to changing conceptions of public and private, symbolically connected interior spaces, and how the divisions of rooms have affected the transmission of family as well as gendered knowledge. In addition, she finds that living within the 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.
Jill D. Weinberg
"The Regulation of Legal Consent: Policing Good and Pain"
Areas of Interest: Sociology of Law; Deviance; Gender & Sexuality; Death; Medicine; Research Methods; Social Movements.
Jill D. Weinberg is a sociologist, lawyer, and a Research Associate at the American Bar Foundation whose research examines the social construction of consent in communities that lie at the margins of law. In 2014-15, she will be a Visiting Assistant Professor at DePaul University where she will teach courses on deviant behavior, research methods, gender, and death.
Her dissertation-to-book project explores the relationship between law and culture in the construction of consent. The project, funded by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, as well as Northwestern University, is a study based on two years of ethnographic research and 92 semi-structured interviews of participants involved in activities where consenting to pain and injury is central to the activity but carry different legal statuses under criminal battery law: illegal sexual sadomasochism (BDSM) and legally permitted mixed martial arts (MMA). When the law proscribes a person’s consent to an activity, consent is constructed and regulated by the participants engaged in the conduct. By contrast, when law recognizes a person’s consent in an activity, consent becomes constructed and regulated by an authority rather than by participants themselves. And, where consent does not enjoy the force of law, participants are – paradoxically – safer.
She has published eight articles in journals, including Sociological Methods & Research, Sociological Science, and Law & Social Inquiry. She is a regular a contributor for the "Huffington Post," and the “The Life of the Law,” a multimedia program devoted to discussions about law in everyday life. Opinion editorials based on her research have appeared in outlets such as the “Talking Points Memo,” "Truth-Out," and “the Advocate,” the largest U.S. circulating magazine devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues (LGBT).
“Making Gender Matter. Gendered Opportunities, Contested Research Objects, and the Making of an Interdisciplinary Field: Women’s and Gender Studies in American Universities, 1970-2010”
Areas of Interest:
Sociology of Culture; Sociology of Knowledge/Science; Sociology of Gender; Theory.
My dissertation examines the development of research programs on women and gender in American universities since 1970. Knowledge production about gender has been shaped by complex historical transitions impacting higher education, as well as “ecological” conditions within individual programs and universities. Women’s studies programs began with similar intellectual goals: to address the lack of scholarship on women and sex stratification in traditional disciplines and to produce research on women. As interdisciplinary units spread scholars with varied perspectives on gender analysis redefined the focus of programs across institutions, incorporating diverse topics like masculinity and sexual orientation, leading to plural research agendas across contexts. The diversification of research agendas and program structures is the result of evolving ecological differences across local contexts, as well as the intellectually “supple” quality of objects of analysis like “women” and “gender,” which can be defined and used in different ways. My argument that programs began with homogenous content and became more distinct contributes a new model of disciplinary and organizational development. The argument is distinct from “new institutional” models which see organizations as increasingly homogenous despite distinct structural origins, as well as traditional models that see organizations as bearing the structural imprints of the their origins over time. I also present a case of “gendered” opportunities in academic research professions, by explaining how women’s studies programs opened opportunities for scholars to conduct research on women, gender, and sexuality and to pursue research careers in these areas. Data are archival records from 11 women’s and gender studies departments and programs, semi-structured interviews with professors, data on employment and career trajectories of scholars with appointments in programs, and content analysis of research output.
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