PhD Graduate Guang Ying Mo and Professor Barry Wellman on Social Support Through Digital Media

PhD Graduate Guang Ying Mo and Professor Barry Wellman, in collaboration with Professor Anabel Quan-Haase (University of Western Ontario), published an article in Information, Communication & Society. The article explores the role of digital media in developing social support and companionship among older adults. The authors argue that learning to use technology effectively can provide an important source of social support to older adults.

Guang Ying Mo obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2015. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Ontario Telemedicine Network and her research focuses on social networks and innovation. Barry Wellman is a retired Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Quan-Haase, Anabel, Guang Ying Mo, and Barry Wellman. 2017. “Connected Seniors: How Older Adults in East York Exchange Social Support Online and Offline.” Information, Communication & Society, 20(7):967-986.

How do older adults mobilize social support, with and without digital media? To investigate this, we focus on older adults 65+ residing in the Toronto locality of East York, using 42 interviews lasting about 90 minutes done in 2013–2014. We find that digital media help in mobilizing social support as well as maintaining and strengthening existing relationships with geographically near and distant contacts. This is especially important for those individuals (and their network members) who have limited mobility. Once older adults start using digital media, they become routinely incorporated into their lives, used in conjunction with the telephone to maintain existing relationships but not to develop new ones. Contradicting fears that digital media are inadequate for meaningful relational contact, we found that these older adults considered social support exchanged via digital media to be real support that cannot be dismissed as token. Older adults especially used and valued digital media for companionship. They also used them for coordination, maintaining ties, and casual conversations. Email was used more with friends than relatives; some Skype was used with close family ties. Our research suggests that policy efforts need to emphasize the strengthening of existing networks rather than the establishment of interventions that are outside of older adults’ existing ties. Our findings also show that learning how to master technology is in itself a form of social support that provides opportunities to strengthen the networks of older adults.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Alexandra Rodney and Professor Josée Johnston on Ethical Eating and Neighbourhoods

PhD Graduate Alexandra Rodney and Professor Josée Johnston, in collaboration with Professor Michelle Szabo (Sheridan), published an article in Sociology. The article examines how ethical consumption choices regarding food vary across neighbourhoods. The authors argue that ‘ethical eating’ practices vary greatly with both neighbourhood and social class.

Alexandra Rodney obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Guelph. She researches the intersections of health, gender and culture. Josée Johnston is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and her general research goal is to advance knowledge in the sociological study of food and consumer culture.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Johnston, Josée, Michelle Szabo, and Alexandra Rodney. 2012. “Place, Ethics, and Everyday Eating: A Tale of Two Neighbourhoods.” Sociology, 46(6):1091-1108.

In this article we investigate how ‘ethical eating’ varies across neighbourhoods and explore the classed nature of these patterns. While our focus is on ‘ethical eating’ (e.g. eating organics, local), we also discuss its relation to healthy eating. The analysis draws from interviews with families in two Toronto neighbourhoods – one upper and the other lower income. We argue that understandings and practices of ‘ethical eating’ are significantly shaped by social class as well as place-specific neighbourhood cultures which we conceptualize as part of a ‘prototypical’ neighbourhood eating style. People compare themselves to a neighbourhood prototype (positively and negatively), and this sets a standard for acceptable eating practices. This analysis helps shed light on how place is implicated in the maintenance and reproduction of class-stratified food practices.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Alexandra Rodney and Professor Josée Johnston on Celebrity Chefs and Inequality

PhD Graduate Alexandra Rodney and Professor Josée Johnston, in collaboration with Professor Phillipa Chong (McMaster), published an article in Poetics. The article explores how celebrity chefs reproduce social norms regarding race, class, and gender. The authors argue that the personas created by these individuals are usually gendered, racialized, and classed in a way that contributes further to existing inequalities.

Alexandra Rodney obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Guelph. She researches the intersections of health, gender and culture. Josée Johnston is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and her general research goal is to advance knowledge in the sociological study of food and consumer culture.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Johnston, Josée, Alexandra Rodney, and Phillipa Chong. 2014. “Making Change in the Kitchen? A Study of Celebrity Cookbooks, Culinary Personas, and Inequality.” Poetics, 47:1-22.

In this paper, we investigate how cultural ideals of race, class and gender are revealed and reproduced through celebrity chefs’ public identities. Celebrity-chef status appears attainable by diverse voices including self-trained cooks like Rachael Ray, prisoner turned high-end-chef Jeff Henderson, and Nascar-fan Guy Fieri. This paper investigates how food celebrities’ self-presentations – their culinary personas – relate to social hierarchies. Drawing from literature on the sociology of culture, personas, food, and gender, we carry out an inductive qualitative analysis of celebrity chef cookbooks written by stars with a significant multi-media presence. We identify seven distinct culinary personas: homebody, home stylist, pin-up, chef-artisan, maverick, gastrosexual, and self-made man. We find that culinary personas are highly gendered, but also classed and racialized. Relating these findings to the broader culinary field, we suggest that celebrity chef personas may serve to naturalize status inequities, and our findings contribute to theories of cultural, culinary and gender stratification. This paper supports the use of “persona” as an analytical tool that can aid understanding of cultural inequalities, as well as the limited opportunities for new entrants to gain authority in their respective fields.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Jenna Valleriani on Rob Ford, Substance Misuse, and the Media

Jenna VallerianiPhD Graduate Jenna Valleriani, in collaboration with Professor Liam Kennedy (University of Western Ontario), published an article the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The article analyzes how the media reported and framed Rob Ford’s substance misuse scandal. The authors argue that the media coverage reinforced racial stereotypes surrounding crime and contributed to stigma around drug use.

Jenna Valleriani obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. Her research looks at illegal and legal cannabis markets in Canada.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Kennedy, Liam and Jenna Valleriani. 2017. “‘Everybody Love a Redemption Story around Election Time’: Rob Ford and Media Construction of Substance Misuse and Recovery.” Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 59(4):461-497.

The crack cocaine scandal that embroiled former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford presents an opportunity to explore how we think and talk about substance (mis)use and recovery. Examining 1,836 articles from four Canadian newspapers, we analyze the ways news media frame Ford’s use of crack cocaine. We find that Ford’s drug use was often linked to a police investigation into gangs and guns, and much was made of his association with “Somali” drug dealers. Not only does this framing perpetuate prevailing stereotypes (crack cocaine use by racialized individuals living in poor and violent communities), but also it encourages the public to consider drugs a criminal justice issue and contributes to the stigma associated with drug use. Moreover, news media repeatedly suggested that Ford’s problematic drug use could be solved if he took a leave from his job and entered a treatment facility. However, Ford’s refusal to express shame and seek immediate treatment made him unworthy of compassion and instead rendered him deserving of censure. We argue that news media promoting a narrow pathway to addiction recovery and redemption ignores the realities of problematic drug use and justifies the continued marginalization of those who fail to meet this strict code of conduct.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Jenna Valleriani and Professor Adam Green on Marital Monogamy

Jenna VallerianiPhD Graduate Jenna Valleriani and Professor Adam Green, in collaboration with Barry Adam (University of Windsor), published an article in the Journal of Marriage & Family. The article discusses the evolution of conceptions of marital monogamy over time and its role as an ideal in marriage today.

Jenna Valleriani obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. Her research looks at illegal and legal cannabis markets in Canada. Adam Green is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research is situated at the intersection of the sociology of sexuality and medical sociology, and aims to develop theory relevant to both areas.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Green, Adam Isaiah, Jenna Valleriani, and Barry Adam. 2016. “Marital Monogamy as Ideal and Practice: The Detraditionalization Thesis in Contemporary Marriages.” Journal of Marriage & Family, 78(2):416-430.

Within the sociological literature on intimate life, a detraditionalization thesis outlines a marked shift in the construction of marriage in post-World War II Western societies, suggesting a growing focus on emotional and sexual satisfaction within the marital dyad (Cherlin, 2004; Giddens, 1992). In this article the authors investigated one aspect of marital relations in light of the detraditionalization thesis: marital monogamy. Drawing from 90 in-depth interviews with both heterosexual and same-sex married participants in Canada, they found that the detraditionalization thesis appears to capture best the extension of multicultural norms to abstract ideals about marital monogamy, rather than an actual shift in marital sexual practices, particularly among heterosexual respondents. These data call out for greater attention to both the social mediation of Giddens’s detraditionalization thesis and a more nuanced concept of marital fidelity than a simple binary axis of ‘monogamous/nonmonogamous’ permits.

Read the full article here.

 

PhD Graduate Guang Ying Mo and Professor Barry Wellman on Sequencing in Social Networks

Guang Ying MoPhD Graduate Guang Ying Mo and Professor Barry Wellman published an article in the Bulletin of Sociological Methodology that discusses the role of the concept of sequencing in social networking research. Sequencing refers to the prioritization of some network actors over others and the authors argue that this concept has important implications for understanding the connection between individual behaviour and broader social structures.

Guang Ying Mo obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2015. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Ontario Telemedicine Network. Her research focuses on social networks and innovation. Barry Wellman is a retired Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Mo, Guang Ying and Barry Wellman. 2012. “Understanding Sequencing in Social Network Communications.” BMS: Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, 113:76-87.

Sequencing is an indispensable decision-making process during information flows. This paper proposes the conceptualization of sequencing to understand how and why infor mation senders prioritize some network members when they communicate with others. We examine the usefulness of this conceptualization with data collected from GRAND, a scholarly network. The concept of sequencing enables researchers to explore the decision-making process that occurs prior to information flows and link individuals’ behavior to the social context.

Read the full article here.

Recent PhD Jonathan Koltai and Professor Scott Schieman on Job Pressure and Mental Health

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai and Professor Scott Schieman published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour that analyzes what conditions may protect workers from the negative mental health consequences of job pressure. They find that socioeconomic status plays an important role in determining whether job resources provide protection from anxiety resulting from job pressure.

Jonathan Koltai received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral  Researcher in Social Epidemiology at Bocconi University. The research for his dissertation examines organizational contexts of inter-role conflict and worker well-being. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on health, medicine, work, stratification, and the sociology of religion.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Koltai, Jonathan and Scott Schieman. 2015. “Job Pressure and SES-Contingent Buffering: Resource Reinforcement, Substitution, or the Stress of Higher Status?” Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 56(2):180-198.

Analyses of the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce demonstrate that job pressure is associated with greater anxiety and job dissatisfaction. In this paper we ask, What conditions protect workers? The conventional buffering hypothesis in the Job-Demands Resource (JD-R) model predicts that job resources should attenuate the relationship. We test whether the conventional buffering hypothesis depends on socioeconomic status (SES). Support for conventional buffering is evident only for job dissatisfaction—and that generalizes across SES. When anxiety is assessed, however, we observe an SES contingency: Job resources attenuate the positive association between job pressure and anxiety among workers with lower SES, but exacerbate it among those with higher SES. We discuss the implications of this SES-contingent pattern for theoretical scenarios about “resource reinforcement,” “resource substitution,” and the “stress of higher status.” Future research should consider SES indicators as potential contingencies in the relationship between job conditions and mental health.

Read the full article here.

 

 

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai and Professor Markus Schafer on Social Networks and the Mistreatment of Older Adults

PhD Graduate Jonathan Koltai and Professor Markus Schafer published an article in the Journals of Gerontology (Series B) studying the impact of social network density on the risk of mistreatment among older adults. While previous studies have shown that social networks characterized by unconnected ties can offer benefits to older adults in terms of increasing a sense of autonomy and power, this study finds that dense social networks also have benefits, most particularly by lowering the older adult’s risk of mistreatment. Jonathan Koltai obtained his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in early 2018. His dissertation focused on complexities in the relationships between socioeconomic status, stress exposure, and psychological well-being. Jonathan is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Bocconi University of Milan, Italy. Markus Schafer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on health and aging.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Schafer, Markus and Jonathan Koltai. 2015. “Does Embeddedness Protect? Personal Network Density and Vulnerability to Mistreatment Among Older Adults.” Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 70(4):597-606.

Objectives. This study considers the association between personal network density and risk of elder mistreatment among American adults.

Method. Using egocentric network data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, we employ logistic and negative binomial regression to predict recent experience of elder mistreatment. We further unpack the density mistreatment association by linking perpetrators to the victim’s network and by assessing their position within its structure.

Results. As hypothesized, older adults with dense networks had a lower risk of elder mistreatment. Interestingly, the perpetrators of these harmful acts were often found within seniors’ close networks—though there was little evidence to suggest that perpetrators themselves were poorly embedded in the network.

Discussion. Results highlight how network-level phenomena can operate distinctively from dyadic mistreatment processes. Dense personal networks seem to provide structural protection against elder mistreatment, even as many offensive acts are committed by those that are close to the victim and relatively well embedded in their network.

Read the full article here.

Congratulations to Professor Clayton Childress on the 2018 Mary Douglas Prize from the ASA!

Congratulations to Professor Clayton Childress whose book, Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel, was recently awarded the 2018 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book in the Sociology of Culture. Professor Childress is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His research focuses on the creation, production, and consumption of culture, with books and book publishing as a frequent site of study. Current projects include data on the long-term consequences of the rewards system for the Booker Prize for Fiction, the creation and production of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs, the relationship between category blending and popularity for musicians and bands, and the generalizability of omnivorous tastes.

Published by Princeton University Press, Under the Cover follows a single novel from its inception to its consumption as a cultural object. In presenting the award, the committee described the book as “epic and broad in scope without cheating readers of attention to detail and rich illustrations of the ideas.” The committee went on to say that they “all felt that this book will have a lasting impact and should shape the sociological study of culture and cultural sociology for a long time to come.” The Mary Douglas Prize has been presented annually by the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Culture Section since 1990.

 

Professor Judith Taylor on the #MeToo Movement

Professor Judith Taylor published an article on TheConversation.com discussing the impact of the #MeToo movement on the average workplace. She presents eight strategies we can utilize in our every day lives to address and/or prevent toxic work environments.

Judith Taylor is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, jointly appointed to the Women and Gender Studies Institute. Her research focuses on feminist activism, neighbourhood community organizing, and social change making within public institutions

We have posted a short excerpt below. The full article is available on TheConversation.com.

How do the great majority of working women reckon with #MeToo when there will be no confrontation, revelation or watershed moment for them?

Academics, journalists, teachers, social workers and psychologists have experienced a notable outpouring of questions and concerns, but this is not a professional moment, this is a people’s moment to decide what is no longer OK, partly because it’s illegal, partly because it violates workplace policy and mostly because harassment is soul-killing.

While researchers have shown formal reporting mechanisms to be often disappointing, other scholars show that everyday referencing of social movements, and allying with them, makes women feel stronger and more capable of refusing sexism.

The #MeToo movement won’t make a tsunami level wave in every place of work. But with small gestures, we can remove the sandbags from the thresholds of our doors, open the windows and invite something of the force of that water to trickle in. Inviting the water in while small may feel more energizing than wondering whether, and when, it might come.

Read the full article here. 

Professor Jooyoung Lee in the News: Gun Violence in Toronto

Professor Jooyoung Lee has been quoted by the Toronto Star, Global News, the National Post, and Vice.com in the wake of the recent mass shooting on the Danforth. Jooyoung Lee is an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus. His research focuses on gun violence and its impact on communities. He is currently completing a book Ricochet: Gun Violence and Trauma in Killadelphia (under contract with University of Chicago Press) — an ethnographic study that traces the long-term health consequences of wounded gunshot victims across Philadelphia. He is also currently working on a collaborative SSHRC-funded study with Julian Tanner and Scot Wortley on youth experiences with guns in Toronto.

We have shared Jooyoung’s quotes below, as well as the direct links to the articles.

What drove the Toronto shooter to unleash violence on the Danforth?

by Kenyon Wallace, July 23, The Toronto Star

Jooyoung Lee, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, says determining motivations for mass murders is a challenging task given that the reasons are varied and complex.

“There are layers of grievances or perceived grievances mixed with potential mental health history, mixed with access to firearms, mixed with both short-term and long-term traumatic experiences that kind of propel a person towards the rage that they feel before they commit a shooting like this,” Lee said.

He added that those who have left manifestos, such as Rodger, the Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, provide some clues.

“Those manifestos at least allow us to peer inside the thought processes of these killers in the days, weeks and months leading up to the shooting, and you can see very much there is a sense that they’re going to use violence as a way of taking revenge against a society or an institution or people in general who they feel as if they’ve been wronged by,” said Lee.

Should Canada ban handguns? Debate stirs after mass shooting

by Andrew Russell, July 25, Global News

Jooyoung Lee, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in gun violence, said that any time there is a legal market for civilians to own concealable firearms, they could potentially end up being used in a crime.

“There is always a possibility that those kinds of firearms purchased legally can flow into the hands of people who want to use them to commit carnage,” he told the Canadian Press.

Toronto mass shooter Faisal Hussain suffered from psychosis. Could more have been done to stop him? 

by Sharon Kirkey, July 24, National Post

“By most accounts Eric was the kind of ringleader, and a budding psychopath,” said University of Toronto associate professor of sociology Jooyoung Lee, who taught a summer course on mass shootings.

“Dylan suffered from chronic depression and saw the mass shooting as a farewell to the world and as a way to kill himself.”

In most cases of mass shooters, there is a profound sense of resentment and hatred for the world, Lee and others said. Most use a gun for maximum kill.

Toronto Wants More Gun Control. Will It Work?

by Manisha Krishnan, July 25, VICE

Toronto approved implementing Shotspotter technology as part of its plan. The technology, used in cities like Chicago and Cincinnati, claims to be able to detect the precise location of gunfire in less than 60 seconds and alert police.

Jooyoung Lee, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto who studies gun violence, told VICE he lived in Philadelphia when a similar program was rolled out.

“There are very ambivalent results,” he said. “It’s certainly not preventing gun violence.”

Lee said he agrees with concerns of black activists and scholars in the city who believe ShotSpotter will simply amount to more surveillance of an already over-policed population.

Toronto is not immune to mass shootings

by Katie Daubs, July 25, The Toronto Star

Jooyoung Lee, an associate professor of sociology, recently finished teaching a summer course on mass shootings at the University of Toronto. He is from the U.S. but has lived in Canada for six years, and has noticed that when mass shootings happen in the U.S. there is often a “brief moment” where Canadians morally distance themselves: “This is a tragedy, this is a disaster. I’m so glad that Canada is not like that,” they’ll say.

“But I think unfortunately these string of attacks and tragedies … have really changed that narrative to some extent and made Canadians, and Canadian policy-makers, take a closer look at some of the domestic issues that are also giving rise to these kinds of events,” he said.

Lee said Canada has many of the same “underlying structural conditions” that are a big part of the reason that shootings happen in the U.S.: “impoverished neighbourhoods; communities of colour that are marginalized from the key mainstream institutions that give people a leg up in the world; disparate access to higher education and opportunity in the labour market.”

 

 

 

Professor Neda Maghbouleh and Professor Jasmine Rault Featured on UTM’s View to the U Podcast

Jasmine RaultProfessors Neda Maghbouleh and Jasmine Rault were featured on the UTM research podcast, View to the U. They discuss the research they are currently working on, including topics such as race, immigration, sexuality, archives, and digital humanities. The podcast provides a fascinating look into what really goes into conducting a research study.

Dr. Maghbouleh’s work addresses racism and immigration, with a particular interest in groups from the broad Middle East. Her first book, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race is out in September 2017 with Stanford University Press. Research currently underway includes a SSHRC-funded project on stress and the integration of Syrian newcomer mothers in Toronto and Peel regions (with Melissa Milkie and Ito Peng); a Connaught-funded project on boundaries and inequalities in local mothers’ groups; and survey research on the “new U.S. racial and ethnic hierarchy” (with Ariela Schachter and René Flores).

Cross-appointed with ICCIT and Sociology, Rault’s research focuses on sexuality, gender, race and ethnicity as axes of power, cultural change and aesthetic potentiality. Her work takes queer feminist approaches to architecture and design, decolonizing digital research ethics and economies, and the affective politics of sexuality in transnational arts and social movements.

We have included an excerpt from the podcast’s transcript below. Listen to the podcast here on Soundcloud and find the transcript here.

Neda Maghbouleh (NM): This is as our pilot study with Syrian mothers was coming to a close and as fairly mainstream researchers, methodologically speaking in sociology, we dipped our toe into something slightly inspired by a participatory action research (PAR), where researchers and participants are working really collaboratively. Though we didn’t do a full on PAR type of a project but we dipped our toe via convening a panel at that conference that included the three professors who had spearheaded the original project, a team of our RAs who had been integral into actually conducting the ethnographic work.

These were graduate students across UofT who speak Arabic and were able to really be these incredible interlocutors without whom we couldn’t have done this. We also had the voices of two mothers who were very keen to be part of the research process with us. We had invited the mothers also to join us on this panel. As you would imagine, the audience was vaguely interested in what the profs said, a little bit more interested in what our RAs shared, but keenly interested in the insights from our two research participants, the mothers.

Jasmine Rault (JR): A discovery is one that just kind of keeps happening again and again, the surprising discovery that sometimes your research participants say no and you have to be like, “Oh, that’s not just obstructive. Let’s think of that as generative in some way.” Sometimes they say, “Yes, but,” and that “but” is a more complicated and awesome way of saying no. It’s like, “Yeah, I’ll do that with you if you change everything about your research question.” So they say yes but then they entirely change the trajectory of the research. That’s the kind of discovery that keeps me interested on a bunch of different scales.

Listen to the full podcast here and find the transcript here.

PhD Graduate Kat Kolar and Professor Patricia Erickson on Coping Strategies of Street-Involved Youth

PhD graduate Kat Kolar and Professor Patricia Erickson, in collaboration with Donna Stewart (University Health Network), published an article in the Journal of Youth Studies. The article examines lived experience, mental health, and coping strategies among “street-involved youths.”

Kat Kolar obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs.Patricia Erickson is a retired senior scientist at CAMH and a Professor (status-only) in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Crime and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include illicit drug use and drug policy; youth, violence, mental health and addictions.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through ResearchGate here.

Kolar, Kat, Patricia Gail Erickson, and Donna Stewart. 2012. “Coping Strategies of Street-Involved Youth: Exploring Contexts of Resilience.” Journal of Youth Studies, 15(6):744-760.

Literature on how street-involved youth (SIY) cope with risky environments remains very limited. This exploratory study investigates SIY’s coping strategies, employing the ‘contexts of resilience’ framework (where resilience is understood as a process that changes over time and by environment) to situate an inductive thematic analysis of interviews with 10 current and former SIY. Three themes are explored: social distancing; experiences of violence; and self-harm and suicidality. The first two themes illustrate the double-edged nature of some coping strategies. While social distancing could contribute to isolation from social supports and violent self-defense to retaliatory harm, without alternative resources to prevent victimization these strategies must be acknowledged as reasoned responses to the risks associated with a violent milieu. Strategies assumed to be maladaptive among more normative youth may be among the limited resources available for SIY to utilize in attempts to make positive changes in their lives. The final theme explores self-harm and suicidality as indicative of social and structural needs and shows how in the SIY context such behaviors may not signify an outcome of non-resilience. The adaptation of assessments of coping strategies to be congruent with evaluative contexts should be applied to resilience research addressing other marginalized populations.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Kat Kolar on the Concept of Resilience

PhD graduate Kat Kolar published an article in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction that explores the theoretical concept of resilience and its role in social science research. Kolar outlines the concept’s history, its relationship with risk, and its application for research on the development of children and adolescents.

Kat Kolar obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs.

We have posted the citation and abstract from the article below. The full text is available through Research Gate here.

Kolar, Kat. 2011. “Resilience: Revisiting the Concept and its Utility for Social Research.” International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9(4):421-433.

Researchers of resilience seek to understand why some people will recover from or avoid negative outcomes against the odds associated with exposure to particular adversities. Over the last two decades the concept of resilience has experienced “burgeoning interest” (Ungar, 2005, p. xvii). However, due to a lack of consistency in defining and measuring this theoretical construct within and across disciplines, the recent explosion of literature on resilience has contributed more to confusion than clarity among researchers and policy makers. In order to clarify the opportunities and pitfalls in store for future research, this paper provides an overview of the historical development of the resilience concept and the different approaches to resilience prominent today. It also addresses the relationship of resilience to the concept of risk. Since the majority of resilience research is concerned with the development of children and adolescents, this review is youth-oriented.

Read the full article here.

U of T at the 2018 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting

This year, 13 faculty members and 19 graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in Philadelphia. In addition to the people presenting papers, a number of our community are also participating as session organizers, discussants or journal editorial panel members. The meetings happen between August 11th and August 14th. The table below lists the papers being presented by faculty and graduate students from U of T. Note that some of the papers have unlisted co-authors from other universities. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Last NameFirst NameStatusDateTitle
PerronShawnGrad Student11-AugOrganized Labour and the Moral Economy: Effects of Union Density on Egalitarian Attitudes (1970s-2010s)
PriceTaylorGrad Student12-AugCritics, Discourse and the Afterlives of Rock Icons
ShamsTahseenFaculty12-AugThe Homeland, Hostland, and Elsewhere: A Multicentered Relational Framework for Immigrant Identity Formation
SchaferMarkusFaculty11-AugAs Goes the City? Older Americans’ Home Upkeep in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
SettelsJasonGrad Student11-AugAs Goes the City? Older Americans’ Home Upkeep in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
UpenieksLauraGrad Student11-AugAs Goes the City? Older Americans’ Home Upkeep in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
WilliamsLawrenceGrad Student12-AugMistaking Nature for Culture: A Critique of Habitus and a Call for an Evolution-informed Sociology
LeschzinerVaninaFaculty13-AugCognition, Action, and the Senses
StewartLanceGrad Student13-AugLeaving the Balancing Act Behind: Extending the Material-social Dimensions of Affordance Theory
BrocicMilosGrad Student12-AugCultural Ties and Political Convictions
BrettGordonGrad Student13-AugThe Right Tool for the Job: Towards a More Rigorous Approach to Visualizing Sociological Theory
SilverDanielFaculty13-AugThe Right Tool for the Job: Towards a More Rigorous Approach to Visualizing Sociological Theory
LeviRonFaculty12-AugMaking Sense of the Gap: Recognition and Police-citizen Encounters
NevinAndrewGrad Student13-AugPsychopathic Personality Traits as Human Capital for Occupational Success
MilkieMelissaFaculty12-AugMothers’ Education Level and Time with Children: In What Spheres are There Inequalities?
WrayDanaGrad Student12-AugMothers’ Education Level and Time with Children: In What Spheres are There Inequalities?
Pannor SilverMichelleFaculty13-AugWe are the Champions, a Time for Losers: A Qualitative Study of Retired Olympic Athletes
UpenieksLauraGrad Student13-AugUnderstanding the Frequency of Interpersonal Touch in Later Life: Race, Gender, Class, and Neighborhood Considerations
FloresJerryFaculty13-AugPharmacological Violence and Harmful Mental Health Services Inside a California Juvenile Detention Center
AlbertKatelinGrad Student14-AugFamilies, Schools, Church, and Doctors: Adolescent Girls’ Relational and Contextualized Understandings of the HPV Vaccine
ChooHae YeonFaculty14-AugSpeculative Home-making: Women’s Labor, Class Mobility, and Real Estate Investment in South Korea
SchaferMarkusFaculty12-AugLate-Life Relocation and Network Turnover: How Distance Moved and Health Link to the Social Convoy
BadawyPhilipGrad Student12-AugLate-Life Relocation and Network Turnover: How Distance Moved and Health Link to the Social Convoy
SchiemanScottFaculty13-AugThe Departure from Perfect Justice: Unjust Desserts and Job Satisfaction
NarisadaAtsushiGrad Student13-AugThe Departure from Perfect Justice: Unjust Desserts and Job Satisfaction
EngmanAthenaGrad Student14-AugOrgans without Bodies: Solid Organ Transplant Recipients' Exposure and Response to Institutional Discourse
PettinicchioDavidFaculty12-AugTaking Stock: Disability, Cumulative Disadvantage, and Wealth Disparities in Canada
ChildressClaytonFaculty14-AugDurable Dispositions? Interaction and the Structural Emergence of Collective Meanings
ElciogluEmineFaculty13-AugWe’re All Brothers, No Matter What Color: How Right-wing Immigration Restrictionist Activists Understand Racism
GurusamiSusilaFaculty14-AugThe Carceral Web We Weave: Carceral Citizens’ Experiences of Digital Punishment and Solidarity
BerreyEllenFaculty14-AugThe Decline of the Diversity Imperative? Enrollment Trends Among Colleges Voluntarily Abandoning Race-Conscious Admissions
ChaiLeiGrad Student13-AugDivision of Housework and Employment on Relationship Quality, Anger and Guilt, and Distress in Canada
ParbstMatthewGrad Student13-AugMental Health as a Social Mirror: Regime Impact on SES Differences in Sense of Control
PagaduanJasonGrad Student11-AugCultivating Neoliberal Bodies: Investigating the Influence of Neoliberalism on the Global Adoption of CrossFit
LouiePatriciaGrad Student12-AugThe Black-White Paradox Revisited: Understanding the Role of Countervailing Mechanisms
DokshinFedorFaculty11-AugVariation in Public Discourse about Fracking across Space: Evidence from a Computational Text Analysis
SchiemanScottFaculty11-AugLabor Market Influences on Women’s Fertility Decisions: Longitudinal Evidence from Canada
Owusu-BempahAkwasiFaculty12-AugYou cannot Rat: Race, Policing and the Challenging Circumstances of Black Officers
SandroiuIoanaGrad Student11-AugHuman Rights as Uncertain Performance During the Arab Spring

Congratulations to Professor Jooyoung Lee on the 2018 Charles Horton Cooley Book Award!

Professor Jooyoung Lee’s book, Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central, recently received the 2018 Charles Horton Cooley Book Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI). According to SSSI’s website, this award is given annually to an author for a book that represents an important contribution to the perspective of symbolic interaction.

Jooyoung Lee is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.  Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central, is a long-term ethnographic study of young Black men growing up in the shadows of gang violence and the glittering entertainment industries in Los Angeles. This book shows how hip hop culture shields young men from the dangers of gang violence. It also reveals the larger structural forces that inspire “existential urgency” during the transition to adulthood. His current research looks at gun violence in Philadelphia and Toronto.

More information on Professor Lee’s award winning book can be found here from the University of Chicago Press.

Retirement and its Discontents: New Book by Professor Michelle Pannor Silver

Why do people avoid retiring?

Professor Michelle Pannor Silver has recently published a new book “Retirement and its Discontents: Why We Won’t Stop Working, Even if We Can” that seeks to understand why people with highly accomplished careers  resist retirement or are unhappy when they do retire. Silver is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough with joint appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society (ICHS).

You can listen to Michelle speak about her new book here on the New Books Network podcast.

The publisher has this to say about her book:

In the popular imagination, retirement promises a well-deserved rest—idle days spent traveling, volunteering, pursuing hobbies, or just puttering around the house. But as the nature of work has changed, becoming not just a means of income but a major source of personal identity, many accomplished professionals struggle with discontentment in their retirement. What are we to do—individually and as a culture—when work and life experience make conventional retirement a burden rather than a reprieve?

In Retirement and Its Discontents, Michelle Pannor Silver considers how we confront the mismatch between idealized and actual retirement. She follows doctors, CEOs, elite athletes, professors, and homemakers during their transition to retirement as they struggle to recalibrate their sense of purpose and self-worth. The work ethic and passion that helped these retirees succeed can make giving in to retirement more difficult, as they confront newfound leisure time with uncertainty and guilt. Drawing on in-depth interviews that capture a range of perceptions and common concerns about what it means to be retired, Silver emphasizes the significance of creating new retirement strategies that support social connectedness and personal fulfillment while countering ageist stereotypes about productivity and employment. A richly detailed and deeply personal exploration of the challenges faced by accomplished retirees, Retirement and Its Discontents demonstrates the importance of personal identity in forging sustainable social norms around retirement and helps us to rethink some of the new challenges for aging societies.

 

PhD graduate Kat Kolar and Professor Patricia Erickson on Abstaining from Cannabis Use

PhD graduate Kat Kolar and Professor Patricia Erickson, in collaboration with Andrew Hathaway (University of Guleph), Amir Mostaghim (University of Guelph), and Geraint Osborne (University of Alberta), published an article in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. The article explores the attitudes of Canadian undergraduate students who choose not to use cannabis. The authors find that these students still maintain ideas about drug use as deviant behavior and connect it to cultural ideals surrounding gender and other social statuses.

Kat Kolar obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs. Patricia Erickson is a retired senior scientist at CAMH and a Professor (status-only) in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Crime and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include illicit drug use and drug policy; youth, violence, mental health and addictions.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through ResearchGate here.

Hathaway, Andrew D., Amir Mostaghim, Patricia G. Erickson, Kat Kolar, and Geraint Osborne. 2018. “‘It’s Really No Big Deal: The Role of Social Supply Networks in Normalizing Use of Cannabis by Students at Canadian Universities.” Deviant Behavior.

Aims: To critically investigate the extent of normalisation of the use of cannabis by undergraduate students. To examine the extent of peer accommodation, this paper focuses on attitudes of students who abstain. It sheds light on social meanings of the practice by exploring non-users’ reasons for abstaining in addition to their attitudes, perceptions and experiences of use among their peers.
Methods: Respondents were recruited to participate in interviews through an online survey of undergraduate students in social science classes at three Canadian universities.
Findings: Peer accommodation of the use of cannabis requires that users exercise due caution and discretion and be respectful of the choices of non-users not to use. Non-users’ attitudes, however, still reflect longstanding cultural assumptions about drug use as a deviant behaviour. Attitudes towards the use of cannabis reflect norms and expectations about gender among other culturally constructed social statuses and roles.
Conclusions: Future research should continue to investigate nuances of the differentiated normalisation process. A better understanding of the cultural transformation of cannabis, and other drugs in common use by youth, requires more exploration of the emerging social context and attitudes of users and non-users of the drug.

Read the full article through ResearchGate here.

Recent PhD Jonathan Koltai, Professor Ronit Dinovitzer, and Professor Scott Schieman on Well-Being in the Legal Profession

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai, Professor Ronit Dinovitzer, and Professor Scott Schieman published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Their article examines the differences in mental health between high and low-status lawyers. They also draw comparisons across organizational contexts and control for income level, finding that high-status lawyers report higher levels of depression than their lower status counterparts.

Jonathan Koltai received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral  Researcher in Social Epidemiology at Bocconi University. The research for his dissertation examines organizational contexts of inter-role conflict and worker well-being. Ronit Dinovitzer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. In her research, she draws together analyses of the professions with research in social policy, including the social organization of lawyers, the role of labor markets, and the effects of culture on professional work. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and his research focuses on health, medicine, work, stratification, and the sociology of religion.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Koltai, Jonathan, Ronit Dinovitzer, and Scott Schieman. 2018. “The Status-Health Paradox: Organizational Context, Stress Exposure, and Well-Being in the Legal Profession.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(1):20-37.

Prior research evaluates the health effects of higher status attainment by analyzing highly similar individuals whose circumstances differ after some experience a “status boost.” Advancing that research, we assess health differences across organizational contexts among two national samples of lawyers who were admitted to the bar in the same year in their respective countries. We find that higher-status lawyers in large firms report more depression than lower-status lawyers, poorer health in the American survey, and no health advantage in Canada. Adjusting for income exacerbates these patterns—were it not for their higher incomes, large-firm lawyers would have a greater health disadvantage. Last, we identify two stressors in the legal profession, overwork and work–life conflict, that are more prevalent in the private sector and increase with firm size. Adjusting for these stressors explains well-being differences across organizational contexts. This study documents the role of countervailing mechanisms in health inequality research.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Alexandra Rodney and Professor Josée Johnston on Ethical Eating and Class

PhD Graduate Alexandra Rodney and Professor Josée Johnston, in collaboration with Professor Michelle Szabo (Sheridan), published an article in the Journal of Consumer Culture. Their article analyzes how class background affects ethical consumption choices regarding food. They find that those with greater privilege are often more active in ‘ethical eating’, but that low income communities find ways to adapt ethical consumption to their circumstances as well.

Alexandra Rodney obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Guelph. She researches the intersections of health, gender and culture. Josée Johnston is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and her general research goal is to advance knowledge in the sociological study of food and consumer culture.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Johnston, Josee, Michelle Szabo, and Alexandra Rodney. 2011. “Good Food, Good People: Understanding the Cultural Repertoire of Ethical Eating.” Journal of Consumer Culture, 11(3):293-318.

Ethical consumption is understood by scholars as a key way that individuals can address social and ecological problems. While a hopeful trend, it raises the question of whether ethical consumption is primarily an elite social practice, especially since niche markets for ethical food products (for example, organics, fair trade) are thought to attract wealthy, educated consumers. Scholars do not fully understand the extent to which privileged populations think about food ethics in everyday shopping, or how groups with limited resources conceptualize ethical consumption. To address these knowledge gaps, the first goal of this paper is to better understand how consumers from different class backgrounds understand ethical eating and work these ideas into everyday food practices. We draw from 40 in-depth interviews with 20 families in two Toronto neighborhoods. Our second goal is to investigate which participants have privileged access to ethical eating, and which participants appear relatively marginalized. Drawing conceptually from cultural sociology, we explore how ethical eating constitutes a cultural repertoire shaped by factors such as class and ethno-cultural background, and how symbolic boundaries are drawn through eating practices. We find that privilege does appear to facilitate access to dominant ethical eating repertoires, and that environmental considerations figure strongly in these repertoires. While low income and racialized communities draw less on dominant ethical eating repertoires, their eating practices are by no means amoral; we document creative adaptations of dominant ethical eating repertoires to fit low income circumstances, as well as the use of different cultural frameworks to address moral issues around eating.

Read the full article here.