Working Paper 2018-4

Do Campus Contexts Matter?: Bringing a Cultural-Organizational Approach to the Problem of Gender Gaps in Undergraduate Fields of Study

 

Ann Mullen, University of Toronto

Jayne Baker, University of Toronto

UT Sociology Working Paper No. 2018-04

June 2018

Keywords: Higher Education; Gender Segregations

Full Article


Abstract

Despite gender parity in earned bachelors degrees, large gender gaps persist across fields of study. The dominant explanatory framework in this area of research assesses how gender differences in individual-level attributes predict gaps in major choice. We argue that individualistic accounts cannot provide a complete explanation because they fail to consider the powerful effects of the gendered institutional environments that inform and shape young men’s and women’s choices. We propose a cultural-organizational approach that considers how institutional characteristics and cultural contexts on college campuses may shape gendered choices and thus be associated with patterns of gender segregation across fields of study. Analyzing institutional data on all U.S. degree-granting colleges and universities, our results reveal substantial inter-institutional variation in gender segregation. Further, structural and contextual institutional features related to peer culture, curricular focus, institutional commitment to gender equity, and the gender proportionality of the student body correlate with heightened or diminished levels of segregation.

 


This research was supported by SSHRC.

Congratulations to Markus Schafer, inducted as a Fellow of The Gerontological Society of America

Congratulations to Professor Markus Schafer who is one of the 2018 new fellows inducted into The Gerontological Society of America (GSA). The GSA is largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging in North America. It is committed to advancing the study of aging and to promoting human welfare through gerontology and includes participation in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Biological Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Research Policy and Practice. Professor Schafer is honoured with the status of fellow — the highest class of membership within the Society — as an acknowledgment of his outstanding and continuing work in gerontology.  Professor Schafer publishes widely in the areas of aging, social connectedness, and social networks.

 

 

Congratulations to Professor Kathy Liddle, recipient of a University of Toronto Teaching Fellowship

Congratulations go to Professor Kathy Liddle who was awarded a 2018 University of Toronto Fellowship.  The fellowship program provides teaching stream faculty with funds and time to develop significant pedagogical innovations in their courses or in their department’s programs. These fellowships seek to “develop and cultivate leadership and mentoring skills, and encourage capacity-building to support teaching effectiveness and innovation.” Professor Liddle is Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in Sociology at UTSC. She will use the time and funds from this fellowship to complete a renewal project for the Introductory Sociology course. We have pasted the award citation below from the full notice of awards on the Provost’s announcement page here.

Kathleen Liddle
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Scarborough

Professor Kathy Liddle is a sociologist whose research interests lie at the intersections of culture, organizations, gender, and sexuality. In addition to teaching introductory sociology, she has developed and taught courses on culture, media, qualitative methods, and sociology of books. She has particular interest in creating community within classrooms, increasing student engagement in large enrolment courses, and addressing the particular needs of first-generation university students. Professor Liddle received a Ph.D. in Sociology with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, an M.A. in Sociology from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and a B.A. in Clarinet Performance from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.

Professor Liddle’s Fellowship will continue an existing multi-year renewal project of the Introduction to Sociology course in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. This is a 500-student gateway course for the discipline, often providing students with their first exposure to thinking about the social world systematically. Prior to the renewal project, the course had been taught for many years in a traditional lecture format with multiple-choice examinations. Based on consultations with department members and undergraduate students, the renewed course will involve more opportunities for developing writing skills; more frequent and varied types of assessments; expanding coverage of contemporary theories to include anti-racist, post-colonial, and queer theories; addressing gaps in core academic skills, such as basic library research, academic integrity, knowledge of campus resources, and study skills; creating more connections to ‘real world’ scenarios; and, combating the feelings of anonymity and isolation that students feel in a 500-person course.

Congratulations to Professor Jayne Baker, recipient of a U of T Early Career Teaching Award

Congratulations to Professor Jayne Baker, recently awarded an Early Career Teaching Award. The University of Toronto has been awarding this prize since 2015 with up to four early career faculty members honoured each year. The award recognizes “faculty members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement, and teaching innovation.” Professor Baker is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. There, she teaching the large introductory sociology courses and courses in the sociology of education. We have pasted the award citation below from the full notice of awards on the Provost’s announcement page here. UTM News has also profiled Professor Baker’s teaching here.

Jayne Baker
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga

Professor Baker has been an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga since 2012. Her research centres on hierarchies among university institutions (Sociology of Education) to increasing student learning in core concepts and competencies including research and writing (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). With a colleague, she is also investigating effective strategies for preparing first year students for testing in the context of a large course that lacks face-to-face opportunities structured into the course. Professor Baker teaches courses at all levels and sizes, from 12 to 1,000. In addition to teaching required courses in research methods and introductory sociology, she also teaches courses in education and a course on masculinities. She has also spearheaded the integration of writing instruction and support in the research methods course required for all Sociology and Criminology, and Law and Society majors and specialists. As part of her interest in supporting student learning and engaging students outside of the traditional classroom, Professor Baker frequently works with undergraduates and graduate students within her own research. She has also mentored graduate students in their teaching through a Teaching Fellowship model developed by her Criminology, Law & Society teaching-stream colleague, Professor Nathan Innocente. Professor Baker has also worked actively on the curriculum of the Department of Sociology’s five programs, including design and implementation of curriculum mapping.

 

Congratulations to Merin Oleschuk, recipient of CAFS Student Paper Award

Merin OleschukCongratulations go to Merin Oleschuk whose paper, Foodies of Colour: Authenticity and Exoticism in Omnivorous Food Culture” published in Cultural Sociology recently received the Canadian Association for Food Studies’ Student Paper Award. The CAFS established  the Student Paper award in 2011 to recognize scholarly excellence and encourage participation by undergraduate and graduate students. The award is offered annually and includes a $200 prize, a one-year CAFS membership, complimentary conference registration, and a banquet ticket for the CAFS conference.

Merin is currently finishing her PhD program in Sociology at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Professor Josee Johnston. Her dissertation is called “Health and Cooking in Value and Practice: A Mixed Methods Study of Food in Family Life.” In it, she asks how and why people cook what they do at home, looking at both the values related to health and the different meanings of cooking as related to gender, class, and race/ethnicity.

Merin began the winning article as a course paper in the Research Practicum course that all PhD sociology take in their second year of study. Read more about the paper and Merin’s process in writing it here.

Professor Josee Johnston Featured on CBC Ideas show “The Restaurant: A Table Divided”

Professor Josée Johnston was recently featured in a CBC Radio Ideas documentary The Restaurant: A Table Divided. Produced by Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant, the documentary  examines how the institution of the restaurant reflects the nature of our social world. Along with food historians and restaurateurs, Professor Johnston weighs in on the role of the restaurant in today’s society. Professor Johnston is a specialist in political and cultural sociology and is, together with Professor Shyon Baumann, author of Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape.  In the podcast, she discusses the impact of economic inequality on displays of status in today’s restaurant culture. Listen to an excerpt below and the full episode here.

“Inequality has become so extreme that there is a backlash to people who display their wealth and status too overtly.”

Anelyse Weiler pens article on farm workers and sexual violence for the Conversation.ca

Anelyse WeilerPh.D. candidate Anelyse Weiler recently contributed an article to the Conversation discussing migrant farm workers’ vulnerability to sexual violence. Anelyse has studied migrant farm workers at both the Master’s and Doctoral levels and is currently conducting research for her dissertation, The Periphery in the Core: Investigating Migration, Agrarian Citizenship and Metabolic Rift Through a Case Study of the Apple. Anelyse’s research is supported by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Anelyse wrote the article in collaboration with Amy Cohen who is a College Professor of Anthropology at Okanagan College. The Conversation.com is an “independent source of news and views, from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.” The story was also reprinted in the National Post.

We have posted a short excerpt of the article below. The full article is available at Conversation.com/ca.

Migrant farm workers vulnerable to sexual violence

After Teresa filed a report against her farm employer for sexual assault, he asked her how much money it would take for her to retract her statement. In the spring of 2014, Teresa (not her real name) was attacked by her boss on his farm in British Columbia.

On the day the assault occurred, the boss sent Teresa’s male co-workers to another farm for the day, leaving her and another female farm worker behind. While they were trellising grape vines, the women ran out of twine.

Teresa’s boss told her to come and get more twine inside a shed, where she says he forced his mouth onto hers and began grabbing her inappropriately. She managed to shake off his grip and run back to her co-worker in the vineyard for support.

It was her word against his, and the Crown decided there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with the charges. In Canada, 46 per cent of women survivors don’t even report sexual assault because they think there is insufficient proof.

Teresa is a single mom from Baja California, Mexico. Since 2012, she has been supporting her parents and two daughters by spending up to eight months each year on Canadian farms through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Teresa was concerned that speaking up about the sexual assault might hurt her and her female co-worker’s future job chances.

She says Mexico’s Secretariat of Labour and Social Welfare verbally warns SAWP workers each season before they leave Mexico: “‘You’re coming to Canada to work, not to cause problems.’ If you complain about something, they kick you out of the program.”

After the assault, Teresa was transferred to a small vegetable farm, where her new employer provided accommodations in a rodent-infested trailer without a functional lock. Teresa’s attacker lived in the adjacent village in British Columbia’s southern Interior. She suffered from recurrent nightmares. “I was afraid. I thought he was going to show up or that he was going to do something to me.”

Our connections with migrant women survivors of sexual assault are based on field research we have conducted since 2013 with migrant farm workers in Canada. We are also volunteer members of grassroots advocacy organizations in British Columbia and Ontario that provide front-line support for farm workers…

Read the full article here.

 

U of T Sociologists discuss the Toronto Yonge and Finch van attack

Professors Judith Taylor and Jooyoung Lee spoke on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paiken to discuss the possible motivations behind the Toronto van attack and the role of toxic masculinity in violent acts.

In the half-hour segment, Professors Taylor and Lee join also with Osgoode Hall’s Jamil Jivani in their discussion with Steve Paiken.

The video of the segment titled, “When Mayhem Comes to Town” is available online here at the TVO website.

Professor Taylor has also spoken with CBC and with CTV and Professor Lee was interviewed and cited by Global News regarding the van attack in Toronto earlier this week.

Continuing coverage: Professor Judith Taylor in Macleans Magazine and Sociology Professor and Vice Provost, Students Sandy Welsh in U of T News re the Vigil on Sunday at Mel Lastman square.

Congratulations to Professor Blair Wheaton, Recipient of 2018 Jeannette Wright Mentoring Award

Congratulations to Professor Blair Wheaton who recently received the Department of Sociology’s Jeannette Wright Mentoring Award. The Department of Sociology created the award in honour of Jeannette Wright who was a long serving Graduate Administrator in the Department of sociology, spanning the late 1970s to late-2000s, and was much loved and admired for her dedication and service to the graduate program.

In nominating Professor Wheaton for this award, students noted his commitment to their development as scholars, the value of his advice and his willingness to sit with his students to work through methodological and analytical issues.  As one student wrote, “underlying his flexibility, support and overarching guidance is Blair’s true desire to see his students be successful and grow.”

Professor Wheaton is the third recipient of the Jeannette Wright Award and is one of many outstanding mentors committed to the success of graduate students at the University of Toronto.

Sociology PhD Student Laura Upenieks honoured as a U of T Athlete of the Year

Congratulations to Sociology PhD student Laura Upenieks who recently received the Frank Pindar Female Athlete of the Year Award from the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. While we in the Sociology department know Laura for her stellar scholarship, the U of T Varsity Blues know her for her skills on the golf course.

During her nine years at the University of Toronto, Laura has been a member and captain of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Women’s Golf Team. Throughout her varsity career, she has won 15 collegiate events individually (including 3 NCAA events in the United States), and is a two-time OUA individual champion and 7-time OUA team champion. This past summer, Laura represented Team Canada at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei. Laura was also named U of T’s top scholar athlete in 2016, awarded annually to the male and female student who has excelled both academically and athletically during the previous academic year. In 2017, Laura also received a double diamond pin. This award recognizes student-athletes who, while competing on a Varsity team, earned an 80% average or higher in all courses they were enrolled in during the previous academic year 6 or more times during their varsity career. Laura has also been named U of T’s Athlete of the Week on numerous occasions and in October 2017 was the OUA Peak Performer of the Week.

Laura sees her identity as an athlete and as sociologist as intertwined. She states that her experiences in sport shape the qualities that she tries to incorporate in her studies. These include perseverance and resilience, especially when challenges arise, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to getting better with each practice and competitive event. Laura says that she tries to incorporate these qualities into her doctoral studies. “Research is a long process, often with setbacks and challenges that require an unrelenting commitment to the end goal and the ability to persist in the face of obstacles. Both sport and research endeavours also require a supportive community, which I’m fortunate to have.”

Laura also points to the balance that being involved in sport and academic pursuits simultaneously provides, which she thinks end up being beneficial in both domains. Sport, she says, often gives her a much-needed reprieve from the rigours of research, but she will often turn to her research during off-time at sporting competitions to provide perspective and get her mind off the pressures of competition. In addition, she finds that many research ideas come to her during moments of athletic training and competition. Finally, Laura finds that athletic training also forces her to keep active and adhere to a regular workout schedule, which helps her keep sharp, focused, and energized academically.

Laura’s academic record bears witness to the success of her strategy. She is currently in her 4th year of PhD studies with research interests in health inequalities over the life course, aging and health, the sociology of religion and morality, and the sociology of sport.  She has financial support from SSHRC in the form of a Joseph-Armand Bombardier doctoral fellowship and already has fourteen peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in print.  Her recent research is published in Social Science Research, The Gerontologist, Social Psychology Quarterly, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and by Oxford University Press.

Laura is grateful for the support she has received from her supervisor, Professor Markus Schafer, and all the faculty and graduate students she has worked with at the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and the support from those involved in the U of T Varsity Blues Golf Program. There, she is grateful in particular to all her teammates throughout the years, and coaches Chris Tortorice, Dave Woods, and Pat Reilly who, according to Laura, challenged her to continue improving as an athlete while also being supportive and understanding of her academic time commitments.

 

Congratulations to Professor Neda Maghbouleh, recipient of an Ontario Early Research Award

Congratulations to Professor Neda Maghbouleh who was recently awarded with one of this year’s Province of Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards. The goal of the Early Researcher Award is to help early career researchers build their research teams. Funded by the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Sciences, the Early Researcher Award provides five years of research funding to exceptional scholars whose research is poised to make an impact on Ontario’s social, cultural and/or economic future. Professor Maghbouleh received the grant for her work studying the experiences of Syrian newcomers in Toronto. This research is part of a larger project that Maghbouleh is pursuing with Professors Ito Peng and Melissa Milkie.

Professor Maghbouleh’s Early Researcher Award project, titled “Settlement, Integration and Stress: A 5-Yr Longitudinal Study of Syrian Newcomer Mothers and Teens in the GTA,” builds on work that Maghbouleh began with Peng and Milkie and financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This project focuses on how Syrian refugee mothers and teens experience family and integration-related stress in the three to five years following settlement. Because two-thirds of Canada’s Wave 1 of Syrian refugee newcomers are children under the age of 18 or the adults caring for them, it is reasonable to expect that they face the enormous tasks involved in acclimatizing themselves to a different culture and environment at the same time as they are dealing with the strains typically associated with childhood, adolescence and parenthood. This research will offer tangible strategies for Ontario’s service providers, sponsor groups, and everyday citizens to more efficiently and effectively support newcomers.

Professor Maghbouleh is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus. Her research program addresses the social integration of immigrants from the Middle East who settle in North America. This project follows the completion of her first major research project, on Iranians and race in the U.S., and the publication of her book, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race.

Working Paper 2018-03

Visualizing demographic evolution using geographically inconsistent census data

Fabio Dias, University of Toronto

Daniel Silver, University of Toronto

UT Sociology Working Paper No. 2018-03

March 2018

Keywords: Human-centered computing; Visualization; Visualization application domains; Visual analytics; Mathematics of computing; Probability and statistics; Statistical paradigms; Exploratory data analysis

Full Article


Abstract

Census measurements provide reliable demographic data going back centuries. However, their analysis is often hampered by the lack of geographical consistency across time. We propose a visual analytics system that enables the exploration of geographically inconsistent data. Our method also includes incremental developments in the
representation, clustering, and visual exploration of census data, allowing an easier understanding of the demographic groups present in a city and their evolution over time. We present the feedback of experts in urban sciences and sociology, along with illustrative scenarios in the USA and Canada.

This research was supported by a University of Toronto Connaught Global Challenge grant and is part of the Urban Genome Project.

Professor David Pettinicchio featured by the School of Public Policy and Governance

Sociology Professor David Pettinicchio was recently featured for the School of Public Policy and Governance’s Faculty Feature series. For the interview, Professor Pettinicchio answered questions about his current research, challenges, advice for students, and favorite song. Professor Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus.

The full interview is available on the SPPG website here. We have pasted the opening below.

Faculty Features: David Pettinicchio

SPPG’s series, highlighting our faculty and research community, caught up with David Pettinicchio, an assistant professor of sociology cross-appointed to SPPG, whose speciality is disability rights.

What research are you working on right now?

I am completing my book titled “Empowering Government” under contract with Stanford University Press. The book is about the struggle in entrenching civil rights policies – namely, disability rights in the U.S. – and how political back-stepping generates social movement mobilization whereby advocacy groups through the use of institutional and direct-action tactics seek to ward off efforts to rollback rights. In the book, I look at the ways in which the disability community was empowered by policies created by political entrepreneurs and later, facing political threats, mobilized to protect policies they now had a stake in. I situate the role of social movements in a wider institutional, organizational and cultural context.

In addition, my research team (which includes my colleague Michelle Maroto at the University of Alberta) is currently undertaking a major project studying disability-based employment discrimination in Canada. The limited systematic information we have from qualitative studies and the few surveys on the matter suggest that discrimination is pervasive in limiting the economic opportunities of Canadians with disabilities.

What led you to your focus on the development of social movements?

I think it was a confluence of factors. I became interested in the study of social movements years ago as an undergraduate. As a PhD student, I wanted to tell a story about the development of the disability rights movement but quickly found myself constrained in terms of theoretical tools I had to work with and so I broadened my outlook and found myself telling an exceptionally fascinating story about the dynamic interplay between elites, institutions, organizations and activists. The evolution of the disability rights movement shines light on movement processes most definitely, but also on policy-making, institutional arrangements, the work between institutional and grassroots activists, and the kinds of organizations that help sustain social change projects.

Read the full interview.

Professor Ito Peng on Why Canadians should care about the Global Care Economy

Ito PengProfessor Ito Peng recently wrote and published an article in OpenCanada.org about the importance of care work in Canada and around the world. OpenCanada.org is a “digital publication sitting at the intersection of public policy, scholarship and journalism.” It publishes articles on international affairs, Canadian foreign policy and world events. Professor Peng is the Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She has teaching responsibilities at the St. George campus. Professor Peng’s current research focuses on care work migration, gender, and social policy in an internationally comparative framework.

The full article is available on the OpenCanada.org website. We have pasted an excerpt of the article below.

Why Canadians should care about the global care economy

Care work is undervalued both in Canada and around the world — it’s time to bring it into the conversation about women’s empowerment and gender equality, argues Ito Peng.

Ito Peng
March 16, 2018

We have witnessed over the last couple of weeks a surge of conversations and activities across Canada and beyond around the issue of gender equality. Along with the federal government’s 2018 budget highlighting pay equity and expanded parental leave, many other events have taken place since the beginning of March, including those that marked International Women’s Day and the latest session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which ran this week in New York.

These events have made people talk and think about gender and gender equality. But one key issue that is not clearly addressed in this conversation, especially in Canada, is the care economy.

‘Care economy’ refers to the sector of economic activities, both paid and unpaid, related to the provision of social and material care. It includes care for children, the elderly, and the disabled, health care, education, and as well, leisure and other personal services, all of which contribute to nurturing and supporting present and future populations.

In Canada, this work is often done by immigrant women, women of colour, and foreign temporary migrant workers. At home and globally, it is still largely considered menial and insignificant and therefore highly undervalued. There are at least three reasons why we should be taking the care economy seriously.

First, the care economy is the fastest expanding sector of the economy, both in terms of total GDP generated and of employment creation. In the United States, for example, direct care work, such as personal care aides and home help aides, has been growing faster than any other occupational group, so much so that by 2020 it will be the largest occupational group, surpassing retail sales. According to the US-based Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, the five key elder care occupations of registered nurses, home health aides, personal care aides, nursing aides, and orderlies and attendants, will create over 2.4 million new jobs in the US between 2010 and 2020.

Today, the service sector is a fundamental component of all high-income and most middle-income country economies. In Canada, the service sector makes up 72 percent of the national GDP and nearly 80 percent of total employment. Within the service sector, care-related services are the fastest growing. This is because of the combination of aging populations and the increasing number of women entering the workforce. Canada’s 65+ population now makes up 17 percent of the total population, up from 13 percent in 2000, a figure that is expected to increase to 23 percent by 2031.

Read the full article.

The Economist profiles Professor Robert Brym’s new research project

Robert BrymProfessor Robert Brym’s new research project conducting a large survey of Canada’s Jews was recently profiled in The Economist. Noting that Jewish leaders in Canada estimate the population of Jews in Canada as about 400,000, making it the fourth largest Jewish community in the world, the article also notes that the Canadian Census is poorly designed to capture accurately both the number of people who identify as Jewish, and the meaning that Jewishness holds for them. Brym and his co-investigators are in the early stages of the research.

Robert Brym is a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto with undergraduate teaching responsibilities at the St. George campus. His research expertise encompasses the sociology of intellectuals, social movements in Canada, Jews in Russia, and collective and state violence in Israel and Palestine.

We have pasted an excerpt of the article below. The full article is available on the Economist’s website here.

Maple leaves and mezuzahs: Understanding Canada’s Jews

In Canada, Jewish identity is hard to measure but still strong

Erasmus
May 14, 2018
by PF and ERASUMS
Vancouver

…many Canadians of Jewish origin sit somewhere on a spectrum between a full embrace of their forebears’ identity and faith, and assimilation into the country’s mainstream culture. On the west coast, in particular, this allows for mix-and-match experimentation that makes the size and profile of the Canadian Jewish community hard to assess.

The most recent Canadian census showed an astonishing decline in the number of self-identified Jews: from 309,650 in 2011 to 143,665 in 2016. That seems like an unbelievable development, but there is in fact, a simple explanation. In both surveys, Statistics Canada, a government agency, asked respondents to give their ethnic or cultural origin and offered a long list of possible answers. “Jewish” was among the suggested options in the first census, but not in the second one. So, presumably, many Jews simply identified themselves by the country where they or their forebears had lived most recently. A campaign has started for a Jewish option in the 2021 census.

Two social scientists, Robert Brym of the University of Toronto and Rhonda Lenton of York University, are now embarking on a wide-ranging study that they hope will provide a more accurate picture. It will ask up to 80 questions about matters such as child-rearing, attitudes to Israel and experience of anti-Semitism. In some ways it will be Canada’s answer to an influential study of American Jews from 2013 that found 22% of self-identified Jews (and 32% of those born after 1980) professed “no religion”.

As with the United States, Canada’s Jewish population began growing in the late 19th century because of pogroms and turmoil in eastern Europe. One stereotype holds that at least in the eastern provinces, Canada’s Jews stayed closer to their old-world roots than American ones. The survey will test that and also look at whether migration to the west is a path out of active Judaism. Mr Brym has said he is prepared to find some extremes of assimilation and religious devotion. Ms Lenton says they want to discover whether, for Jews in general, Canada lives up to its self-image as a mosaic (a land where different groups keep their identity) as opposed to the American “melting-pot” where there is pressure to assimilate.

The survey’s sponsors have also cited more specific concerns. Jewish leaders in Toronto want to know more about recent-ish arrivals from Russia, who were classified as Jewish under the Soviet system but may have little connection to faith; their counterparts in Montreal are concerned about the numbers migrating to the Pacific….

Read the full article.

Professor Steve Hoffman quoted in article on the aftermath of Fukushima’s nuclear disaster.

The Varsity – University of Toronto’s student newspaper – recently marked the seven year anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima with a reflection on the aftermath of the event. Part of the article cites Professor Steve Hoffman’s research published earlier this year. Professor Hoffman teaches sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus. His research interests include the sociology of knowledge, technology, and the sociology of disasters.  We have posted an excerpt below. The full article is available on the Varsity’s website here.

Seven years after Fukushima

Nuclear disaster aftermath affects environment and energy policies today
Ian T.D. Thomson
11 March 2018

Despite changing attitudes, not a lot has changed in relation to the production and generation of nuclear energy since the event, according to Steve Hoffman, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology.

“Among the large nuclear producers, only two nations shifted their nuclear energy policies in a significant way in the wake of the Fukushima disaster – Japan and Germany… [However], the reductions of major producers like Japan and Germany has been offset by the increased production in China, which has been growing their nuclear fleet at an extremely rapid rate,” wrote Hoffman.

Hoffman has researched the impact of the Fukushima disaster on German and American energy policies.

There have been several protests against nuclear energy in response to Fukushima. In Europe, 50,000 people from Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands formed a human chain in June 2017, calling for the closure of two of Belgium’s nuclear reactors.

The disaster has also shifted energy-related policies such as plans for the development of a deep geological repository to store high-level nuclear fuel waste. Countries like South Korea now have a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to storing nuclear waste.

“The big story of energy policy around the world in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is that very, very little changed. Globally, nuclear production has levelled off, but that has been happening since Chernobyl. By and large global production is about the same before and after Fukushima,” wrote Hoffman.

 

Read the full article.

The Annex Sociology podcast hosts Professor Neda Maghbouleh on Iranian-Americans and Whiteness

The Annex Sociology podcast recently hosted Professor Neda Maghbouleh in which they talked about the Oscars, issues around defining generations, and about her recent book, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race. The Annex is a weekly academic “sociology-themed podcast” hosted by sociologists from CUNY, Georgetown and UCLA.

The podcast with Professor Maghbouleh was episode 23 and is available here.

Professor Jooyoung Lee pens Toronto Star Op Ed on damage to community trust in policing

Jooyoung LeeProfessor Jooyoung Lee recently authored an Op Ed  in the Toronto Star discussing the diminishing reputation of the Toronto police force as more news emerges about the Bruce McArthur investigation. Professor Lee teaches sociology at the St. George campus. His research interests include gun violence and he has taught classes on the sociology of serial murders.

We have posted an excerpt of the op ed below. The full article is available at thestar.com.

Toronto police risk permanent damage to community trust

The Toronto Police Service will need to come clean, admit to its shortcomings, and reach out to the communities that it has alienated across the city.

By Jooyoung Lee
Mon., March 12, 2018

…..I have spent the last decade observing firsthand what happens in cities where police have lost the trust of communities. My research in gangland “South Central” Los Angeles and in Philadelphia’s underground drug markets reveals how communities become alienated from the police — these are places where any perceived affiliation with the cops is frowned upon and sometimes punishable by violence.

Although Toronto is certainly not suffering from the same levels of violence I observed in these communities, there is cause for concern moving forward. If the police don’t clear the air and make amends to communities that feel betrayed by them, people will become less likely to report crimes and co-operate with them during investigations. There are already communities in Toronto where this “code of silence” exists. We don’t want this to spread.

The pioneering Canadian sociologist, Erving Goffman, spent much of his career writing about spoiled reputations. He showed that people work hard at managing public impressions because negative reputations are so durable. Once seen in a negative light, it becomes difficult for a person to reestablish themselves as trustworthy and morally upstanding. To make amends, Goffman argued, people have to show they can be trusted again in the future.

Even though Goffman was writing about individuals, he can help us understand the challenges ahead for Toronto police. TPS will need to come clean, admit to its shortcomings, and reach out to the communities that it has alienated across the city. These include the LGBTQ community, racialized communities, and citizens who are concerned about how they’ve handled the McArthur investigation….

Read the full article.

Professor Judith Taylor speaks about International Women’s Day

Professor Judith Taylor spoke recently on CTV and on CP24 about the resurgence of feminism and protests around the world to mark International Women’s Day. Professor Taylor is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Women and Gender Studies with teaching responsibilities at the St. George campus. Her research focuses on feminist movements around the world. Surveying the movement now, Professor Taylor is confident in its sustainability, saying in the CTV interview that the movement is “very, very sustainable.”

Watch video of the CTV interview.

Watch video of the CP24 interview.

 

 

 

Working Paper 2018-02

Eating for Taste and Eating for Change: Ethical Consumption as a High Status Practice

Emily Huddart Kennedy, Washington State University

Shyon Baumann, University of Toronto

Josée Johnston, University of Toronto

UT Sociology Working Paper No. 2018-02

March 2018

Keywords: cultural capital, food, ethical consumption

Full Article


Abstract

Under what conditions is ethical consumption a high status consumption practice? Using unique food consumption survey data on both aesthetic dispositions and ethical consumption, we investigate how these orientations to food are related. Existing research points to two relatively high cultural capital consumer identities: the ‘foodie’, who defines good taste through ‘authentic’ aesthetic standards and the ‘ethical consumer’, whose consumption is driven by moral principles. However, ethical consumption can also be practiced in inexpensive and subcultural ways that may not conform to dominant status hierarchies (e.g., freeganism, food swaps, etc.). In order to better understand the complex cultural terrain of high-status consumption, we investigate how socioeconomic status (SES) is related to foodie and ethical consumer practices and preferences. Using a k-means cluster analysis of intercept survey data from food shoppers in Toronto, we identify four distinct clusters that represent foodies, ethical consumers, and ethical foodies. Through multinomial logistic regression we find that while high SES consumers can be foodies or ethical food consumers, the highest status consumers prioritize both ethical and foodie consumer preferences. Further, we find that respondents’ reported shopping locations and meat consumption corroborate the results of the regression analyses. The highest status consumers eat in a way that conveys both culinary authenticity and morality. That is, ethical consumption can signal high status when it is simultaneously practiced with an aesthetic disposition. These results are an important addition to literature that examines how food consumption repertoires can produce and reinforce classed boundaries.


The data collection for this project was funded by an Early Researcher Award (ERA08-05-060) from the Ontario Ministry of Research to Josée Johnston.