PhD Candidate Gordon Brett and Professor Vanina Leschziner on “Cognitive, Embodied, and Evaluative Processes in Creativity”

Ph.D. Candidate Gordon Brett and Professor Vanina Leschziner recently co-authored an article in Social Psychology Quarterly, entitled, “Beyond Two Minds: Cognitive, Embodied, and Evaluative Processes in Creativity”. The article demonstrates that creativity is grounded in both bodily and sensory experience, and is more reliant on a combination of cognitive processes than has been recognized. One of the central aims of the article is to address the limitations of the sociological dual-process model for the understanding of creativity, cognition, and action.

Gordon Brett is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Sociology Department.  His research interests lie at the intersection of sociological theory, culture, cognition, and the body/embodiment. Professor Leschziner is an Associate Professor in Sociology with interests in theory, the sociology of culture, cognition, organizations, and qualitative methods.

We have posted the abstract below. The full article can be viewed here.

Leschziner, V., & Brett, G. (2019). Beyond Two Minds: Cognitive, Embodied, and Evaluative Processes in Creativity. Social Psychology Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1177/0190272519851791

Scholars in sociology and social psychology typically represent creativity as an imaginative and deliberate mental activity. Such a perspective has led to a view of creativity as disconnected from the body and the senses as well as from nonanalytic cognition. In this article, we demonstrate that creativity is more grounded in bodily and sensory experience and more reliant on a combination of cognitive processes than has been typically recognized. We use literature on social cognition and embodiment to build our arguments, specifically, the embodied simulation perspective and tripartite process models. We draw from data on elite chefs to show how actors rely on embodied simulations, continually switch between heuristic and analytical thinking, and monitor and control their cognitive processing during the creative process. We outline the implications of this study for the understanding of creativity and extant models of cognition and action more generally.

 

PhD student Natália Otto on “‘I Did What I Had to Do’: Loyalty and Sacrifice in Girls’ Narratives of Homicide in Southern Brazil”

BJC cover imagePh.D. student Natália Otto recently published an article, entitled, “‘I Did What I Had to Do’: Loyalty and Sacrifice in Girls’ Narratives of Homicide in Southern Brazil” in The British Journal of Criminology. The article investigates the ways in which women reconcile their gendered identities with the act of killing. Otto sheds light on women’s involvement in serious violence, which typically tends to be an under-theorized phenomenon in criminology. Her research takes place in Brazil, which has an unusually high rate of violent crime recorded in urban settings, and also embodies particular South American cultural conceptions in relation to violence.

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

Natália Otto. 2020. “‘I Did What I Had to Do’: Loyalty and Sacrifice in Girls’ Narratives of Homicide in Southern Brazil” The British Journal of Criminology, azz079, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azz079

This paper examines how criminalized teenage girls who have committed homicide reconcile violent practices with self-conceptions of femininity in their personal narratives. Data come from 13 biographical interviews with adolescent girls incarcerated in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Drawing from Bourdieusian theory and narrative criminology, I examine how gendered social structures shape how girls produce intelligible and morally coherent accounts of their crimes. I found that girls share a narrative habitus that allows for three different frames to make sense of violence: violence as a gendered resource, as a gendered failure and as a gendered dilemma. This paper contributes to a growing feminist narrative criminology that investigates how personal narratives of violence are embedded in gendered social structures.

 

 

 

Ph.D. Candidate Laila Omar, on “Listening in Arabic”

Laila OmarPh.D. candidate Laila Omar co-authored and published an article in Meridian, entitled “Listening in Arabic: Feminist Research with Syrian Refugee Mothers”. The article takes a feminist approach to research and is highly conscious of the unequal relations between women at the intersection of class, race, citizenship status as well as several other categories that represent asymmetrical power. Moreover, the authors also offer excerpts in Arabic and English from participants’ narratives to give nuance to multiple forms of expression. Therefore, all in all, the authors are deeply reflective of how a feminist approach highly shaped and influenced their research.

Laila Omar is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto. Her main research interests include Education Policy, Immigrant and Refugee Integration, International Development and Middle East Studies.

We have included the citation and abstract below. The full text of the article can be accessed through Meridian here.

Neda Maghbouleh, Laila Omar, Melissa A. Milkie, Ito Peng. (2019). “Listening in ArabicFeminist Research with Syrian Refugee Mothers” Meridians, 18 (2): 482–507. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15366936-7789739

This article reflects upon three developments emergent from a feminist approach in research with Syrian newcomer mothers in Toronto, Canada. First, a feminist approach shapes how the authors build their research team and facilitate internal meetings as a diverse, multigenerational group open to learning from others. Second, a feminist approach requires that the authors center mothers’ words through the critical practice of ensuring shared Arabic language and local knowledge in the research process. The authors offer excerpts in Arabic and English from participants’ narratives to describe how giving nuance to multiple forms of expression is key to a feminist practice of translation. Third, the authors describe how this approach opens their project to involve a range of participatory-action activities driven by the voices and desires of participants. The authors end by summarizing their ethical and methodological practices in light of inequalities at the intersection of citizenship status, class, nation, race, and other categories of asymmetrical power. These inequalities shape the authors’ attempts to reorganize conventional participant-researcher and student-faculty dynamics in their work together.

Ph.D. Candidate Andrew Nevin on, “Technological Tethering, Digital Natives, and Challenges in the Work–Family Interface”

Andrew NevinPh.D. candidate Andrew Nevin and Professor Scott Schieman recently published a co-authored article in The Sociological Quarterly, entitled, “Technological Tethering, Digital Natives, and Challenges in the Work–Family Interface.” The article discusses the phenomenon of “constant connectivity” and the ways in which it has fostered unrealistic expectations of worker availability. The authors explore the conflict that occurs between work-related communication outside of normal working hours and familial roles within the home.

Andrew Nevin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto. His research interests include: internet and technology, deviance, quantitative methods and social networks.

We have included the citation and abstract below. The full text of the article can be accessed through The Sociological Quarterly here.

Andrew D. Nevin & Scott Schieman (2020) Technological Tethering, Digital Natives, and Challenges in the Work–Family Interface, The Sociological Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/00380253.2019.1711264

This paper uses data from a 2011 survey of Canadian workers to examine complications in the work–family interface due to the rising expectations of constant connectivity – that is, technological tethering – between work and home domains. We analyze whether the relationship between job contact outside of normal hours and work-to-family conflict is differently experienced by cohorts of digital natives versus digital immigrants. Digital natives’ unique upbringing in a technology-driven sociocultural landscape has led to widespread assumptions regarding their heightened ability to handle communication demands delivered via work extending technologies. However, we find that being a digital native does not weaken the focal relationship, irrespective of additional gender and occupational status contingencies. We discuss the implications of this null finding for theoretical views about digital natives, as well as for communication practices in the modern workforce.

Ph.D. Candidate Anson Au discusses Hong Kong’s economy and the recent protests in the South China Morning

Ph.D. Candidate Anson Au recently wrote an Opinion piece for South China Morning, entitled, “Why Hong Kong’s economy is more than capable of weathering the recent protest headwinds.” South China Morning is a Hong Kong English-language newspaper founded in 1903. In the article, Au uses economic data and data from his research with Professor Sida Liu to show that although the protests are harmful to civil society, the extent of economic damage that has been inflicted is an exaggeration.

Anson Au is a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto. He is also currently a visiting professor in the School of Humanities, Social Science, and Law at Harbin Institute of Technology.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full article can be read here. 

The protests that have gripped Hong Kong for over seven months have been credited with taking a heavy toll on the economy. The impact on the tourism sectorhas received particular attention – in October, for example, the number of visitors from the mainland dropped 46.9 per cent compared to the previous month. These stark figures are compounded by anecdotal accounts of students, academics, businesses and professionalsconsidering leaving Hong Kong. Hong Kong entered a technical recession in October, with government officials and other commentators warning – some with resignation, others with delight – of darker economic times to come.

Although the damage the protests have done to the fabric of our civil society is clear, the extent of the economic damage has been exaggerated. Hong Kong’s economy is far more resilient than we have assumed and will certainly rebound in the long term. Data from the December 2019 report on the Hong Kong economy by the Census and Statistics Department and my own research with Professor Sida Liu at the University of Toronto on Chinese and foreign law firm collaborations in the Hong Kong legal sector paint a brighter picture…

Read the rest of the article here.

PhD Candidate James Lannigan on “Examining government cross-platform engagement in social media”

Ph.D. Candidate James Lannigan, in collaboration with Professor Anatoily Gruzd and Professor Kevin Quigley, published an article entitled, “Examining government cross-platform engagement in social media: Instagram vs Twitter and the big lift project” in Government Information Quarterly. The article compares the use of Instagram and Twitter by Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) to engage the public around the bridge re-decking project. The authors argue that although the Instagram posts seemed to be more engaging, the use of Twitter appeared to address social concerns more effectively.

James Lannigan is currently conducting dissertation research on entrepreneurial networks, and examining how individuals, retailers, and institutions use social media. Professor Anatoily Gruzd is a Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship, Associate Professor and Research Director of the Social Media Lab in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Professor Kevin Quigley is the Scholarly Director of the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

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

Gruzd, Anatoliy, James Lannigan, and Kevin Quigley. 2018. “Examining government crossplatform engagement in social media: Instagram vs Twitter and the big lift project.” Government Information Quarterly 35(4):579-587.

As governments are increasingly turning to social media as a means of engaging the public, questions remain as to how they are actually using various social media platforms. Do specific platforms engender specific types of messages? If so, what are they, and how do they affect civic engagement, co-participation, and address citizen concerns? In this paper, we compare the use of Instagram and Twitter by ‘The Big Lift’, a bridge re-decking project completed by Halifax Harbour Bridges. Based on a content analysis of Instagram (n = 248) and Twitter (n = 1278) public posts, we found that Instagram was used as a more ‘informal’ narrative platform that promoted a clicktivist type of responses from the audience, whereas Twitter was a more ‘formal’ news platform that supported greater two-way communication between the organization and the audience. We conclude that by building and maintaining their active presence and following base on social media, and especially on Twitter, organizations can develop a capacity to address social concerns during disruptive events or infrastructure projects like ‘The Big Lift’.

 

 

PhD Candiate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton on “The Black-White Paradox” in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour

Blair WheatonPh.D. Candidate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton  published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, entitled “The Black-White Paradox Revisited: Understanding the Role of Counterbalancing Mechanisms.” The article explores the enduring paradox that black adolescents report similar or better mental health than whites in mental health literature despite social and economic disadvantage that would lead us to expect otherwise. Patricia Louie’s research investigates racial disparities in mental and physical health. She is interested in how societal conditions produce racial inequities in population health. She currently holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship for her comparative research on race, discrimination, and mental/physical health.

Professor Blair Wheaton is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and specializes in the areas of quantitative methods and the sociology of mental health. His current research examines the role of neighbourhood effects on mental health outcomes.

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

Louie, Patricia and Blair Wheaton. “The Black-White Paradox Revisited: Understanding the Role of Counterbalancing Mechanisms.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 60(2): 169-187.

The tendency for blacks to report similar or better mental health than whites has served as an enduring paradox in the mental health literature for the past three decades. However, a debate persists about the mechanisms that underlie this paradox. Drawing on the stress process framework, we consider the counterbalancing roles of self-esteem and traumatic stress exposure in understanding the “black-white paradox” among U.S. adolescents. Using nationally representative data, we observe that blacks have higher levels of self-esteem than whites but also encounter higher levels of traumatic stress exposure. Adjusting for self-esteem reveals a net higher rate of mood disorders and distress among blacks relative to whites, and differences in traumatic stress exposure mediate this association. In the full model, we show that self-esteem and stress exposure offset each other, resulting in a null association between race and mood disorders and a reduced association between race and distress.

PhD Candidate James Lannigan on Branding Practices in Media

Ph.D. Candidate James Lannigan published an article in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Social Media & Society. The article, entitled, “Branding Practices in The New(Er) Media: A Comparison of Retailer Twitter and Web-Based Images,”compares the ways in which specialty coffee retailers use webpages and Twitter. Lannigan’s research finds that retailers post twice as many pictures on their Twitter pages as compared to their webpages. Moreover, the scale of the retaileralso affects the volume of pictures per Twitter stream and webpage. However, on average, larger retailers are using visuals more often than their smaller counterparts, which promotes engagement with their branded visual identities. Overall, this suggests that retailers are putting more effort into developing a social media presence rather than traditional web-based approaches to advertising.

James Lannigan is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto and is currently conducting dissertation research on entrepreneurial networks, and examining how individuals, retailers, and institutions use social media.

I have posted the citation and the abstract below. The full text can be found here.

Lannigan, James. 2017. “Branding practices in the new(er) media: A comparison of retailer Twitter and Web-Based images.” Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Social Media & Society Article 46.

To date, there has been little empirical focus on how different online mediums affect the branding practices of retailers. In this working paper, I compare how specialty coffee retailers of different sizes use webpages and Twitter. I examine over 2800 unique images from 86 retailers using a quantitative content analysis that enumerates visual elements within pictures. I find that there are significant differences in the use of these two mediums in terms of retailer scale, and that based on their size, retailers display different types of images at much different proportions.

PhD Candidate Merin Oleschuk on “Gender, Cultural Schemas and Learning to Cook”.

Ph.D. Candidate Merin Oleschuk has published an article in Gender and Society, entitled “Gender, Cultural Schemas and Learning to Cook.” The article looks to the experience of learning to cook to understand persistent gender inequalities in family cooking.

Merin Oleschuk’s research and teaching areas involve the sociology of food; consumption and consumer culture; sociology of health; sociology of gender; the environment; qualitative and quantitative research methods.

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

Oleschuk, Merin. 2019. “Gender, Cultural Schemas and Learning to Cook.” Gender & Society 33(4): 607-628.

While public health researchers stress the importance of home-cooked meals, feminist scholars investigate inequalities in family cooking, including why women still cook much more than men. Key to understanding these inequalities is attention to how people learn to cook, a relatively understudied topic by social scientists. To address this gap, this study employs the concept of cultural schemas. Drawing from qualitative interviews and observations of 34 primary cooks in families, I identify the ubiquity of a “cooking by our mother’s side” schema. This schema privileges culinary knowledge acquired during childhood through the social reproductive work of mothers. I argue, first, that this schema reproduces gendered inequalities over generations by reinforcing women as primary transmitters of cooking knowledge. Second, it presents an overly uniform picture of food learning that obscures diversity, especially by overemphasizing the importance of childhood and masking the learning that occurs later in life. Identifying and analyzing this schema offers opportunities to reconsider predominant approaches to food learning to challenge gendered inequalities in domestic foodwork.

PhD Candidate Patricia Louie on “Revisiting the Cost of Skin Color: Discrimination, Mastery, and Mental Health among Black Adolescents.”

Ph.D. Candidate Patricia Louie has published an article in the Journal of Society and Mental Health, entitled “Revisiting the Cost of Skin Color: Discrimination, Mastery, and Mental Health among Black Adolescents.” This study aims to investigate whether there are significant associations between skin tone and depression in a population of black adolescents. In particular, Louie tests the hypothesis that black Americans with very light skin tone have better mental health than their peers with darker skin tone.

Patricia Louie’s research investigates racial disparities in mental and physical health. She is interested in how societal conditions produce racial inequities in population health. She currently holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship for her comparative research on race, discrimination, and mental/physical health.

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

Louie, Patricia. “Revisiting the Cost of Skin Color: Discrimination, Mastery, and Mental Health among Black Adolescents.” Society and Mental Health.

This article investigates the association between skin tone and mental health in a nationally representative sample of black adolescents. The mediating influences of discrimination and mastery in the skin tone–mental health relationship also are considered. Findings indicate that black adolescents with the darkest skin tone have higher levels of depressive symptoms than their lighter skin tone peers. This is not the case for mental disorder. For disorder, a skin tone difference appeared only between black adolescents with very dark skin tone and black adolescents with medium brown skin tone. Discrimination partially mediates the association between skin tone and depression, while mastery fully mediates this association, indicating that the impact of skin tone on depression operates primarily through lower mastery. Similar patterns were observed for disorder. By extending the discussion of skin tone and health to black adolescents and treating skin tone as a set of categories rather than a linear gradient, I provide new insights into the patterning of skin tone and depression/disorder.

Ph.D. Candidate Amanda Couture-Carron,on “Experiences of Muslim and Non-Muslim battered immigrant women with the police in the United States”

Ph.D. Candidate Amanda Couture-Carron, in collaboration with Professor Nawal Ammar, Professor Shahid Alvi and Jaclyn San Antonio published an article in Violence Against Women, entitled “Experiences of Muslim and Non-Muslim battered immigrant women with the police in the United States: A closer understanding of commonalities and differences.” The article aims to fill the gap in knowledge concerning the nature of interpersonal violence and help-seeking behaviour of the battered Muslim immigrant women population in the United States.

Amanda Couture-Carron is currently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include intimate partner abuse, immigrant women and first- and second-generation immigrant youth experiences (e.g. identity, acculturation, sexuality). Professor Nawal Ammar is the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as a Professor Law and Justice at Rowan University. Professor Shahid Alvi is an award-winning researcher and professor in the  Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the Ontario Tech University. Jaclyn San Antonio is a Ph.D. Candidate in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto in Canada.

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

Ammar, N., Couture-Carron, A., Alvi, S. & San Antonio, J. (2013). Experiences of Muslim and Non-Muslim battered immigrant women with the police in the United States: A closer understanding of commonalities and differences. Violence Against Women, 19(12), 1449-1471.

Little research has been conducted to distinguish the unique experiences of specific groups of interpersonal violence victims. This is especially true in the case of battered Muslim immigrant women in the United States. This article examines battered Muslim immigrant women’s experiences with intimate partner violence and their experiences with the police. Furthermore, to provide a more refined view related to battered Muslim immigrant women’s situation, the article compares the latter group’s experiences to battered non-Muslim immigrant women’s experiences. Finally, we seek to clarify the similarities and differences between battered immigrant women aiming to inform responsive police service delivery.

 

PhD Candidate James Braun in “Nations and Nationalism”

Ph.D. Candidate James Braun published an article in Nations and Nationalism entitled “The strange case of ‘John Black’ and ‘Mr Hyde’: constructing migrating Jamaicans as (un)worthy nationals.”  The article uses content analysis to understand the moral constructions within Jamaica of diasporic Jamaicans.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below.

Braun, James. 2016. “The strange case of ‘John Black’ and ‘Mr Hyde’: constructing migrating Jamaicans as (un)worthy nationals”. Nations and Nationalism.

This paper examines how migrating Jamaicans were constructed as ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ of Jamaican diasporic membership in the early years of statehood, to demonstrate the role of nationalist cultural repertoires in constructing particular diasporic imaginaries. I conduct a discourse analysis of Jamaica’s national newspaper, The Daily Gleaner, between 1962 and 1966, a period encompassing crucial transitions in Jamaican migration movements and from colony to statehood. I argue that tropes of respectability present in Afro‐creole nationalist ideology form the cultural repertoires used to distinguish migrants’ actions as worthy or unworthy of national membership. These distinctions specify who ‘counts’ as part of the diaspora and how migrants of different social positions may claim and articulate their membership.

The full text is available through Wiley Online Library here.

Ph.D. Candidate Chang Lin on aging with technology

Ph.D. Candidate Chang Z. Lin, co-authored and published an article in the Canadian Journal of Communication, entitled, “Aging with Technology: Seniors and Mobile Connections.” The article investigates seniors’ use of mobile technology with a sample in East York. He finds a persistent generational digital divide, with seniors lagging behind other age groups in adopting mobile devices.

Chang Z. Lin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research interests include statistics and network analysis.

The citation and abstract are posted below. The full text is available here.

Jacobson, J., Lin, C. Z., & McEwen, R. (2017). Aging with technology: Seniors and mobile connections. Canadian Journal of Communication, 42(2), 331-357. doi:http://dx.doi.org.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/10.22230/cjc2017v42n2a3221

This research tells a story of age, aging, and evolving with mobile technologies in a single Canadian community. Using data from 2005 and 2012, we critically analyze seniors’ use of mobile technologies by applying Taylor’s information use environment. The article seeks to understand the influence of context in studying user behaviour vis-à-vis a) device ownership, b) communication practices, and c) technology preferences. Findings suggest that while the social rhetoric of seniors as adopters of mobile technologies (i.e., silver surfers) is premature, there is evidence of seniors leapfrogging older mobile devices and acquiring smartphones—with consequential complications for catching up to widening skills gaps. We also identify a variability of experiences within this generational group suggesting that there may be an additional digital divide among seniors.

Ph.D. Candidate Marie-Lise Drapeau-Bisson on Derry’s mobilization for the decriminalization of abortion

Ph.D. Candidate Marie-Lise Drapeau-Bisson recently published an article in the journal Irish Political Studies, entitled, “Beyond green and orange: the alliance for choice – Derry’s mobilization for the decriminalization of abortion.” The article explores the ways in which restrictions on activists for the decriminalization of abortion in Derry affected the activists’ strategies.

Marie-Lise Drapeau-Bisson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto.

We have posted the citation and the abstract below. The full article is available here.

Marie-Lise Drapeau-Bisson (2019) Beyond green and orange: alliance for choice – Derry’s mobilisation for the decriminalisation of abortion, Irish Political Studies, DOI: 10.1080/07907184.2019.1619834

On 8 October 2014, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice (DoJ) set up a public consultation on amending the law on abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crimes. Several organisations mobilised to respond to the consultation, but pro-choice activists in Alliance for Choice-Derry (AfC-Derry) preferred to invest their time in popular education tactics  aimed at the greater public. Why did these activists refuse to lobby politicians, as they have done in the past, and instead mobilise for awareness-raising actions? In this article, I argue that the gender-blindness of the post-conflict consociational settlement in Northern Ireland restricted activists’ opportunity to lobby governments both at Stormont and Westminster. Activists thus shifted their approach to mobilisation: from lobbying to educational tactics; from extending UK’s 1967 Abortion Act1 to decriminalisation; and from targeting politicians to targeting culture. This analysis of pro-choice activism under the gender-blind, consociational political system in Northern Ireland will shed light on theoretical questions of gendered political structure constraints on feminist actions as well as the development of cultural tactics by a “critical community” during a period of abeyance.

PhD Candidate Brigid Burke on education for sustainable development

Ph.D. Candidate Brigid Burke has co-authored and published an article in the Sustainability, entitled, “Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies.” The article explores the under-representation of disabled people in Education for Sustainable Development discourse (ESD) and the potential benefits of lessons from Disability and Ability Studies to the field of ESD.

Brigid Burke is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto in the Department of Sociology. Her research interests include equity, diversity, and accessibility studies.

We have posted the citation and abstract below. The full article is available here.

Wolbring, G.; Burke, B. Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2327-2342.

The call for papers asked to cast ―a critical eye on the practice and purpose of sustainability-focused education, and its successes and failures, thus far‖. We approach this task in this paper through two lenses that have not yet been very visible in the education for sustainable development (ESD) discourse. One is the lens of disability studies which is the inquiry around the lived reality of disabled people; the other is the lens of ability studies which among others investigates (a) which abilities are seen as essential in a given context; (b) the dynamic of how an ability expectation consensus is reached, if it is reached and (c) the impact of ability expectations. We conclude that (a) no consensus has been reached within ESD discourses as to the process of how to identify essential abilities and as to a list of abilities seen as important and (b) that disabled people are invisible in the formal and informal ESD discourse. We expect the paper to be of interest to disabled people, ESD scholars, teachers of ESD in different educational settings, students of ESD training, NGOs involved in ESD as well as policy makers involved in ESD.

Professor Scott Schieman’s research featured in “The Conversation”

Professor Scott Schieman recently co-authored a piece entitled, “Workers in the gig economy feel lonely and powerless,”  in The Conversation. The article discusses  findings from a study that Schieman conducted with co-investigators Professor Paul Glavin from McMaster University, and Professor Alex Bierman from the University of Calgary.

Based on a survey of over 2,000 working Canadians, the study found that individuals in the gig economy are more likely than people in regular employment to suffer from both loneliness and feelings of powerlessness.

The full article is available here. I have posted an excerpt below.

Workers in the gig economy feel lonely and powerless

The gig economy is quickly becoming a central part of Canadian life. The jobs aren’t just limited to Uber and Skip the Dishes. Grocery stores, laundries and more are banking on a new workforce that will accept jobs on a per-task basis.

Even a hallmark of Canadian life — snow-shovelling — is being absorbed into the gig economy. A recent startup in Calgary lets homeowners hire shovellers using their smartphones.

As sociologists, we envision a decentralized workforce, bereft of regular human contact or continuous employment. Yet this outlook stands in stark contrast to optimistic portrayals of a flexible economy that empowers workers to control their own fates. Which narrative — decentralized and isolated or connected and empowered — best reflects the reality of Canada’s gig workers?

It turns out that separating the hype from reality about the Canadian gig economy is no easy task, given the dearth of available data on gig workers.

One in five workers in gig economy

We therefore set out to conduct surveys with a representative slice of the Canadian employed population — gig and non-gig workers — as part of the 2019 Canadian Quality of Work and Economic Life Study. Our preliminary findings, as yet unpublished, are the result of interviews with 2,524 working Canadians from this study.

 

“Syndicate Women”: New Book by Professor Chris Smith

Professor Chris Smith’s newly published book, “Syndicate Women,” illuminates the blind spot created by women’s erasure from organized crime history.  The book details the organizational change around gender and power that occurred in Chicago in the early 1900s, providing an insightful lens for exploring the social processes that these women navigated within the criminal economies of the early twentieth century.

Professor Chris Smith is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Some of her research interests include feminist criminology, organized crime, and social network analysis.

The book’s publisher, University of California Press, includes the following synopsis on their website:

In Syndicate Women, sociologist Chris M. Smith uncovers a unique historical puzzle: women composed a substantial part of Chicago organized crime in the early 1900s, but during Prohibition (1920–1933), when criminal opportunities increased and crime was most profitable, women were largely excluded. During the Prohibition era, the markets for organized crime became less territorial and less specialized, and criminal organizations were restructured to require relationships with crime bosses. These processes began with, and reproduced, gender inequality. The book places organized crime within a gender-based theoretical framework while assessing patterns of relationships that have implications for non-criminal and more general societal issues around gender. As a work of criminology that draws on both historical methods and contemporary social network analysis, Syndicate Women centers the women who have been erased from analyses of gender and crime and breathes new life into our understanding of the gender gap.

Read more about the book and Professor Smith’s research on her website.

PhD Graduate Kat Kolar on Timeline Mapping in Qualitative Interviews

Ph.D. Graduate Kat Kolar in collaboration with Professor Farah Ahmad, Linda Chan, and Professor Patricia Erickson, published an article in the International Journal of Qualitative Methods, entitled “Timeline Mapping in Qualitative Interviews: A Study of Resilience with Marginalized Groups.” The study contributes to the literature on visual methods. It does so by providing an analysis of the implementation and findings of a study through the use of participant-created visual timelines and semi-structured interviewing in order to explore resilience among marginalized groups in the GTA.

Kat Kolar obtained her Ph.D. 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.

Professor Farah Ahmed works in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health in the Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division. Her research interests include mental health, intimate partner violence, and health promotion.

Linda Chan currently works as an educational lead developer at McMaster University. She is interested in program development, knowledge translation, and adult education.

We have posted the citation and abstract below. The full text can be found here.

Kolar, K., Ahmad, F., Chan, L., & Erickson, P. G. (2015). Timeline Mapping in Qualitative Interviews: A Study of Resilience with Marginalized Groups. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 13–32.

Growing interest in visual timeline methods signals a need for critical engagement. Drawing on critical emancipatory epistemologies in our study exploring resilience among marginalized groups, we investigate how the creation of visual timelines informs verbal semistructured interviewing. We consider both how experiences of drawing timelines and how the role of the timeline in interviews varied for South Asian immigrant women who experienced domestic violence, and street-involved youth who experienced prior or recent violent victimization. Here we focus on three overarching themes developed through analysis of timelines: (a) rapport building, (b) participants as navigators, and (c) therapeutic moments and positive closure. In the discussion, we engage with the potential of visual timelines to supplement and situate semistructured interviewing, and illustrate how the framing of research is central to whether that research maintains a critical emancipatory orientation.

Congratulations to Anson Au for their honourable mention for the Best Paper Award in the “Sociological Quarterly”

Congratulations to Anson Au for the honourable mention he received for the Best Paper Award in the Sociological Quarterly. His paper, entitled, “Reconceptualizing Social Movements and Power: Towards a Social Ecological Approach”, is a study that attempts to move the study of social movements towards a new social ecological approach.

Anson Au is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research interests include sociological methodology, culture, politics and theory.

We have provided a citation as well as the abstract below. The full text is available here. 

Anson Au (2017) Reconceptualizing Social Movements and Power: Towards a Social Ecological Approach, The Sociological Quarterly, 58:3, 519-545, DOI: 10.1080/00380253.2017.1331714

Existing social movement theories subsume protests into abstract conceptualizations of society, and current ethnographic studies of protests overburden description. Through a case study of London protests, this article transcends these limitations by articulating a social ecological approach consisting of critical ethnography and autoethnography that unearth the organizational strategies and symbolic representations exchanged among police, protesters, and third-party observers, while mapping the physical and symbolic characteristics of space bearing on these interactions. This approach points to a conceptualization of power at work as transient, typological structures: (a) rooted in collective agency; (b) both mediating and mediated by symbolic representations; (c) whose sensibilities are determined by symbolic interpretations; and (d) thrown into binary opposition between protester power and police power, who mutually represent meanings to resist and be resisted by.

PhD Graduate Lawrence Williams on “How Career Identity Shapes the Meaning of Work for Referred Employees”

Recent PhD graduate Lawrence Williams has published an article in Frontiers in Sociology entitled, “How Career Identity Shapes the Meaning of Work for Referred Employees.” The article dismantles previous sociological explanations surrounding the phenomenon of referred employees having longer tenures than non-referred employees. Within the study, the author demonstrates how career plans or career identity shaped how information and peer support led to respondents either staying in or leaving their jobs.

Lawrence Williams recently defended his dissertation in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research interests lie within sociological theory, sociology of culture, and deviance. His current research focuses on how individuals working in the field of customer service understand their careers and find meaning at work. It also examines the role of intuition in major life decisions.

We have posted the citation and the abstract below. The full text is available through Frontiers in Sociology, here.

Williams, Lawrence H. 2019. “How Career Identity Shapes the Meaning of Work for Referred Employees.” Frontiers in Sociology 3.

Sociological explanations for why referred employees typically have longer tenures than non-referred employees tend to be either that referred employees enter their jobs possessing a clearer sense of employer expectations or that they often receive support from their referrers while on the job. However, through analysis of work-history interviews conducted with salespersons in Toronto, Canada, I find that the significance of each of these factors for a person’s tenure depends on their career plans. For individuals with clear career plans, information mattered but support was less important. Conversely, for individuals with unclear career plans, support mattered but information was less important. I find that this divergence was based on the fact that individuals who had clearer career plans cared more about the fit they had with the tasks they performed in jobs which they were referred into while those with unclear plans tended to be more concerned about their overall fit with the job’s culture. I examine this difference in job satisfaction by demonstrating how the combination of information and support respondents had at any given job led them to either support, interrogate, or re-route their career plans differently based on the initial clarity of these plans. Based on these findings, I argue that the role that referrals play in shaping turnover intentions should be nested within individuals’ career identities. Doing so prevents researchers from seeing turnover intentions as being solely based on expectations at the time of hire or on connections made, strengthened, or weakened on-the-job and, instead, necessitates a more grounded view of turnover decisions.