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:

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.

PhD Candidate James Lannigan on Context and discourse in the specialty coffee scene

Ph.D. Candidate James Lannigan has published an article in The International Journal of Information Management. The article, entitled, “Making space for taste: Structure and discourse in the specialty coffee scene,” compares discourses employed in-person and on social media platforms of four specialty coffee events in Canada. Lannigan argues that there are significant discourses to be found in-person and online, and emphasizes the importance of the context of interaction. These consequences illustrate the complexity of communicating subtle, sensory-based messages in different contexts.

James Lannigan is currently conducting dissertation research on entrepreneurial networks, and examining how individuals, retailers, and institutions use social media.

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

Lannigan, James. In press. “Making a space for taste: Structure and discourse in the specialty coffee scene.” International Journal of Information Management.

Connoisseur consumption is continuing to grow in popularity, with more niche retailers and specialty firms servicing increasingly discerning consumers. Despite the wealth of consumer data from social media platforms, there has been little empirical focus on how consumers make sense of their experiences after interacting with cultural interlocutors from niche industries with highly specialized knowledge. In order to scrutinize the process of distinction making in practice and reception, this study employs a mixed methods approach to triangulate the production, reception, and practice of taste-making at four coffee fairs held in Toronto, Ontario, and Hamilton, Ontario. Through ethnographic fieldwork, conventional content analysis, and a discourse network analysis of social media usage from attendees, this study finds that there are important contextual differences that affect which discourses are present in-person and appear online.

PhD Candidate Andrew Nevin on “Academic Hiring Networks and Institutional Prestige”

Ph.D. Candidate Andrew Nevin published an article entitled, “Academic Hiring Networks and Institutional Prestige: A Case Study of Canadian Sociology” in the Canadian Review of Sociology. The study addresses the research questions of: (1) What is the structure of the sociology Ph.D. exchange network in Canada? and (2) What is the relationship between institutional prestige and the hiring patterns observed within this network? Despite the Canadian higher education system being understood as a “flat social structure,” Nevin finds that most PhDs hired in Canadian sociology departments were trained in a few departments, suggesting that institutional prestige plays a role in hiring.

Andrew Nevin’s research interests are primarily within the realm of Sociology of technology, cyber criminology, Sociology of the Internet, and inequality and stratification.

We have inserted the citation and the full text of the article, which can be found here.

Nevin, Andrew D. 2019. Academic Hiring Networks and Institutional Prestige: A Case Study of Canadian Sociology.” Canadian Review of Sociology 56(3):389-420.

This article examines the academic job market for Canadian sociology through its PhD exchange network. Using an original data set of employees faculty members in 2015 ( N= 1,157), I map the hiring relationships between institutions and the analysis of the observed network structure. My findings show that institutionalization is a powerful organizing force within this network, which is a reflection of the importance of a few centralized high-status institutions. However, further investigation is needed to understand the role of prestige in Canadian higher education, which has been characterized by a flat social structure. This requires attention to the interrelationships between institutional prestige, scholarly competence, and department size within a segmented academic field in Canada.

PhD Candidate Martin Lukk in collaboration with Joanne Soares and Professor Erik Schneiderhan on “Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors”

Martin LukkPh.D. student Martin Lukk, in collaboration with Joanne Soares and Professor Erik Schneiderhan has published an article, entitled, “Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors” in Canadian Review of Sociology. The article discusses crowdfunding and asks the question of why Canadians turn to health care and education crowdfunding and how equitably funds are raised using this method. They argue that health care and education crowdfunding is a response to the shortcomings of the Canadian welfare state provision.

Martin Lukk’s research investigates political culture, nationalism, inequality and stratification, and welfare states. Joanne Soares is currently working to obtain her Master of Public Policy at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of ArtsErik Schneiderhan. Professor Erik Schneiderhan is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair within the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus. He primarily specializes in political sociology, with a particular focus on pragmatist social theory.

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

Lukk, Martin, Erik Schneiderhan, and Joanne Soares. 2018. “Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors.” Canadian Review of Sociology 55(3): 404-24.

Crowdfunding, the practice of asking for money from others using the Internet, is a major private means through which Canadians are funding their health care and education. Crowdfunding has proliferated in Canada during the 2010s and continues to grow, approaching the revenues of Canada’s major traditional charities. Proponents describe it as an empowering practice from which anyone can benefit. If its gains are inequitably distributed, however, increasing reliance on this private funding mechanism, especially in core areas of welfare state provision, can further exacerbate inequalities of opportunity and income. This study asks why Canadians turn to health care and education crowdfunding and how equitably funds are raised using this novel method. Based on a mixed methods analysis of 319 campaigns conducted on two prominent crowdfunding platforms between 2012 and 2014, we find that crowdfunding users’ needs frequently correspond to known gaps in the contemporary social safety net, including in the area of cancer care, and that campaigns for older and visible minority Canadians face a disadvantage. We argue that health care and education crowdfunding is a response to the shortcomings of Canadian welfare state provision, but one that reproduces offline inequalities with potentially perilous consequences for democratic life and individual suffering.

PhD Candidate Timothy Kang on “The Transition to Adulthood of Contemporary Delinquent Adolescents”

Timothy KangPh.D. Candidate Timothy Kang published an article in the Journal of Developmental and Life Course Criminology, entitled, “The Transition to Adulthood of Contemporary Delinquent Adolescents”. The author uses a variety of techniques in order to learn the trajectories delinquent adolescents take during their transition to adulthood, and compares this to that of their non-delinquent peers. He finds that contemporary delinquent adolescents have fewer bonds of social control than their non-delinquent peers and than delinquent adolescents of the past.

Timothy Kang’s research interests are primarily within socio-legal studies, as well as qualitative/quantitative analysis and social statistics. We would also like to congratulate him on being awarded the Annual Canadian Population Society Student Paper Competition for this study.

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

Kang, Timothy. 2019. The Changing Transition to Adulthood of Contemporary Delinquent Adolescents. Journal of Developmental and Life Course Criminology, 5(2): 176-202.

To document how age-graded social bonds, specifically employment and partnering, are timed and sequenced during the transition to adulthood among contemporary delinquent adolescents, and how these trajectories compare with those of non-delinquents to better inform contemporary desistance research. Methods Multiple sequence and cluster analyses were conducted using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (n = 8984) to describe the trajectories young adults take through the transition to adulthood. Multinomial logistic regression was used to predict cluster membership by adolescent criminal behavior and arrest history. Results: Contemporary delinquent adolescents are significantly less likely to experience traditional sources of informal control (e.g., marriage, full-time employment) compared with their non-delinquent counterparts and past cohorts, and those who do experience similar age-graded controls tend to do so later during the transition to adulthood. Crime and arrests during adolescence are also more consequential in determining partnering and employment trajectories for women compared with men. Conclusions: In comparison with past cohorts, contemporary delinquent adolescents are far less likely to experience the traditional social bonds that have been theorized to encourage desistance from crime as they transition to adulthood, and combine partnering and employment roles in a variety of trajectories. Future research in life course criminology searching for social determinants of long-term desistance and persistence in crime need to consider the new schedule of age-graded social bonds experienced by contemporary delinquent adolescents.

The Hard Labour of Finding Good Work: Prof. Ito Peng and Prof. Patricia Landolt in University of Toronto Magazine

A recent article in University of Toronto Magazine, entitled entitled, “The Hard Labour of Finding Good Work,” highlighted Professor Patricia Landolt’sand Professor Ito Peng’s research. Professor Landolt, Chair of the University of Toronto Scarborough’s sociology department has research expertise in the production and reproduction of systems of social exclusion, as well as the inequality associated with global migrations. Professor Ito Peng, who is the Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the Department of Sociology, and the School of Public Policy and Governance, has expertise in political sociology and social contexts of public policy, specializing in family, gender, and demographic issues, migration, and comparative social policy.

The article, written by author John Lornic, discusses the ways in which migrants face systemic barriers when seeking employment. The full article is available on the University of Toronto Magazine’s website here.

I have posted an excerpt below.

The Hard Labour of Finding Good Work: Migrants are determined to find jobs, but face systemic barriers

Oct. 2, 2019

…The sprawling health-care and long term–care sectors depend on thousands of caregivers – and “the vast majority are women, and a large proportion are immigrant women and women of colour,” observes Prof. Ito Peng of sociology, who oversees the Gender, Migration and the Work of Care project at U of T’s Centre for Global Social Policy.

Many are here on temporary work visas, but she says it’s not uncommon for these “documented migrants to become undocumented when they overstay their visas.” Some have good reason to want to stay on: careworkers and live-in domestics in other countries, including much of the Asia Pacific region, aren’t covered by employment standards laws, says Peng, who is also director of U of T’s Centre for Global Policy.

Landolt’s research also shows that the number of migrants entering Canada on temporary work visas as a proportion of overall immigration has increased dramatically in recent years. Some of these migrants go on to establish lives here and seek permanent resident status – but this drawn-out bureaucratic process can take years, creating uncertainty and a period of “precarious non-citizenship.”

In 2006, Landolt and her team interviewed 300 migrants who had come to Canada from Latin America and the Caribbean. The researchers found that people who had spent any time in precarious status were more likely to find poor quality work and maintain poor quality work instead of advancing through higher-skilled and better-paying positions, as is the more typical trajectory with permanent residents. As she says, “The system is creating a probationary pool of people with one hand tied behind their backs in terms of rights.”…

Read the full article here. 

Ph.D. Candidate Fernando Calderón-Figueroa, in collaboration with Professor Daniel Silver and Professor Zack Taylor on, “Populism in the City: the Case of Ford Nation”.

Ph.D. Candidate Fernando Calderón-Figueroa, in collaboration with Professor Daniel Silver and Professor Zack Taylor, published an article entitled, “Populism in the City: the Case of Ford Nation”, in International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. The article analyzes Rob Ford’s 2010 campaign and mayoralty in Toronto, and how it reveals the potential for the emergence of populist politics within the metropolis.

Fernando Calderón-Figueroa’s research focuses on urban sociology, political sociology, and social theory. Professor Daniel Silver is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.  His research areas are social theory, cities, culture, and cultural policy. Professor Zack Taylor previously worked within the Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto and currently works at the University of Western ODan Silverntario in the Department of Political Science. His research areas are urban political economy and Canadian and comparative politics and policymaking, with an empirical focus on historical and contemporary multi-level governance of cities.

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

Silver, Daniel, Zack Taylor, and Fernando Calder´on-Figueroa. 2019. “Populism in the City: The Case of Ford Nation.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 31(1):1-21.

Populism is often viewed as a national-level phenomenon that pits a declining periphery against a cosmopolitan, economically successful metropolis. Our analysis of Rob Ford’s 2010 campaign and mayoralty in Toronto reveals the potential for the emergence of populist politics within the metropolis. To comprehend his appeal, principally within the city’s ethnically diverse postwar peripheral areas, we apply Brubaker’s conceptualization of populism as a discursive repertoire. Drawing on qualitative information and analysis of survey research, we first describe how Ford constructed electorally salient protagonists and antagonists. Second, we discuss how his emergence was enabled by institutional, economic, and demographic change. Finally, we explain Ford’s appeal to a diverse electorate in terms of the sincerity and coherence of his performance as the collective representation of suburban grievance. We conclude by arguing that populism may emerge in metropolitan settings with strong, spatially manifest internal social, economic, and cultural divisions.

Ph.D. Candidate Athena Engman on “Embodiment and the foundation of biographical disruption”

Ph.D. Candidate Athena Engman recently published an article in Social Science and Medicine, entitled, “Embodiment and the foundation of biographical disruption.” The article reported on data regarding the experiences of 36 post-operative organ transplant recipients. Therefore, the article aims to categorize the conditions that cause “biological disruption” to emerge. This describes the way that individuals with a disease are sometimes forced to rethink the way that they live. Therefore, the article discovers how thee conditions may have the effect of either delaying or mitigating the experience of illness as a biological disruption.

Athena Engman is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include medical sociology, social theory, and epistemology.

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

Athena Engman, Embodiment and the foundation of biographical disruption, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 225, 2019, Pages 120-127, ISSN 0277-9536,

The concept of biographical disruption has now enjoyed nearly 40 years of use in medical sociology. This paper argues that taking an embodied approach to biographical disruption helps to explain the concept’s enduring efficacy. Drawing on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and contemporary theories of embodiment inspired by his phenomenology, this paper advances that biographical disruption involves, in the first instance, a disruption to the ability to enact an embodied orientation towards the world. Biographical disruption does not, from this perspective, result from illness as such, but from the ways that illness impinges on one’s physical ability to engage with daily life.

This paper examines the experiences of solid organ transplant recipients for the purpose of shedding light on the conditions under which biographical disruption arises in experience. The analysis includes interviews with 36 post-operative solid organ transplant recipients (heart, liver, lung, and kidney) living in British Columbia or Ontario, Canada. These participants exhibit a wide range of illness experiences, some of which manifest as biographical disruption and others that do not. Tracing the contours of these experiences, this paper argues that the efficacy of biographical disruption for describing the illness experience depends not only on the illness experience but also, fundamentally, on the content of embodiment prior to the onset of that experience.

Congratulations to Ioana Sendroiu, recipient of the 2019 Daniel G Hill Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Sociology

Congratulations to Ioana Sendroiu, winner of the 2018-19 Daniel G. Hill Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Sociology at the University of Toronto.

The prize honours Daniel G. Hill who was a Canadian sociologist, civil servant, human rights specialist, and Black Canadian historian.  He received his Ph.D. in our department in 1960.  Dr Hill applied his insight and expertise in several important roles including his role as a researcher for the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, serving as the Executive Secretary of the North York Social Planning Council, his position as  assistant director of the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Research Foundation, and teaching in the department of sociology at the University of Toronto. In addition, he was the first full-time director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, later becoming the Ontario Human Rights Commissioner. From 1984 to 1989, he served as the Ontario Ombudsman. Dr. Hill also founded the Ontario Black History Society and authored a book titled The Freedom Seekers: Blacks in Early Canada.  In 1993, he was awarded the Order of Ontario. A few years later, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Ioana’s paper, “Human Rights as Uncertain Performance During the Arab Spring,” appeared in the April 2019 volume of Poetics. It explores how events, in this case the Arab Spring, shape how states vote in the UN Human Rights Council. Ioana shows that the political uncertainty that was caused by the Arab Spring led many repressive states to vote in favour of human rights resolutions, but that this shift was only temporary – once Arab Spring pressures subsided, these states returned to their conventional voting patterns. Ioana builds on this finding to theorize voting behaviours as a performance that are responsive to geopolitical events, and in so doing extends and complicates sociological analyses of human rights diffusion.

Ioana Sendroiu is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto and an Affiliated Scholar of the American Bar Foundation. Her work brings insights from cultural sociology to the study of politics and law, with published articles in Poetics, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Law & Social Inquiry.

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

Ioana Sendroiu, Human rights as uncertain performance during the Arab Spring, Poetics, Volume 73, 2019, Pages 32-44,

Sociological research on human rights analyzes the degree to which states engage with international human rights commitments over time. Yet we have a limited understanding of how specific events shape the long-term trajectory of human rights norms. This paper explores the effect of the Arab Spring on voting in the UN Human Rights Council. Using multiple growth curve models, I find that the emergence of the Arab Spring changed the voting patterns of most non-free states, but only temporarily, and that this holds even when controlling for protest events facing a given country. In contrast, a small set of non-free states did not change their votes during the Arab Spring. Drawing on research from cultural sociology, this paper explains these divergent voting patterns as heterogeneous performances in the face of an event causing deep uncertainty such as the Arab Spring. The paper concludes that commitments to human rights norms must account for how events puncture broader trends, and that engagement with the human rights regime – and perhaps other performances of state legitimacy — requires an understanding of the multiple audiences, events, and policy possibilities to which states are attuned in international forums.