Professor David Pettinicchio recently co-authored an article titled “Canadians with disabilities are feeling left behind by pandemic policy”

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio recently co-authored an article titled “Canadians with disabilities are feeling left behind by pandemic policy” on First Policy Response. The article reports on findings from a study he and a colleague conducted in June 2020 that found that many persons with disabilities and chronic health conditions were ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and faced increased costs as a result of the pandemic, putting them in a particularly vulnerable position. In response to these findings, Professor Pettinicchio calls on the policy community to re-think its strategies, and to focus on long-term wellbeing for all Canadians, including those with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

Professor David Pettinicchio is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the area of political sociology and studies the intersection of inequality and politics. His work has been published in many well-known journals including Gender and Society, The Sociology Quarterly, Canadian Review of Sociology, and the British Journal of Social Psychology.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

Because of low employment earnings or being completely excluded from the labour market — in addition to lack of access to credit markets (such as credit cards, mortgages and loans) — people with disabilities and chronic health conditions make use of other income supports. These include personal and household assets and government benefits, mostly from provinces. They also often face higher overall costs of living, and they experience obstacles in accessing health and personal care services.

This meant that people with disabilities and chronic health conditions were in an especially tough situation during the pandemic. Many faced increased costs, but without employment, they did not qualify for benefits such as CERB.

In June 2020, we conducted a national survey of 1,027 people with disabilities and chronic health conditions, as well as 50 in-depth follow-up interviews. We asked about their experiences with the pandemic and pandemic countermeasures, their employment and financial situations, their mental health status, and their attitudes toward government and policies during COVID-19.

People with disabilities who were employed but lost their jobs when the pandemic hit saw increased economic insecurity. Individuals in so-called “good jobs” like government and unionized jobs felt more financially secure, as did those who received CERB. However, as we show, employment does not always guarantee financial security. Half of employed respondents still worried about their economic futures.

Coupled with heightened fears of getting COVID-19, worsening economic situations also contributed to deteriorating mental health. Increased anxiety, stress and despair were associated with negative financial effects of COVID-19, greater concerns about contracting COVID-19, increased loneliness and decreased feelings of belonging.

More generally, as our findings show, people with disabilities and chronic health conditions felt left out of the policy process. Whatever policy efforts are made to mitigate social, health and economic impacts of the pandemic on this diverse community must include their voices.

The pandemic calls into question existing policies that focus on a person’s capacity to save for a rainy day — policies that ignore structural disadvantages and strict income thresholds that can keep people with disabilities out of better jobs. Now is the time to revisit and reform these systems for long-term wellbeing.


Professor David Pettinicchio’s new co-authored article “Partisanship fuels what people with disabilities think about COVID-19 response” was recently in the National Post

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio’s new co-authored article “Partisanship fuels what people with disabilities think about COVID-19 response” was featured in the National Post.  Professor Pettinichio and Professor Michelle Maroto conducted a national survey of people with chronic health conditions and disabilities during the pandemic examining the added stress and isolation it has caused the marginalized group.  Part of the survey asked their opinions on the governments handling of the pandemic and found that regional and partisan political beliefs were the driving force in their attitudes towards the government response.  The assumption that the respondents would view the government’s response through the lens of their disabilities and health conditions because of the immense impact it has had on their lives was not the case.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on The National Post here.

Partisanship fuels what people with disabilities think about COVID-19 response

Authors: David Pettinicchio, Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Toronto and Michelle Maroto, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada was touted as fast-acting in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. In March 2020, the federal government restricted travel, initiated lockdowns and enacted a taxable income support program, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB.

Cross-partisan consensus among Canadian leaders facilitated these COVID-19 countermeasures. Compared to the United States, Canada’s pandemic response seemed rather apolitical.

Public opinion polls throughout 2020 showed that most Canadians held favourable views of the federal government’s response to the pandemic. People’s attitudes varied more when it came to their views of their province’s response. This makes sense since provincial governments differed in how they dealt with social distancing, lockdowns and reopenings. All in all, and in the broadest sense, Canadians felt confident in their leaders in 2020.

But not all Canadians have been affected equally by the pandemic or by policy responses to it.

People with chronic health conditions and disabilities are already a marginalized group that experiences significant employment and financial barriers, as well as obstacles to accessing social and health services. Due to increased social isolation, they also experience significant declines in mental health. These were made worse by the pandemic.

What are the views of members of this group about the federal government’s response to the pandemic and what does this tell us more generally about Canadians’ attitudes about government?

Political views shaped perceptions

In June 2020, we conducted a national survey of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. We asked them questions about how they thought the government was handling the pandemic.

We found that while disability and health status may indirectly shape views of government, regional and partisan political beliefs were the most important predictors of attitudes.

Professor David Pettinicchio’s new article “COVID-19 affects the mental health of those already most vulnerable in society” was featured in the Toronto Star

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio’s new article “COVID-19 affects the mental health of those already most vulnerable in society” was featured in the Toronto Star.  Professor Pettinicchio examines the negative impacts from COVID-19 on those with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

In June 2020 Professor Pettinicchio’s research team surveyed Canadians with disabilities and chronic health conditions about the added anxiety, stress and despair brought on by the pandemic and posted their findings in the Disability and Health Journal.  The article uses the findings to show that many have experienced a significant increase in anxiety, stress and despair and those impacted economically by the pandemic were even more likely to report deteriorating mental health.

For many Canadians, the news of vaccinations, warmer weather and an easing of restrictions will help improve their mental health. Unfortunately, those with disabilities and chronic health conditions must remain isolated, cautious and will likely continue to feel the added stress and anxiety.  For Professor Pettinicchio, this means Canadians need to support public health investments in combating mental health issues, and need to include this marginalized group in the governments response to the pandemic.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on The Toronto Star here.

COVID-19 affects the mental health of those already most vulnerable in society
By David Pettinicchio

Michelle Maroto
Mon., March 1, 2021

Surpassing year one of the COVID-19 pandemic, its effects on social and economic life have taken their toll on the mental health of many Canadians. But certain groups, left vulnerable due to larger structural failures, have felt the impact more than others. This is especially true for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

People with disabilities and chronic health conditions are more at risk of getting COVID-19, experiencing complications, and dying from the virus. They have been especially negatively affected by the economic downturn and have been largely excluded from government economic supports. And, social distancing measures have further isolated Canadians with disabilities cutting them off from friends, family, and care workers.

Last June, our research team conducted a national survey of 1,027 Canadians with disabilities and chronic health conditions to find out about changes in anxiety, stress, and despair and what specific pandemic-related factors are contributing to these. Our findings were recently published in the Disability and Health Journal.

We found that over one third of respondents reported increased levels of anxiety and stress, with about one fifth reporting growing levels of despair. This varied across respondents, though. Respondents reporting more severe disabilities and health issues were more likely to feel anxious, stressed and have feelings of despair.

Individuals worried about getting COVID-19 and those economically impacted by the pandemic were also more likely to report deteriorating mental health as well as those reporting feeling lonely and lacking a sense of belonging.

The pandemic continues to illustrate how disruptions to our ways of life negatively impact our mental health, but it also reveals how pre-existing health and socio-economic barriers experienced disproportionately by some Canadians make declining mental health even greater. Our results reflect a period when lockdowns were easing and the promise of a “return to normal” kept people feeling more hopeful. As the pandemic progressed, anxiety and stress have no doubt increased.

Professor David Pettinicchio’s featured by Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor David Pettinicchio was recently featured in an article posted on the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences website. This article provides an overview of various Canadian researchers and highlights Pettinicchio for his collaborative efforts with Professor Michelle Maroto of the University of Alberta in their research to understand the effects of COVID-19 among people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other underlying health conditions.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology, an affiliated faculty in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and an associate member of Trinity College. His research interests are social policy, political sociology, law and society, disability politics and social movements.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences website here.

Canadian researchers examine the effects of COVID-19 within the disability community

Everyone has stories about how their life has been altered due to COVID-19 and related containment measures, but it is also clear that the direst effects of dealing with the pandemic have not been distributed equally. Some argue that the disability community has been largely overlooked in the design of COVID-19 precautions and has been left with few resources to mitigate negative impacts. Researchers across the country are working with community partners to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on people with disabilities.

At the University of Alberta, Professor Michelle Maroto, in collaboration with Professor David Pettinicchio at the University of Toronto, is studying the social and economic effects of COVID-19 among people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other underlying health conditions.

Preliminary findings from a nationwide survey demonstrate that people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are not only very worried about getting COVID-19, they also feel excluded from the work of policy-makers and are concerned about their long-term economic situation.

Read the full article here…

Professor David Pettinicchio writes about disability, mental health, and the COVID-19 holiday season – article in The Conversation

Professor David Pettinicchio recently co-authored the article “What a distanced holiday season means for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions” with Professor of Sociology Michelle Maroto (University of Alberta) in The Conversation. The article outlines how many Canadians and Americans opted to spend time with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holidays against public health recommendations for the boost to mental health.

While it is true that the pandemic has resulted in a mass decline in mental health across the country, the authors drew attention to how those whose face the highest risk from COVID-19 complications face heightened strain on their mental health. For many with disabilities and chronic health conditions, the risks of COVID-19 complications outweighs any benefits of social gathering. Professor Pettinicchio and his co-author found in their research that those in high risk groups who must limit their social interaction entirely experience a dramatic decrease in mental health because of their isolation, in addition to the mental health strain already common to people with such health conditions. They note that while we all are weathering the pandemic together, not everyone has experienced the effects – positive and negative – equally, and that for as hard as socially distancing this holiday season was for all, it has been especially harder for some.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on The Conversation here.

What a distanced holiday season means for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions

For many, the holiday season is synonymous with family gatherings, often requiring arduous and stressful travel. This is so much a part of our culture that getting to a place to be with loved ones has been the plot of many holiday movies — from Planes, Trains and Automobiles to the countless Hallmark Channel Christmas movies now available all year long.

In a time when many people are feeling lonely and isolated, celebrations with family and friends can feel like a lifeline. This is perhaps why many Canadians and Americans ignored recommended social distancing measures over their recent Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, gatherings related to the October holiday resulted in a spike of COVID-19 cases. The post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 spike in the United States is now being felt in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Many of those who travelled and held family gatherings for these holidays may have done so because they saw themselves as being at low risk for COVID-19 complications. They put their need for contact above contracting and spreading the virus. Such gatherings were potentially important for limiting some of the negative mental health effects related to weathering this pandemic. Indeed, half of all Canadians have reported worsening mental health since the onset of social distancing measures.

Individuals in high-risk groups are already more likely to be experiencing negative mental health effects brought on by protective measures. What might this mean as the holiday season continues to unfold?

Read the full article here

Professor David Pettinicchio reports Canadian sentiments on COVID-19 news sources – Toronto Star Article

Professor David Pettinicchio recently wrote an article featured in the Toronto Star “Do Canadians trust where they get their news about the COVID-19 pandemic?” In the article, Professor Pettinicchio reported on where Canadians get their information on the current conditions of the pandemic and how they feel about these sources. While Canadians generally trust what government officials report, they do so with some caution. Many Canadians retain skepticism towards elected politicians reporting on COVID-19 developments even. Compared to news outlets south of the border however, Canadians feel that Canadian news outlets are far more trustworthy. Professor Pettinicchio highlights the importance of the way Canadians receive new safety recommendations, information on identifying symptoms, and how to access testing and treatment as we experience our second wave of the pandemic.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We have included an excerpt of the article below. To read the full article, click here.

Do Canadians trust where they get their news about the COVID-19 pandemic?

U of T Sociologists at the 2020 ASA

This year, 52 faculty members and graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are participating in the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association (ASA). In addition to the people presenting papers, some members are also participating as session organizers, discussants, or journal editorial panelists. This year, the meeting will take place online. The meetings will happen between August 8th and August 11th. Here is a list of the names of academic papers, and/or sections that will be presented below by the day of presentations. Student and recent graduate presenters are shown in italics. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 8th

Jennifer Peruniak, How Transracial Adoptees See and Negotiate Race

Cynthia J. Cranford and Patricia Roach (with Jennifer Nazareno of Brown University), Organizing Unlikely Subjects: The Constraints and Possibilities for Domestic Worker Organizing in California

David Nicholas Pettinicchio and Jordan Foster, ‘This is Real Beauty’: Defining the Boundaries of Aesthetic Citizenship

Mircea Gherghina, Start-Ups, Social Embeddedness, and Investment Networks

Catherine Tze Hsuan Yeh and Alicia Eads, The Language of Inequality: Inequality in Sociology and Economics, 1886-2015

Andrew Miles and Catherine Tze Hsuan Yeh, Social Locations, Contexts, and Value Development: Testing Whether Demographic Predictors of Personal Values Vary Cross-Nationally

Blair Wheaton, The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Role Attitudes and Implications for Mental Health in Mid-Adulthood

Cynthia J. Cranford, Organizing Domestic and Care Workers: A Conversation Across University and Community

Scott Schieman (with Alex E. Bierman of University of Calgary and Marisa Christine Young of McMaster University), The Roots of Loneliness in Disadvantage and Exploitation: Implications for Health of the Working Population

Jonathan Horowitz (with Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), One Event, Two Processes, and Migration in Young Adulthood

Hae Yeon Choo, A Global Urban Sociology of Evictions and Displacement

Sara Mizen (with Andy Walter Holmes of U of T, Anthropology), Ideas for Future Research Roundtable, Table 8: LGBT Families and Life Course

Yangsook Kim, Government Workers and Paid-Daughters: Immigrant Homecare Workers’ Worker Subjectivities in Publicly Funded Care Work

Mitra Mokhtari, An “Extra Target on Your Back”: Somali-Canadian Youth & Barriers in Edmonton’s Public School Board

Sunday, August 9th

William Michelson, Daniel Silver, Fernando A. Calderón Figueroa, and Olimpia Bidian, The Dilemmas of Spatializing Social Issues

Daniel Silver and Fernando A. Calderón Figueroa, Cities and Big Data

Chris M. Smith, Urban Issues: Inequality, Institutions, and Place

Markus Schafer (with Laura Upenieks, University of Texas at San Antonio), Religious Attendance and Physical Health in Later Life: A Life Course Approach

Michelle Pannor Silver, Sociology of Aging

Catherine Tze Hsuan Yeh, Section on Political Sociology Refereed Roundtables

Ioana Sendroiu, ‘Probably Tomorrow I’ll Become a War Criminal’: Autocratic Legalism as Transnational Regime Change

Ronit Dinovitzer, Section of Sociology of Law Business Meeting

Patricia Louie, Mapping Multiracial vs. Monoracial Heath Disparities

Elliot Fonarev, Using Legal Cases as Ethnographic Objects to Assess Gender Identity Making in Human Rights Law

Kim Pernell (with Jiwook Jung of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Rethinking Moral Hazard: Competing Drivers of Bank Risk-Taking, 1993-2015

Steve G. Hoffman, Other Realities: Using Simulation in Disaster and Emergency Management to Create and Recreate Worlds

Jooyoung Kim Lee, Microsociologies: Methods & Perspectives on Interaction

Irene Boeckmann, Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving (Princeton University Press, 2019) by Caitlyn Colins

Ronit Dinovitzer and Andreea Mogosanu, Understanding the Motherhood Penalty Among Private Sector Lawyers: The Effects of Entrenched Masculinity

Ron Levi and Ioana Sendroiu, Partnership Patterns, Performances, and the Spread of Human Rights

Monday, August 10th

Chris M. Smith, Racializing Police Violence

Angelina Grigoryeva (with Nina Bandelj of University of California-Irvine), The Price of Parenting: Wealth, Race and Financial Activities for Children, 1998-2016

Jonathan Horowitz (with Jill Hamm and Kerrylin Lambert of UNC-Chapel Hill), The Price of Parenting: Wealth, Race and Financial Activities for Children, 1998-2016

Fedor A. Dokshin and Mircea Gherghina, Green in the Wallet: Political Identity, Financial Incentives, and the Diffusion of Residential Solar Photovoltaics

Joshua Harold, The Holocaust, Israel, and the Everyday Politics of Collective Memory Mobilization

David Nicholas Pettinicchio, Past, Present, and Future: 30 Years After the Americans with Disabilities Act

Kim de Laat, Valuations of Diversity: Exploring the Socio-Economic Role of Marquee Quotas in Creative Industries

Tuesday, August 11th

Kristin Plys, For a Rodneyan World Systems Analysis: Returning to the Dar es Salaam School

Kim de Laat, Barriers to Flexible Work Arrangements: New Evidence on the Role of Work Culture and Structure

Ali Greey, Preclusive Portals: The Spatial Stakes of “Determining Gender” in Binary-Gendered Restrooms and Locker Rooms

David Nicholas Pettinicchio (with Michelle Lee Maroto of University of Alberta), “Working in the Shadows of Society”: Disability Subminimum Wages and the Reproduction of Inequality

Ann L. Mullen, Beyond Classification, Decoding, and Meaning-Making: Contemporary Artists’ Perspectives on the Reception of Visual Art

Natalie Julia Adamyk, Governing Through Less Governance: Women’s Shelters and the Creation of the “Shelter-Citizen”

Carmen Lamothe, Reframing Public Health Problems: A Qualitative Examination of Public Health Apps in the United States

Michael Hammond, Section on Evolution, Biology, and Society Business Meeting

Kristin Plys, Political Economy of the World System Roundtables, Table 2: Core/Periphery Relations

Marion Blute, On Human Nature: New Approaches in the 21st Century

Sharla N. Alegria, Jobs, Occupations, and Professions

Franklynn Bartol, Sex/Gender in the Brain: Is Neuroplasticity the New Neurodeterminism?

Youngrong Lee, “It is Not Meant to Be Work”: How Do Workers Become Consumers in the Gig Economy?

Jordan Foster, “My Money and My Heart”: Buying a Birkin and Class Boundaries Online

Scott Schieman and Philip James Badawy, Control and the Health Effects of Work-Family Conflict: A Longitudinal Test of Generalized versus Specific Stress-Buffering

Michelle Pannor Silver, Section on Sociology of Consumers and Consumption Roundtables, Table 2: Body and Health

Merin Oleschuk, Expanding the Joys of Cooking: How Class Shapes the Emotional Work of Preparing Family Meals

David Nicholas Pettinicchio, Living on the Poverty Line: Low Wage Work, Precarity, and the New Economy

Noam Keren, A Radical State of Mind: When Radical Social-Movements and States Collide, The Case of 269Life

Angelina Grigoryeva, Theory Section Refereed Roundtables, Table 1: Theorizing Polity and Society-1, Table 2: Theorizing Polity and Society-2, Table 3: Theorizing Violence and Conflict, Table 4: Toward a Theory of Economic Action, Table 5: Theorizing Social Interaction and Self-Presentation, Table 6: Revisting Sociology of Classical Theory, Table 7: Theoretical Foundations of Social Justice and Inequality, Table 8: Novel Theoretical Approaches to Social Life

Christos Orfanidis, Theory Section Refereed Roundtables, Table 5: Theorizing Social Interaction and Self-Presentation

Tahseen Shams, International Migration Roundtables, Table 1: Critical Refugee Studies I, Table 2: Critical Refugee Studies II, Table 3: Citizenship, Multiculturalism, and Nationalism, Table 4: Educational Trajectories and Evolving Demographics, Table 5: Health, Wellness, and Migration, Table 6: Immigration Lawmaking and Political Activism, Table 7: Undocumented Immigration, Table 8: Refugee Resettlement and Community Formation, Table 9: Gendered Approaches to Migration I, Table 10: Gendered Approaches to Migration II, Table 11: Immigrant Workers and the Labor Market I, Table 12: Immigrant Workers and the Labor Market II, Table 13: Comparative Migration Studies, Table 14: Global Migration I, Table 15: Global Migration II

Professor David Pettinicchio on Canadians with disabilities and chronic health conditions feeling left behind amid the COVID-19 pandemic

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio recently co-wrote an op-ed in The Toronto Star discussing the negative impacts wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians with disabilities and long-term chronic health conditions.  Although most people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who applied for the CERB found the process accessible, they expressed anxieties about what will happen in the future. Professor Pettinicchio explains that it is crucial for organizations to provide ample support and for policies to cater to their needs in order to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Professor David Pettinicchio is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Mississauga (UTM) campus. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. 

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on The Star website here.

Canadians with disabilities, chronic health conditions feel left behind by pandemic

Mon., July 13, 2020

Governments have a responsibility to address the specific challenges people with disabilities and chronic health conditions have and continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only is this population more likely to contract COVID-19, it is also more negatively affected by the social distancing measures put in place to limit its spread. Economic and social supports for people with disabilities have been particularly limited, making their road to recovery far less certain.

Unfortunately, almost no systematic data exists on how Canadians with disabilities and chronic health conditions have fared during the pandemic. We recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Canadians with disabilities and chronic health issues. We find that these Canadians are struggling and don’t think the government is doing enough to help.

About 19 per cent of those surveyed felt left behind by government or business responses to COVID-19. Many cited a lack of financial support from the government, a loss of services, and not having any voice in developing social distancing policies.

Read the full article… 

Professor David Pettinicchio on the impact of covid-19 on people with disabilities

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio has recently spoken to the media about how COVID-19 can exacerbate existing inequalities. A story by UTM’s Research Communications Office highlights his insights. We have included an excerpt of the story below. The full story is available on the UTM website here. Professor Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with undergraduate teaching responsibilities on the UTM campus. His research focuses on social policy, political sociology, law and society, disability politics and social movements.

Coronavirus consequences for people with disabilities

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 – 8:25am

Carla DeMarco
UofT Mississauga prof examines the increased downturn in employment for people with disabilities as a result of COVID-19

As reality sets in about the extensive fallout to various people and industries from the current coronavirus pandemic, Professor David Pettinicchio cannot help but notice that people with disabilities, a part of the population already marginalized and often most impacted by various crises, are noticeably absent from mainstream conversations.

An assistant professor with UTM’s Department of Sociology since 2014, Pettinicchio looks at how people with disabilities, who already struggle with precarious employment, low earnings, minimal benefits, and insufficient economic security, become even more vulnerable at times like this.

“I think what’s important to keep in mind is that what COVID-19 is really highlighting is how precarious and insecure a lot of people are just generally, and how it’s going to have serious implications down the road,” says Pettinicchio.

Pettinicchio’s work has demonstrated that people with disabilities have difficulty finding work, and when they do it is often in low paying, non-unionized jobs, particularly in the service sector, such as food preparation, or they are burdened by longer hours in warehouse or grocery store positions. He says any jobs they could previously obtain or the flexibility they once had to accommodate their disability are now heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will have a long-term impact on household finances.

Read the full article…

Politics of Empowerment: New Book by Professor David Pettinicchio

Why are decades-old disability rights policies like the ADA facing political threats which undermine their ability to help people with disabilities?

Professor David Pettinicchio’s newly published book, “Politics of Empowerment: Disability Rights and the Cycle of American Policy Reform” aims to answer this question. In addition, he states that it offers a timely explanation for how the United States acts as both policy innovator and laggard. Dr. Pettinichio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga and an affiliated faculty member in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

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

Despite the progress of decades-old disability rights policy, including the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, threats continue to undermine the wellbeing of Americans with disabilities. The U.S. is, thus, a policy innovator and laggard in this regard. In Politics of Empowerment, David Pettinicchio offers a historically grounded analysis of the singular case of US disability policy, countering long-held views of progress that privilege public demand as its primary driver. By the 1970s, a group of legislators and bureaucrats came to act as “political entrepreneurs.” Motivated by personal and professional commitments, they were seen as experts leading a movement within the government. But as they increasingly faced obstacles to their legislative intentions, nascent disability advocacy and protest groups took the cause to the American people forming the basis of the contemporary disability rights movement. Drawing on extensive archival material, Pettinicchio redefines the relationship between grassroots advocacy and institutional politics, revealing a cycle of progress and backlash embedded in the American political system.

Read more about the book and Professor Pettinicchio’s research on his website.


U of T Sociologists at the 2019 ASA

This year, 71 faculty members graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are participating in the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in New York City. In addition to the people presenting papers, a number of our community are also participating as session organizers, discussants or journal editorial panel members. The meetings happen between August 10th and August 13th. We have listed the papers we’re presenting below by the day of the presentation, with student and recent grad presenters shown in italics. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 10th

Ellen Berrey, U.S. Universities’ Responses to Hate Speech Incidents and Free Speech Politics and the Implications for Inclusion Policy

Yvonne Daoleuxay, The Most Canadian Neighborhood Ever: Social Disciplining and Driving in the Greater Toronto Area

Ethan Fosse and Jason Settels, Population-Level Variability of Happiness Trends in the United States

Chris Kohut, Unanticipated Gains in Homeless Shelters: A Study Examining the Social Networks of the Homeless Population

Ron Levi (with Holly Campeau of U of Alberta and Todd Foglesong of U of T, Munk School), Legality, Recognition, and the Bind of Legal Cynicism: Experiences of Policing During an Unsettled Time

Matthew Parbst, Gender Equality, Family Policy and the Convergence of the Gender Gap in Depression

Kristin Plys, Politics and Poetics in Lahore’s Pak Tea House during the Zia Military Dictatorship (1977-1988)

Markus Schafer (with Matthew Andersson of Baylor University), Looking Homeward with the Life Course: Early Origins of Adulthood Dwelling Satisfaction?

Sunday, August 11th

Philip Badawy and Scott Schieman, When Family Calls: How Gender, Money, and Care Shape the Family Contact and Family-to-Work Conflict Relationship

Irene Boeckman, Work-Family Policies and Working Hours’ Differences Within Couples After Childbirth

Lei Chai and Scott Schieman (with Alex Bierman of U of Calgary) Financial Strain and Psychological Distress: The Mediating Effect of Work-Family Interface

Clayton Childress, Shyon Baumann, Jean-Francois Nault (and Craig M. Rowlings from Duke University), From Omnivore to Snob: The Social Positions of Taste Between and Within Music Genres

Ethan Fosse (with Fabian T. Pfesser of U of Michigan), Bounding Analyses of Mobility Effects

Susila Gurusami, Carceral Complicities: Holding Institutions of Higher Education Accountable for Our Carceral Crises

Julia Ingenfeld, Parents’ Division of Housework and Mothers’ Labor Force Participation: Result of Selection and Assortative Mating?

Jonathan Kauenhowen, Framing Indigeneity: A comparative analysis of Indigenous representation in mainstream and Indigenous newspapers

Yangsook Kim, Doing Care Work in Korea Town: Korean In-Home Supportive Service Workers in Los Angeles

Kim de Laat, De-stigmatizing flexible work arrangements: The promises and pitfalls of buy-in from ideal working fathers

Chang Zhe Lin, Social Capital, Islam, and Labor Force Outcomes: Explaining Labor Force Outcomes among Muslim Immigrants in France

Martin Lukk, Fracturing the Imagined Community: Income Inequality and Ethno-nationalism in Affluent Democracies

David Pettinicchio and Jordan Foster, A Model Who Looks Like Me: Representing Disability in the Fashion Industry

Ashley Rubin, Target Populations or Caught in the Net: How Race and Gender have Structured Prison Reform Efforts Throughout American History and What it Means for Reforming Mass Incarceration

Ioana Sendroiu, Imagination, from Futures to Failures

Sarah Shah, Gendering Religious Reflexivity in Minority Groups: The Case of Pakistani Canadian Muslims

Michelle Pannor Silver, Embodiment and Athletic Identity

Lawrence Williams, How Career Identity Shapes the Meaning of Work for Referred Employees

Dana Wray, The Causal Effect of Paternity Leave on Fathers’ Responsibility for Children

Monday, August 12th

Katelin Albert, “The decision was made for me. I’m okay with that”: HPV Vaccine and Adolescent Girls’ Selves

Monica Boyd and Shawn Perron, The Vietnamese Boat People in Canada: 30 Years Later

Gordon Brett, The Embodied Dimensions of Creativity

Soli Dubash, “My House Is Your House”: Genre Conventions, Myspace Musicians, and Music Genre Self-Identification

M. Omar Faruque, Privatizing Nature: Resource Development and Nationalist Imaginaries in Bangladesh

Fernando A. Calderon Figueroa,Trust thy Neighbour, but Leave Up the Hedges: Trust in the Urban Scene

Vanina Leschziner, The Specter of Schemas: Uncovering the Meanings and Uses of “Schemas” in Sociology

Patricia Louie, Race, Skin Tone and Health Inequality in the U.S.

Neda Maghbouleh, Anti-Muslim Racism and the ‘MENA’ Box: Expulsions and Escapes from Whiteness

Gabriel Menard, Latent Framing Opportunities for Movements and Counter-movements: The US Network Neutrality Debate, 2005-2015

Sebastien Parker, ‘Both roads lead to Rome’: Pathways towards commitment in a far-right organization

Kim Pernell, Imprinting a Risky Logic: Graduate Business Education and Bank Risk-Taking

Sagi Ramaj, The Homeownership Attainment of LGB Immigrants: The Role of Social Relationships

Jeffrey Reitz (with Emily Laxer of York U and Patrick Simon of INED), National immigration ‘models,’ social welfare regimes, and Muslims’ economic incorporation in France and Canada

Ioana Sendroiu and Andreea Mogosanu, Stigma spillover and beyond: Resistance, appropriation, and counter-narratives in stigmatized consumption

Tahseen Shams, The Precariousness of South Asian Muslim Americans: Geopolitics, Islamophobia, and the Model Minority Myth

Lance Stewart, The Judgment of Objects: The Constitution of Affordances through the Perceptual Judgment of Digital Media

Laura Upenieks, Reassembling the Radius: Trust and Marginality across East-Central Europe

Tuesday, August 13th

Milos Brocic, Higher Education and the Development of Moral Foundations

Jerry Flores (with Janelle Hawes of U Washington-Tacoma and Kati Barahona-Lopes of UC, Santa Cruz), What are the challenges of girls in involved in the foster care and juvenile justice system?

Ethan Fosse (with Christopher Winship of Harvard University), Bias Formulas for Mechanism-Based Models: A General Strategy for Estimating Age-Period-Cohort Effects

Angelina Grigoryeva, An Organizational Approach to Financial Risk-Taking: The Role of Firm Compensation Plans

Cinthya J. Guzman, Rethinking Boredom in (Inter)action

Andrew Nevin, Cyber-Psychopathy Revisited: An Alternative Framework for Explaining Online Deviance

Laila Omar, “What would my future be?”: Conceptualization of the “future” among Syrian newcomer mothers in Canada

Natalia Otto, The violent art of making do: Gendered narratives of criminalized girls in Southern Brazil

Laura Upenieks and Ron Levi (with John Hagan of Northwestern University), The Palliative Function of Legality Beliefs on Mental Health



Professor David Pettinicchio on Disability and Cumulative Economic Disadvantage

Professor David Pettinicchio’s research was highlighted and discussed in The Society Pages, in the Discoveries section of the blog The Society Pages  (TSP) is an open-access social science project operated from Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota with support from individual donors. The Discoveries page highlights “new and exciting research from the journals, vetted and summarized by the TSP graduate editorial board.”

The blog discussed Pettinichio’s research paper entitled “Hierarchies of Categorical Disadvantage: Economic Insecurity at the Intersection of Disability, Gender, and Race.” The paper was written in collaboration with Professors Michelle Maroto (University of Alberta) and Andrew C. Patterson (MacEwan University), and published in Gender and Society. The article uses feminist disability and intersectional theories in analyzing the ways disability intersects with gender, race, and education to produce economic insecurity.  Their findings are based on analyses of the 2015 American Community Survey data and demonstrate hierarchies of disadvantage, where women and racial minority groups with disabilities and less education experience the highest poverty levels, the lowest total income, and rely more than others on sources outside the labour market for economic security.

Professor Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching duties at the UTM campus. He is interested in the development of political constituencies and their ongoing interaction with political institutions, with a focus on the relationship between political entrepreneurship, grassroots mobilization and policy change. He has published works in scholarly journals such as Law and Policy, British Journal of Social Psychology, and Comparative Sociology.

An excerpt of the article is included below (read the full article here).

We hear a lot about the gender pay gap and the racial wealth gap, but rarely about how disability also affects economic security. New research by Michelle Maroto, David Pettinicchio, and Andrew C. Patterson investigates how disability interacts with gender, race, and education level to influence economic stratification in the United States. The researchers analyze data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS), focusing on poverty status and total personal income (earnings, governmental income, savings). The ACS identifies people with disabilities as anyone who has cognitive, ambulatory, independent living, self-care, vision, or hearing difficulty. Instead of analyzing race, education, and gender separately, the researchers created 24 different groups where these identities intersect (e.g., black women with a bachelor’s degree, white men without a bachelor’s, Asian Pacific Islander women with a bachelor’s, and so on).

Overall, the effects of disability on poverty were strongest for women, racial minorities, and those with low levels of education. Specifically, disability had the largest effects on poverty for black and Hispanic women with low levels of education. White and Asian men with high levels of education were the least affected. In other words, if individuals already have racial, educational, and gendered privilege, these components may insulate people with disabilities from falling into poverty — in this case, highly educated white and Asian men. On the other hand, women and racial minorities who are already at a greater risk of poverty do not have that insulation.

Read the full story.

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

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

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

Faculty Features: David Pettinicchio

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

What research are you working on right now?

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

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

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

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

Read the full interview.

Professor David Pettinicchio examines labour market barriers faced by women with disabilities

Professor David Pettinicchio recently published an article on the Scholars Strategy Network website discussing the findings of his study with Michelle Maroto, “Employment Outcomes Among Men and Women with Disabilities: How the Intersection of Gender and Disability Status Shapes Labor Market Inequality”. According to the study, the negative effects of the intersections between gender and disability cause women with disabilities to face a double disadvantage in the workforce, and they often experience very low employment and earnings levels. Professor Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus. We have posted an excerpt of the article below.



David Pettinicchio, University of Toronto

Despite legal protections meant to prevent discrimination and improve working conditions, both women and people with disabilities are still disadvantaged and marginalized in the labor market. Despite gains in education and increases in labor force participation, men still out-earn women. Employment rates among people with disabilities have been declining for the last quarter century and workers with disabilities earn considerably less than workers without disabilities.

The reasons for such persistent disparities are many. Employers may view people with disabilities as being weak, unproductive, or less competent. Such prejudicial assumptions vary – and people with mental or cognitive disabilities are often especially vulnerable to being seen as unstable or dangerous.

Women with disabilities may suffer double disadvantages if negative effects of gender and disability intersect. Both women and disabled people are often “ghettoized” in precarious and nonstandard work arrangements, as employers and society direct such people to occupations deemed “suitably matched” to their status. For example, women are often encouraged or redirected to “women’s work” which typically includes jobs that are lower status, lower paying, and less stable. And disabled people may get similar treatment based on assumptions about what they can and cannot do in workplaces. Disabled women may end up being “twice penalized” or in “double jeopardy.” This can happen because both of the groups they are part of are regularly subjected to discriminatory structures and attitudes in the job market and in society as a whole.

Read the full article here.

Professor David Pettinicchio shares research about the comparative political participation of immigrants in Europe

Assistant Professor David Pettinicchio recently published a blog post on Mobilizing Ideas, a blog produced by the Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dam, for scholars and activists to discuss social movements and change. Professor Pettinicchio’s post explores existing theories about immigrant participation in political processes such as protests, petition-signing, and boycotts, and discusses these theories in relation to the findings of his recent research on immigrant political participation in Europe. Professor Pettinicchio studies political sociology and social policy. He recently published a paper with Dr. Robert de Vries entitled “Immigrant Political Participation in Europe Comparing Different Forms of Political Action across Groups”

We have posted an excerpt of the post below.

Comparing Immigrant Political Participation

David Pettinicchio | Aug. 16, 2017

This year saw numerous episodes of mobilization by immigrants and non-immigrants alike. In Sweden, protesters mobilized against police in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood of Stockholm. Protesters in Cologne, Germany organized against the anti-immigration party, the AfD. London protesters held an event at the U.S. embassy in London against Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” And, protesters in the U.S. mobilized against Trump and his administration’s views and positions on immigration with “A Day Without Immigrants.”

It’s hard to believe that a widely held assumption in the literature on immigrant political participation was that immigrants, particularly non-citizens, were unlikely to become involved politically, especially in more visible, disruptive forms of collective action. Yet, immigrant citizens and non-citizens participate in a wide-range of political action – from signing petitions, to boycotts, to protest demonstrations.

This raises theoretical and empirical questions about how different immigrant political participation is from that of native participation – whether these reveal, as some scholars suggested, “unique patterns” of political participation – especially when it comes to preferences for so-called extra-institutional or more disruptive forms of action.

Indeed, my recent paper with Robert de Vries at the University of Kent draws attention precisely to the often problematic ways in which social movement scholars, political sociologists and other social scientists conceptualize and operationalize participation. We sought to link these concerns to what scholars might expect participation to be like given what we know about collective action.

Read the full post here.

Professor David Pettinicchio’s research featured in U of T Magazine

UTM professor David Pettinicchio is currently working on a study of the difficulties faced by Canadians with disabilities in securing employment. His work was recently featured in U of T Magazine. We have posted an excerpt below.

When Getting a Job Is Mission Impossible

By John Lorinc

When Kate Welsh, a 29-year-old artist and educator applies for a job, she faces more than the usual trepidation about whether there will be an interview and an offer of employment at the other end of an inherently competitive process. Welsh (MEd 2017) has a physical disability as well as a chronic illness that flares up from time to time, which means she always has to gauge when, in the process, she should disclose her conditions: in her cover letter or resumé, via a call prior to an interview or even just when she shows up for the meeting.

She also has to investigate whether the venue is genuinely accessible, or just cursorily so. “Arriving at a location that is not accessible is one of the worst things,” says Welsh. “There are so many steps before even getting in the door.”

The reality – borne out by surveys – is that many people with disabilities never get further than an interview. Ontarians with disabilities are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than the working age population as a whole, and tend to earn considerably less when they are hired, says David Pettinicchio, a professor of sociology at U of T Mississauga.

He cites a 2006 Statistics Canada survey that found one in four people with disabilities felt they were denied a job interview because of their conditions. In the U.S., the situation is even more dire.

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act is considered to be a highly robust anti-discrimination law, yet only 40 per cent of all people with disabilities in the U.S. work, and their employment rate has actually fallen steadily since the law came into effect.

“The question,” Pettinicchio asks, “is why?”

Read the full article.

U of T at the ASA

This year, 22 faculty members and 25 graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in Montreal. In addition to the people presenting papers, a number of our community are also participating as session organizers, discussants or journal editorial panel members. The meetings happen between August 12th and August 15th. We have listed the papers we’re presenting below in the order of their occurrence, with student presenters shown in italics. Note that some of the papers have unlisted co-authors from other universities. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 12th

Bill Magee, Optimistic Positivity and Pessimistic Negativity Among American Adults: Effects of Birth-Cohort, Age, Gender, and Race

Jaime Nikolaou, Teen Pregnancy and Doula Care: A Space for Feminist Praxis?

Andrew Nevin, Technological Tethering, Cohort Effects, and the Work-Family Interface

Andreea Mogosanu, Historical Change in Gender Differences in Mastery: The Role of Education and Employment

Ioana Sendroiu and Laura Upenieks, Gender ‘In Practice’: Rethinking the Use of Male Practice Players in NCAA Women’s Basketball

Emine Fidan Elcioglu, The State Effect at the Border: Avoiding Totalizing Theories of Political Power in Migration Studies

Paul Pritchard, A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to Include Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community

Yukiko Tanaka, Managing Risk, Pursuing Opportunities: Immigration, Citizenship, and Security in Canada

Gordon Brett, Feminist Theory and Embodied Cognition: Bridging the Disciplinary Gap

Mitch McGivor, Inequality in Higher Education: Student Debt, Social Background, and Labour Market Outcomes

Sarah Cappeliez, Wine Nerds and Pleasure-seekers: Understanding Wine Taste Formation and Practice

Katelin Albert, Negotiating State Policy in the Improvised Classroom: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Sexual Health Classrooms

Marie-Lise Drappon-Bisson, Tactical Reproduction in the Pro-Choice Movement in Northern Ireland: Alliance for Choice’s Path Towards Successful Tactics

Milos Brocic, Cultivating Conviction or Negotiating Nuance? Assessing the Impact of Associations on Ideological Polarization

Omar Faruque, Neoliberal Development, Privatizing Nature, and Subaltern Resistance in Bangladesh

Sunday, August 13th

Dan Silver, The Political Order of the City: Neighborhoods and Voting in Toronto, 1997-2014

Andreea Mogosanu and Laura Upenieks, Social Change and the Evolution of Gender Differences in Depression: An Age-Cohort Consideration

Markus Schafer, Religious Attendance Heterogamy and Partnership Quality in Later Life

Atsushi Narisada, Buffering-Resource or Status-Disconfirmation? How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Relationship between Perceived Under-Reward and Distress

Josee Johnston, On (not) Knowing Where Your Food Comes From: Children, Meat, and Ethical Eating

Ann Mullen, Labored Meanings: Contemporary Artists and the Process and Problems of Producing Artistic Meaning

Lawrence Williams, Dilemmas: Where No Schema Has Gone Before

Patricia Landolt, How Does Multicultural Canada’s Ethnicizing Imperative Shape Latin American Political Incorporation?

Merin Oleschuk, Consuming the Family Meal: News Media Constructions of Home Cooking and Health

Sarah Shah, The Context of Birth Country Gender Inequality on Mental Health Outcomes of Intimate Partner Violence

Louise Birsell-Bauer, Precarious Professionals: Gender Relations in the Academic Profession and the Feminization of Employment Norms

Geoff Wodtke, Regression-based Adjustment for Time-varying Confounders

Monday, August 14th

Markus Schafer, The Role of Health in Late Life Social Inclusion and Exclusion

Kim Pernell, Institutionalized Meaning and Policymaking: Revisiting the Causes of American Financial Deregulation

Cynthia Guzman, Revisiting the Feminist Theory of the State

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Policing Race, Moral Panic and the Growth of Black Prisoners in Canada

David Pettinicchio, Beyond Employment Inequality: Wealth Disparities by Disability Status in Canada and the United States

Yangsook Kim, Good Care in the Elderly Care Sector of South Korea: Gendered Immigration and Ethnic Boundaries

Ioana Sendroiu and Ron Levi, Legality and Exclusion: Discrimination, Legal Cynicism and System Avoidance across the European Roma Experience

Lawrence Williams, Bounded Reflexivity: How Expectations Shape Careers

Irene Boeckmann, Contested Hegemony: Fatherhood Wage Effects across Two U.S. Birth Cohorts

Jennifer Chun and Cynthia Cranford, Becoming Homecare Workers: Chinese Immigrant Women in California’s Oakland Chinatown

Katelin Albert and Steve G. Hoffman, Undone Science and Canadian Health Research

Ronit Dinovitzer, The New Place of Corporate Law Firms in the Structuring of Elite Legal Careers

Melissa Milkie and Scott Schieman, Who Helps with the Homework? Inequity in Parenting Responsibilities and Relationship Quality among Employed Parents

Matthew Parbst, The Impact of Public Opinion on Policy in Cross-National Perspective

Tony Zhang, The Princelings in China: How Do They Benefit from their Red Parents?

Rania Salem, Structural Accommodations of Classic Patriarchy: Women and Workplace Gender Segregation in Qatar

Tuesday, August 15th

Patricia Louie and Blair Wheaton, Revisiting the Black-White Paradox in Mental Disorder in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans

Jenna Valleriani, Breaking the law for the greater good? Core-stigmatized Organizations and Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Canada

Martin Lukk, What Kind of Writing is Sociology? Literary Form and Theoretical Integration in the Human Sciences

Jerry Flores, Gender on the Run: Wanted Latinas in a southern California Barrio

Jean-Francois Nault, Determinants of Linguistic Retention: The Case of Ontario’s Francophone Official-Language Minorities

Luisa Farah Schwartzmann, Color Violence, Deadly Geographies and the Meanings of “Race” in Brazil

Jonathan Koltai and Scott Schieman, Financial Strain, Mastery, and Psychological Distress: A Comment on Spuriousness in the Stress Process




Congratulations to Professor David Pettinicchio, recipient of Ontario’s Early Researcher Award

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio has recently been awarded one of the Province of Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards. These awards, provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation, give funding to new researchers working at publicly funded Ontario research institutions to help them build their research teams.

Professor Pettinicchio will use his award to support students working with him on his study of the discrimination faced by Ontarians with disabilities in the employment sector.  His research is motivated by the awareness that Ontarians with disabilities are three times less likely to work, and when they do work, earn considerably less than people without disabilities. Although theories of discrimination based on indirect evidence suggest that employer attitudes and behaviours create obstacles at various stages in employment for people with disabilities, his research will provide direct evidence about how discrimination manifests itself and provide valuable information for developing solutions to help Ontarians with disabilities achieve their employment potential.

With his students, Professor Pettinicchio is directly observing correspondence between job candidates and employers using matched-pair résumés sent to real employers. Their field experiment represents a major step forward in the study of labour market discrimination placing Ontario at the forefront of audit-based employment discrimination research. Their findings will address the ongoing disconnect between policies meant to increase employment among the disabled– especially in Ontario’s growing knowledge-based economy – and actual employment outcomes. Underemployment and underperformance in the labour market is a concern shared by many industrialized countries. Given these international concerns, the implications of this study will also be of interest to researchers and policymakers around the world.

Are Protests Effective?

David Pettinicchio


The University of Toronto Mississauga’s newspaper, The Medium, recently featured two of our faculty members – Professors Sida Liu and David Pettinicchio – addressing the role and effectiveness of political protest. You can read the entire article online. We have posted an excerpt here.



Are protests effective?

A rise in the number of widespread protests has occurred

Aisha Malik and Mahmoud Sarouji.

Feb. 13, 2017

If you have been following the news lately, it’s hard to miss the abundance of protests and demonstrations occurring globally…

…But are protests effective? I contacted sociology professor Sida Liu, whose focus includes sociology of law, globalization, and social theory among others.

Liu explained that protests are an important factor of a democratic society. The protests in the U.S. not only show discontent with the president, but also reflect on larger global concerns, such as discrimination and the rise of xenophobia. Liu stated, “Skeptics would say that these protests are futile when a government is not listening and a president is too busy tweeting, but they at least raise the collective consciousness of people regarding some vital aspects of our social and political life.”

He went on to explain that protests connect over time, and sometimes only manifest after a longer period of time. Protests rarely have an immediate effect, but they are not isolated events either; rather, they need time to become evident.

In regards to solidarity marches for the Quebec City mosque shooting victims, Liu said that they “demonstrate the Canadian society’s openness, diversity, and care for religious and ethnic minority groups.” They also allow communities to come out and condemn violence against innocent and unarmed individuals.

Liu cited Émile Durkheim, a founding father of sociology who argued, “Punishment on crimes is an indicator of the solidarity of a society.” He further explained, “In this sense, solidarity marches also constitute a form of resistance to the symbolic and physical violence of gender and racial discrimination exercised by xenophobic white males.”

Sociology professor David Pettinicchio, whose focuses include political sociology, social policy, and social movements, also spoke of the impact a protest can have.

Pettinicchio explained that protests allow awareness of issues that don’t seem to be focused on by political leaders. Political activism is important especially now. He stated that “protests help galvanize people around important issues and they can indirectly shape policy directions.

“[Protests] alone may not be enough. For mobilization to be successful moving forward, it requires thinking about long-term and short-term goals and objectives, as well as the use of a multi-pronged approach that can include direct action, as well as systematic efforts to monitor policy, contact policymakers, and for regular citizens to remain engaged in the political process in the long run,” he continued. “The effectiveness relies on unity of ‘political elites’ movement and organizational leaders, activists and regular citizens.”

Read the full article here.

David Pettinicchio: History matters for understanding the future of disability rights

David Pettinicchio is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, with undergraduate teaching responsibilities at the Mississauga campus. His research focuses on discrimination based on disability and disability rights. Professor Pettinicchio recently wrote and published an essay in Policy Trajectories, the blog of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Comparative and Historical Sociology. The beginning of the essay is pasted below. You can read the full piece here.

History matters for understanding the future of disability rights

In 2000, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General, argued before the Senate that disability rights in education “created a complex system of federal regulations and laws that have created lawsuit after lawsuit, special treatment for certain children, and that are a big factor in accelerating the decline in civility and discipline in classrooms all over America.”

This is a longstanding view of Sessions, who in the late 1990s and early 2000s focused his efforts in educational policy around school safety and discipline while also proposing an amendment striking activities related to hate crimes from national training and education programs. With so-called “Ed-Flex,” Sessions and other Republicans in 1999 argued that arrogance on the part of the federal government acting as a “super school board” – thinking they know better than local communities about how to educate their children – only creates headaches.

To many critics, an Attorney General Sessions signals an era of rollbacks in civil rights and disability rights policy. Distressingly, his is not an anomalous viewpoint.

Sessions’ comments highlight the kinds of deeply held beliefs among powerful segments of society that federal disability rights policy interferes with local and/or private interests. Detractors have successfully created significant obstacles for effective policy implementation by framing equal rights and antidiscrimination provisions as unnecessary regulation causing unintended harms.

The fight for equal rights in education has been an integral part of the disability rights struggle. Policymakers and activists sought to establish key educational civil rights laws demanding that the government make good on its promise to enforce antidiscrimination and equal rights provisions enacted by Congress in the early 1970s and again in the early 1990s.

Read the full essay.