PhD Graduate Louise Birdsell Bauer on Graduate Students and Precarious Work

Louise Birdsell-BauerPhD Graduate Louise Birdsell Bauer published an article in the Labour Studies Journal. The article shows how political identities adopted by U of T graduate students engaging in precarious work allowed them to form a “coalition of support” via the media, faculty, and undergraduate students. It demonstrates how political identities rooted within real economic conditions affect mobilization.

Louise Birdsell Bauer obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018 and her research interests include contract academic work in universities, employment relations, and trends in unions and strikes in Canada and the US.

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

Birdsell Bauer, Louise. 2017. “Professors-in-Training or Precarious Workers? Identity, Coalition Building, and Social Movement Unionism in the 2015 University of Toronto Graduate Employee Strike.” Labor Studies Journal, 42(4):273-294.

In this article, I argue that graduate employees took on the political identity of precarious workers who face job insecurity and income insecurity, drawing attention to the casualization of work in the academic labor market in Canada, and the cost of undertaking graduate studies in Canadian universities. Their argument appealed to media, faculty, undergraduate students, and supportive media, which was key to building solidarity and public support for graduate employees’ struggle. Building on social movement unionism literature, I show how this identity moved the debate away from the bargaining table and into broader coalition building, suggesting a broader social movement unionism among academic workers.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Louise Birdsell Bauer and Professor Cynthia Cranford on Union Renewal Among Personal Support Workers

Louise Birdsell-BauerPhD Graduate Louise Birdsell Bauer and Professor Cynthia Cranford published an article in Work, Employment and Society that examines union renewal among personal support workers. The authors argue that the relations between support workers and their clients influence union organization in important ways.

Louise Birdsell Bauer obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her research interests involve contract academic work in universities, employment relations, and trends in unions and strikes across Canada and the USA. Cynthia Cranford is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her research involves studying the intersections of economic change, gender and international migration.

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

Birdsell Bauer, Louise and Cynthia Cranford. 2016. “The Community Dimensions of Union Renewal: Racialized and Caring Relations in Personal Support Services.” Work, Employment and Society, 31(2):302-318.

Union renewal research calls for moving beyond broad terms, like community unionism, to specify how social relations of work shape renewal for different workers, sectors and contexts. Analysis of interviews with union officials and union members in publicly funded, in-home personal support reveal two community dimensions: both caring and racialized relations between workers and service recipients. Scholarship on care workers emphasizes empathy and coalition with service recipients as a key aspect of union renewal, yet says little about racialized tensions. Studies of domestic workers emphasize organizing in response to racialization, but provide little insight into caring social relations at work. This article develops arguments that both positive and negative worker–recipient relations shape union organizing and representation in the service sector by specifying the ways in which racialization contributes to this dynamic. It suggests that anti-racist organizing at work, alongside coalition building and collective bargaining, are important renewal strategies for this sector.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduates Louise Birdsell Bauer and Mitch McIvor with Professor Robert Brym on Strike Duration in the 21st Century

Louise Birdsell-BauerMitchell McivorPhD Candidates Louise Birdsell Bauer and Mitch McIvor have published a paper in the Canadian Review of Sociology with Professor Robert Brym. The article analyzes data on Canadian strike duration, volume, and frequency, and finds that strike activity has been increasing since 2001. The authors argue that this change can be explained by the reduction in wages brought about by unfavourable economic conditions.

Both Louise Birdsell Bauer and Mitchell McIvor obtained their PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Louise researches contract academic work in universities, employment relations, and trends in unions and strikes in Canada and the US. Mitch conducts research studying the relationship between university student debt in Canada and graduates’ transition to the labour market. Robert Brym is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Currently, his research focuses on the democracy movement in the Middle East and North Africa.

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

Brym, Robert, Louise Birdsell Bauer, and Mitchell McIvor. 2013. “Is Industrial Unrest Reviving in Canada? Strike Duration in the Early Twenty‐First Century.” Canadian Review of Sociology, 50(2):227-238.

Canadian data on strike frequency, duration, and volume imply that the strike is withering away. Some research also suggests that strike duration is countercyclical. However, the early twenty‐first century was anomalous from the viewpoint of these expectations. After 2001, mean strike duration increased and was not countercyclical. This paper explains the anomaly by arguing that employers are seeking to scale back the wage gains of previous decades in the face of mounting public debt and the whip of an increasingly unfettered market. These conditions apparently motivate some workers to endure protracted work stoppages, irrespective of the phase of the business cycle, in an effort to protect their rights.

Read the full article here.

PhD Graduate Louise Birdsell Bauer, PhD Candidate Angela Hick, and Professor Cynthia Cranford on Toronto Homecare Workers



Louise Birdsell-BauerPhD Graduate Louise Birdsell Bauer, PhD Candidate Angela Hick, and Professor Cynthia Cranford published an article in the Labor Studies Journal. The article analyzes union interactions with homecare workers in the late 2000s. The authors use interviews with both union members and officials to study the role of social unionism, which refers to the interaction between unions and workers that involve economic and social justice.

Louise Birdsell Bauer obtained her PhD in Sociology at the University of Toronto in 2018. She researches contract academic work in universities, employment relations, and trends in unions and strikes in Canada and the US. Angela Hick is currently a PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department at University of Toronto St. George. Cynthia Cranford is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Toronto Mississauga and her research bridges the areas of work, gender and migration.

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

Cranford, Cynthia, Angela Hick and Louise Birdsell Bauer. 2018. “Lived Experiences of Social Unionism: Toronto Homecare Workers in the late 2000s.” Labor Studies Journal, 43(1):74-96.

This article examines workers’ experiences with a union characterized by a social unionist framing and repertoire in the political realm and bureaucratic servicing of problems in the workplace realm. It analyzes interviews with members and officials about union strategies within privatized homecare predominately provided by immigrant women in Toronto. Workers report both consensual and tense relations with clients prompting them to praise their union’s political strategies yet criticize its limited workplace support. Findings indicate the importance of framing and repertoire that connect quality work with quality care, yet indicate a complex labor process that requires more conceptual and strategic attention.

Read the full article here.

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