February 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 2

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ASA Awards Grants for the
Advancement of Sociology

The ASA announces seven awards from the June 2009 cycle of ASA’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD). A competitive program co-funded by ASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and administered by the ASA, FAD provides seed money (up to $7,000) to PhD scholars for innovative research projects and for scientific conferences that advance the discipline through theoretical and methodological breakthroughs. Funding decisions are made by an advisory panel comprised of members of ASA’s Council and the ASA Director of Research and Development. Below is a list of the latest FAD Principal Investigators (PIs) and a brief description of their projects.

Khaya Delaine Clark and Tyrone Form, Emory University, for Racial Attitudes in Childhood: Conceptual Problems and Measurement Issues. This study seeks to improve the way in which racial attitudes are measured in young children. The Principal Investigators (PIs) plan to do this by expanding the response categories to include the following options: "both" "neither" and "I don’t know" as opposed to the forced choice situations of in group preference and out group derogation that are generally included in psychological tests of race preferences for children. The research will take place in Atlanta, GA, and involves testing a sample of 300 Black and White children in grades K-3. The study uses an audio picture approach to the measurement of racial attitudes. This project represents a return to "prejudice studies" with a novel focus on very young children, and a broad span that will include attitudes to Black, White, Asian and Latino children. According to the PIs, this study will compensate for the "paucity of work" about children’s racial attitudes from a sociological rather than a developmental psychological perspective.

John M. Eason, Duke University, for Prison Proliferation and Rural Disadvantage. According to the PI, most studies of incarceration study the supply side of the phenomenon or the growth of the prison population. In contrast, the PI will study why are prisons located where they are and what is the impact of location? He intends to examine the effects of prisons on small towns in terms of economic and population characteristics. The proposed study, part of a larger study on the intersection of prisons and inequality, seeks to determine whether locating a prison in a small town slows economic decline. The PI hypothesizes that poverty and racial segregation drive prison placement and that prison placement slows economic decline in disadvantaged rural communities. The PI hopes to strengthen the use of "rural disadvantage" as a conceptual tool. He expects impediments to collecting data, and that he will need to use demographic characteristics at a place level and economic characteristics at a county level. The result of this project will be the development of a new data set that combines ICPSR data on prisons mapped by latitude and longitude with U.S. Census place data with unemployment rates and property tax rates.

Elisabeth Brooke Harrington, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, for Reproduction of Wealth and Inequality in the U.S. and Europe: The Role of Trust and Estate Planners. This study focuses on how inequality is produced among the economic elite. Instead of examining the elite themselves, the PI will scrutinize the strategies of professionals who serve the wealthy, namely trust and estate planners, who help the rich shelter their money. The PI hypothesizes that these professionals play a vital role in the perpetuation of social stratification. She proposes to conduct participant observation at their professional meetings to be held in Geneva and Miami. By attending and observing the meetings of financial planners, the PI hopes to learn the techniques used for wealth collection and circumventing tax structures. In addition, she will conduct interviews with 30 wealth managers to learn about their methods of structuring and sheltering wealth. The PI has already conducted a pilot study of financial advisors, estate planners, and accountants.

Tomas Roberto Jimenez, Stanford University, Immigration, Assimilation, and the U.S. Host Society. Recent research on immigration to the United States emphasizes the assimilation and changing identities of post-1965 immigrants and their dependents. Rather than viewing immigration as a one-way process, this study asks how the growth of immigration affects the identities of U.S. citizens who have been in this country for three generations or more. The PI will employ in-depth interviews with a sample of residents of different classes, ethno-racial identities, and birth cohorts from Silicon Valley (with a long history of immigration) and Kansas City, MO, (with a relatively recent immigrant flow). The interview will ask about their families, neighborhoods, schools, romantic partners, friends, and leisure activities. In addition, a national survey will be conducted by a survey research organization. Finally, as a result of additional funding from a variety of sources, a question will be added to the General Social Survey that matches a question asked about perception of immigrants and national identity asked in 1995 and 1996. The results of this study should be a broader understanding of how the U.S. mainstream evolves as a result of changes among immigrants and the native-born population.

Caroline Lee, Lafayette College; Michael McQuarrie, University of California-Davis; and Edward Walker, University of Vermont. for Democratizing Inequalities: Participation without Parity? The PIs will develop an online working group with sociologists from diverse institutions, which will culminate in a mini-conference and an edited volume. The topic of this project has been referred to as "regressive progressivism" or the unintended consequences of the expansion of lay participation in government, corporate, and nonprofit decision-making. Some of these unintended consequences include the elevation of new industries, professionals, and bureaucracies to conduct "facilitated engagement." At the same time, institutions that have secured greater equality for the working populations have been marginalized. The online working group, analyzing this contradictory trend, includes historical, quantitative, and qualitative researchers. The volume will include chapters on democratization in government and administration, the production of new forms of participatory knowledge and practice, the disconnection of the claim and claimant, and the production of participatory inequality. A concluding chapter by the editors will explore the specific connections between private corporations in encouraging stronger stakeholder management with public affairs programs and the role of the social sciences in producing this seeming contradiction.

Paulette Lloyd, Indiana University, for Cooperative Exchanges in Confronting Transnational Crime. Transnational crime has become a global issue with nation-states embracing differing responses to the use of terrorism, the invasion of civil liberties, and incarcerations. Within this context, there is little research on conditions favorable to international cooperation, according to the PI. She proposes to conduct social network analysis and geospatial analysis to map the origins and flow of two phenomena—transnational crime and legal agreements aimed at combating transnational crime. The study seeks to establish the conditions under which international legal cooperation is perceived as an acceptable way to address transnational crime. According to the PI, the role of trust, cooperative approaches, and a shared system of meaning between countries is crucial. The project will result in a database of legal agreements, with state attributes and affiliation data. The PI will use this database, which will be available to scholars, to test hypotheses on the role of trust and culture in confronting transnational crime. The study should inform discussions about whether the similarity of cultural and legal systems, shared memberships (focus theory), or nation-states pursuing their interests (realism) best explain international cooperation.

Frederick F Wherry, University of Michigan, and Nina Bandelj, University of California, Irvine.
The Cultural Wealth of Nations. How do the symbolic qualities of places shape economic activities?
This study explores this form of capital is constructed and deployed in the form of social, cultural, and economic development or how the failure to do so dampen economic activities. The Principal Investigators (PIs) propose to complete an edited volume based on interdisciplinary conference papers that provide specific examples to answer these questions. The examples that are described and analyzed include heritage sites, festivals, museums, indigenous crafts, and ethic groups that are used to market cultural wealth and tourism. The case studies show how these projects contribute to national wealth and higher status in global value chains, but also generate increased inequality, political conflict, and contradictions. By adding the concepts of social and cultural capital to financial capital, the conference participants update Adam Smith’s concept to the wealth of nations, analyze the geography of wealth, describe how symbolic capital is created, and relate symbolic capital and economic wealth. The PIs will provide a framing and a conclusion for the chapters.

FAD grants are funded through a dollar-for-dollar match by ASA and NSF. FAD provides awards to sociologists at all levels and all types of institutions for cutting-edge research and conferences. Send contributions to FAD, c/o ASA Business Office, 1430 K St., NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005, or call Girma Efa at (202) 383-9005, ext. 306. The program director, Roberta Spalter-Roth, can be reached at spalter-roth@asanet.org. For more information, visit www.asanet.org/funding/fad.cfm. small logo

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