January 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 1

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ASA Awards Grants for the Advancement of Sociology

The American Sociological Association (ASA) announces seven awards from the June 2011 round of the ASA’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD). This program, co-funded by ASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and administered by the ASA, 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.

Erica Chito Childs, Hunter College, $7,000 for “Mixed” Families in Australia: Exploring Race, Families and Difference Research. The purpose of this research is to explore contemporary attitudes towards “mixed” families in seven Australian cities. “Mixed” families—interracial, interethnic, intercultural, interreligious—are important phenomena, yet very little has been done on intermarriage in Australia in the last decade. The primary goal of this research is to use focus groups to explore contemporary attitudes towards mixed families, especially the experiences of intermarried couples and their families in Australia and the response of various communities to the growing number of mixed families. The seven cities were chosen based not only on the feasibility of being able to conduct the focus groups but also because these are large metropolitan areas with surrounding residential areas and slightly different populations that reflect ethnic diversity. The Principal Investigator of this study has begun to collect global data with conversations about families, marriage, and difference in the United States and South Africa.

Shannon N. Davis, George Mason University, $6,885 for Gender and Career Prioritization after the Recession Research. Bargaining theory argues that the partner who has the best bargaining position within a couple, or, the better outside options, typically has the most power. Historically this has meant that men have been able to mobilize their greater resources to prioritize their careers, including relocating the family for job opportunities. Given the recession and rapid job losses among men, the PI raises the question of whether couples are willing to reconsider prioritizing men’s careers (as has been the case in the past, even for dual-earning couples), when men lose jobs and women gain them. The author also seeks to understand the factors that affect couples’ decision-making processes and the extent to which husbands and wives report supportiveness for relocating due to a hypothetical job opportunity for their spouse. The study employs a nationally representative sample using survey design that asks questions about employment history, including relocation and prioritization history as well as expectations about employment over the next year.

Heather Gautney, Fordham University, $6,900 for Beyond the Media Capital: Flexible Specialization and De-agglomeration in the U.S. Film Industry Research. This research project examines the current re-structuring and geographic dispersal of the labor process in the U.S. film business. The Principal Investigator focuses on the relations among state policies, investment in new production, impacts on the organization, the culture of film work, and the implications of these factors for workplace governance. Initially, the collapse of the old studio system in the 1950s and 60s led to the breakup of a factory-like production process and the vertical disintegration of the industry. The results led not to spatial dispersal, however, but to renewed agglomeration in Los Angeles and New York. Data collection for this project will rely on participant observation, interviews with key informants, and print and online sources. A primary component of the research  will be participant observation on three film sets for roughly eight months in order to gain an inside view of the new structure of work, informal culture, and everyday experience of the production process.

Josh Pacewicz, Stanford University, $7,000 for The Tea Party as Intra-Republican Party Conflict Research. The Tea Party has attracted significant attention, but many questions about this phenomenon remain. To answer these questions, the PI will analyze right-wing mobilization in two cities in Iowa during the 2011-12 election. The PI analyzed these same cities in 2007-08 and will use prior research as a baseline to evaluate how Tea Party activists have transformed the local connection to national politics. The study’s central hypothesis is that the Tea Party represents the final stage of an intra-Republican Party fissure. In the past, local Party activities were funded by local business leaders, and these leaders were engaged in the Party. In subsequent contacts, activists increasingly rely on money from ideologically motivated PACs and those associated with Republican candidates. The PI will interview activists, conduct observation of Party meetings and Republican campaigns, assemble a research team to observe caucuses, and conduct a comparative analysis of campaign finance. Finally, the PI will conduct comparative archival research on campaign financing during the 2011-12 election cycle.

Amy E. Traver, CUNY-Queensboro Community Colleges, $3,515 for The Social-Psychological Benefits of Volunteerism for Adolescent Girls: A Case Study of Believe Ballet Research. This case study of volunteerism links high school girls with physically-challenged primary- and secondary-school- girls through ballet. The Principal Investigator (PI) brings together two literatures—the social psychological research on adolescent girls’ development and research on adolescent volunteerism. In framing ballet as an appropriate activity for physically-challenged primary- and secondary-school-aged girls, this activity engages hegemonic conceptions of ability and femininity. Using standardized surveys administered to three cohorts of the program’s volunteers, the PI explores the relationship between girls’ volunteerism and their self-reported goals, self-esteem, and their relationships with others. The data collected as part of this project will add to interactional designations of ability/disability and beauty/grotesque. In addition it will connect disability studies to civic engagement studies.

Steven P. Vallas, Northeastern University, $6,250 for Work and Inequality: Fostering New Perspectives in the Discipline Conference. Barriers between different areas of specialization within sociology have impeded sociologists’ ability to analyze and explain the generation of social inequality within work organizations, labor markets, and economic institutions generally. A broad intellectual movement has emerged in an effort to demonstrate how institutional environments, political contexts, and social relations at work combine to shape the distribution of job rewards. This work has begun to inspire highly innovative methodological approaches including experimental, ethnographic, case materials stemming from anti-discrimination litigation, and combined statistical and qualitative analyses. The project will host a two-day conference at Northeastern University. The purpose of the conference is to, first, strengthen sociology’s ability to account for the social and economic inequalities that have afflicted U.S. society in recent years; and second, broaden public debate about workplace-based inequalities, which have too often remained the unchallenged jurisdiction of economic analysts. Conference participants will include senior and junior scholars.

The next FAD deadline is June 15. ASA members can provide donations needed to keep the FAD program at current funding levels. Individuals can send contributions earmarked to FAD, c/o Business Office, American Sociological Association, 1430 K St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005, or call Girma Efa at (202) 383-9005, ext. 306. Potential applicants can reach the program director, Roberta Spalter-Roth, at spalter-roth@asanet.org, the co-director Nicole Van Vooren can be reached at vanvooren@asanet.org. For more information, visit www.asanet.org/funding/fad.cfm.

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