Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline: Newly Funded Projects as of December 2013

Amanda K. Damarin, Georgia Perimeter College, $7000 for Employer Use of Internet-Based Labor Market Intermediaries: Consequences for Inequality. Labor market intermediaries affect employment inequality because of the unevenness with which they connect workers with jobs and through their impact on perceptions of job candidates. This project questions the assumption that the anonymity of the Internet minimizes discrimination, especially due to new Internet-based intermediaries, including job posting sites, social networking services, and search engines, that can act as both levelers and reinforcers of inequality. The PI suggests decisions about hiring strategies vary along several dimensions including required skill-level, type of position, and ascribed identities. Data will be collected and analyzed via semi-structured, in-depth interviews with human resource personnel, hiring managers, and employment recruiters in the Atlanta area.

Sean Kelly, University of Pittsburgh, $7000 for Enhancing the Sociology Pipeline: A Capacity-Building Workshop for Secondary Social Studies Teachers. Sociology degree growth has failed to keep pace with rising enrollment trends in higher education. This proposal seeks to promote sociology concepts and skills across the high school social studies curriculum to better prepare students for college, and to positively impact the number of students who consider sociology a viable field for their advanced study (college majors and minors). To accomplish this, the project co-PIs will conduct a workshop for 25 social studies teachers in a school district in Pennsylvania. The authors seek to expose project participants to various ASA-endorsed sociology teaching materials and ideas, to facilitate their sustained use of these materials long after completion of the workshop, and to encourage their contributions of additional materials and lesson ideas to the existing repository. This project may serve as a model for other such workshops to promote sociology early in the educational pipeline.

Jennifer Karas Montez, Case Western Reserve University, $6950 for Explaining Inequalities in Women’s Mortality across U.S. States. Women’s mortality increased in over 40 percent of U.S. counties between 1992 and 2006, with a strong geographic pattern. This research project seeks to explain the geographic pattern at the state level by analyzing the restricted-use National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File. The researcher hypothesizes that behaviors linked to premature death, such as smoking, are a function of a state's structural characteristics. She predicts that regional variation and educational attainment will explain a large portion of the variance in mortality rates. This proposal targets a relatively new area of interdisciplinary research on health disparities in which sociologists are becoming more central.

Emily Ryo, University of Southern California, $7000 for Immigrant Detention Study. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates the largest detention and supervised release program in the United States. This study will focus on family members of detainees using legal documents to examine bond hearings availability and the legal process for detainees and their families, as well as conducting a survey and interviews with families. The author proposes to investigate three questions about long-term immigration detention in the United States: What are the social, economic, legal, and health consequences of long-term detention on immigrants, their families, and their communities? What is the nature of bond hearings available to long-term immigrant detainees, and how do the detainees and their families experience and navigate this legal process? What is the feasibility of applying methodological innovations in research on incarceration/reentry to a longitudinal study of difficult-to-reach immigrant populations?

Michaela Soyer and Gary Zajac, both at the Justice Center for Research, Penn State University, $7000 for Fatal Choices? – Investigating the Emergence of Negative Turning Points in the Lives of Young Male Offenders. The project uses a life course approach to focus on the social processes surrounding the development of negative turning points in the life of 25 juvenile offenders who were sentenced as adults. The authors will investigate how negative turning points manifest, using a research design consisting of interviews and content analysis. The interviews will solicit information about periods in the offenders’ lives (including family status, activities, schooling, confrontations with the law), what they might have done differently, and what might have helped them to move to a different path. The primary purpose of this project is to connect juvenile justice policy with theoretical advances in life course research and to move juvenile justice policy away from its reliance on actuarial methods.

Zulema Valdez, University of California-Merced and Nancy Plankey Videla, Texas A&M University, $5570 for The Effects of Legal Status on the Social and Economic Incorporation of Mexican-Origin Mixed Status Families in the Southwest. The project’s authors suggest that unauthorized Mexican immigrants face barriers in the United States based on their legal status, which affects their social and economic integration. Yet, the investigators claim that few researchers have examined “unauthorized status” as a central determinant of Mexican incorporation in the United States; fewer researchers address how unauthorized status affects the incorporation trajectories of families and households, especially “mixed status” households. This study highlights the role of family and household structure on trajectories of integration, including the uneven incorporation experiences of family members within the same household. The researchers will conduct focus groups to extend their survey work on the household strategies used to overcome the stigma of an unauthorized status.