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Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change.
But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.
Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.
A new Journal of Health and Social Behavior study shows that access to health insurance can help hold a community together socially, and lack of it can contribute to the fraying of neighborhood cohesion.
The study, Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA, published by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, is an effort by researchers Tara McKay and Stefan Timmermans to “broaden the conversation” about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).