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Orange County: What Better Place to Go to Study Social Change?

by Fred Smoller and Roberta Lessor, Chapman University

Come August many of you will fly into "John Wayne Airport" and be met by a thirty-foot bronze statue of The Duke. County leaders named the airport after John Wayne because they felt he epitomized the county's core values: rugged individualism, disdain for government, and love of the rural life.

The statute of a swaggering white, male cowboy situated in the middle of a decidedly modern airline terminal symbolizes how a traditional value system is being challenged by a new economic and social reality, one which is being brought on by sweeping changes in population, economics, and demographics.

To understand Orange County's present and future, one must understand its past. Orange County is a collection of 33 cities, the oldest and largest of which were founded by individual entrepreneurs. They became Orange County's social and political leaders and cities were named for them. Farmer George Hansen founded Anaheim. Entrepreneurs Andrew Glassell and Alfred Chapman founded Orange. Carriage maker Columbus Tustin founded Tustin, and fruit ranchers George and Edward Amerige were the co-founders of the city of Fullerton.

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FAD Funded Again!

The Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) has made an award of $165,000 to support ASA's Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD). The additional three years of funding continues an important, long-term collaboration between NSF and ASA. "FAD is venture capital to invest in important scientific research in the discipline," said Felice J. Levine, ASA Executive Officer and principal investigator of the grant. We have considerable evidence of how this seed money has led to important projects, field-shaping conferences, and publications in sociology."

Co-principal investigator, Roberta Spalter-Roth noted, "The evaluations by the NSF review panel were uniformly positive about the FAD program, praising the 'venturesome' and 'cutting edge' quality of the funded projects, the high publication rates, and the influence outside the confines of the discipline." (See the story).

The small grant program operates with ASA matching NSF grant on a dollar-for-dollar basis so that $150,000 in NSF support yields $300,000 in research investment (or $100,000 per year).

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