May-June 2008 Issue • Volume 36 • Issue 5

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ASA Awards Grants to Advance Sociology

The American Sociological Association announces eight awards from the December 2007 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 awards provide 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. In this round, the Advisory Panel decided to fund a higher number of proposals at smaller amounts. Below is a list of the latest FAD Principal Investigators (PIs) and a brief description of their projects.

Tim Bartley, Indiana University, $6,000 for Global Standards in Domestic Settings: "Corporate Social Responsibility" in Practice. The PI hypothesizes that nation states are not irrelevant in the shaping of how private standards of corporate social responsibility get put to use. He will compare two types of corporate standards—labor conditions and environmental standards in China, Indonesia, and Mexico—to investigate if a new mode of transnational private regulatory standards are adapted and translated. This research should contribute to important scholarly literatures including those on institutions and organizations, policy-making and corporate and social responsibility, and transnational social movements. In addition, the project forges links between U.S. scholars and those in Asia and Latin America.

Linda Dorsten, State University of New York-Fredonia and Yuhui Li, Rowan University, $6,000 for Data Collection and Modeling with Hard-to-Study But Rapidly Growing Populations: Socio-Economic Development, Ethnic Population and Elder Health in China. The PIs propose to answer the question of how elder health in China is affected by community resources in areas with high minority concentrations and limited socioeconomic development. They will test a series of strategies for measuring age and health and gather individual-level and macro-level data. Previous studies have shown contradictory findings and may incorporate misspecified models. They hypothesize that levels of inequality at province level have detrimental effects on elder health, or that macro-level variables will impact health at the micro-level.

Lisa Esbenshade, San Diego State University, $6,000 for Race, Labor and Empire. This award is to support a mini-conference organized by the ASA Labor and Labor Movements Section and the Association of Black Sociologists to overcome the insufficient overlap among current sociologists working on the labor movement and those who focus on race. The result is a gap in both race (including critical race scholarship) and scholarship on class and the labor movement (including radical scholarship). The conference seeks to discuss current dynamics that keep workers from uniting across color lines, bring together the section on race/race relations with that of labor/labor movements. The organizers hope to advance understandings of how race and class interact.

Michelle Inderbitzin, Oregon State University, $5,256 for Research from the Inside Out: Collaborative Research and Writing with Inmates in the Oregon State Penitentiary. This is a collaborative project to train prisoners to engage in research and writing on issues related to incarceration and changes wrought by increasing imprisonment rates, longer sentences, shift away from rehabilitation, and similar policy shifts. The PI has identified six inmates who would be the principle collaborators. The topics for investigation will focus on four project topics: 1) society of captives; 2) impact of mandatory sentences on prison culture; 3) deterrence and death penalty; and 4) effect of less rehab-oriented and more punitive treatment.

Mark Jacobs, George Mason University, $1,500 for Global Differences in Conceptualizing Culture. The ASA Culture section is bringing international sociologists to a session being organized for the 2009 ASA Annual Meeting. According to the PIs, although culture has become a prominent concept in U.S. sociology, it does not translate well into other sociologies both here and abroad. The aim of the session is to create a dialogue on the differing concepts of culture in American, French, Swiss, and Brazilian sociology. The award will fund the Brazilian sociologist to attend the session.

Sigrun Olafsdottir, Boston University, Karen Lutfey, New England Research Institutes, and Patricia Rieker, Boston University, $3,100 for Expanding Comparative Frames for Medical Sociology: Professionals, Patients, and the Public. This is the latest in a series of international conferences to encourage comparative research and foster cross-national collaborations. While we know much about the relationship between social stratification in health outcomes within the United States, we lack a comparative frame of reference for these issues. According to the PI, the themes “politics and health” and “culture and health” have been especially understudied by medical sociologists, particularly at the macro-level. FAD monies will be used to fund graduate student participation in the conference and to help with a publication.

Janet K. Shim, University of California-San Francisco, $6,000 for Cultural Health Capital: Developing an Approach to Understanding Health Care Inequalities. This study seeks to develop the PI’s concept of Cultural Health Capital (CHC), defined as repertoire of cultural skills, verbal and non-verbal competencies, and interactional styles that can influence clinical interactions accounting for social inequities in quality of health care. This qualitative exploratory study takes a dynamic, interactional approach to class and race-based inequality in health care outcomes (specifically, perceived quality of care and patient satisfaction) for those who have Type 2 diabetes or coronary heart disease. It will explore various aspects of CHC—including how patients acquire and cultivate CHC and how displays of CHC shape patient-physician interactions.

Genevieve Zubrzycki, University of Michigan, $6,000 for Nationalism, Religion, and Secularization in Quebec and Poland. This project focuses on issues related to the relationship between state reformation, religion, and nationalism by offering a comparative perspective between Poland and Quebec, areas that offer points of convergence and contrast. The study analyzes both institutional/structural dimensions, such as the establishment of the welfare state and cultural representations. The PI states that the work will advance the field in that it will begin building a historically grounded comparative typology; lead to rethinking sociology of religion; and build theoretical bridges by relating the study of institutional-structural dimensions to the analysis of cultural representations.

FAD grants are funded through a dollar-for-dollar match by ASA and NSF. It provides awards to sociologists at all levels and all types of institutions for cutting-edge research and conferences. Send contributions 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. The program director, Roberta Spalter-Roth, can be reached at Submissions for future rounds of the program will be done electronically. For more information visit small_green.gif


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