The American Sociological Association (ASA) is pleased to announce eight awards from the June 2016 round of proposals to the Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD). The FAD program is jointly funded by ASA and the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Applications are reviewed by an advisory panel composed of members of the ASA Council and Director of Research.
Since 1987, the FAD program has funded nearly 400 research projects and conferences. Proposals are accepted biannually—June and December. All PhD sociologists are eligible to apply, and individuals who are early in their careers or based at institutions without extensive support for research are especially encouraged to submit a proposal. Projects receive funding of up to $8,000 for innovative proposals to advance the discipline of sociology. For more information, see www.asanet.org/career-center/grants-and-fellowships/fund-advancement-discipline-fad.
Although NSF provides significant funding, ASA members can help extend the strong FAD tradition of supporting innovation and diversifying the discipline by donating online (Log into the ASA website and click on “contribute”), or by phone at (202) 383-9005. The following are the most recent projects selected for funding:
Amanda Baumle, University of Houston, for The Demography of Sexuality: Queering Demographic Research, Theory, and Methods ($7,812).
This project aims to bring a queer perspective to demographic research on population sexuality. As was the case when behavioral models were reconceptualized to include the actions of women more accurately, acknowledging variations in sexual orientation requires re-evaluating demographic models to expose heteronormative assumptions. This project will begin with a content analysis of demographic research published since 1990 and the details of questions on sexuality that have been asked. The analysis will “reveal whether and how demographic inquiry reflects larger trends within the discipline regarding sexuality research” and will help identify understudied areas. The importance of this project is in providing a sociological perspective in this particular area of research.
Amanda Gengler, Wake Forest University, for Turning Science Fiction into “Science Fact:” Selling the Promise of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine ($7,937).
This innovative project combines the sociology of emotion with science and technology studies to shed light on an especially interesting and timely topic: the process by which technological innovations in medicine are “sold” to different audiences using a combination of emotional appeals and scientific evidence. Gengler will gather data in the form of in-depth interviews with medical researchers—to be expanded in a future phase to include patients—combined with ethnographic observation at three medical research conferences. These professional communications will be compared with presentations aimed at a general audience and promotional videos about medical research, to assess differences and similarities in the appeals used.
Michael Haedicke, Drake University, for Negotiating a Sustainable Coast: The Politics of Environmental Restoration in Louisiana ($8,000).
This project represents a creative approach to a timely topic with significant promise to advance the literature of environmental sociology, specifically the emerging sociology of climate change politics and adaptation. Previous studies have focused on environmental problems and how they have emerged; this analysis looks at the implications of a growing acceptance of concepts such as sustainability and resilience, with a focus on how solutions are being developed. According to Haedicke, understanding the perspectives of disparate actors and how they have come together in Louisiana should help us understand how the adaptation to climate change might unfold in other situations.
Tony Love, University of Kentucky, for The Effects of Status and Race on Role-Taking Accuracy ($4,180).
This project in experimental social psychology will explore Mead’s concept of role-taking in a specific application: the effect of status on the relationship between race and role-taking accuracy. The advisory panel felt that this project was likely to make an incremental contribution to our sociological understanding, with the promise of revealing a fundamental interactional process. It employs an experimental design that isolates the effects of race, status, and racial composition of the group on role-taking accuracy as defined in a series of hypotheses. As the author explains, the findings from this study will improve our knowledge of social psychological aspects of race relations and inform the science of status and interpersonal interaction, including efforts to intervene and equalize status-imbalanced groups.
Laura Mamo, San Francisco State University, Susan Bell, Drexel University, and Anne Figert, Loyola University-Chicago, for Zika Social Science Network: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice ($8,000).
On February 1, the World Health Organization declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” in light of the emergence of the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean. To supplement the emergency medical response, it is important to understand how Zika is viewed as an epidemic and how that view is situated in various local cultural contexts. The sociological perspective exposes gender inequities in access to care and abortion, as well as inequities in access to information and resources needed for community efforts at prevention. An international virtual collaboration of sociologists working on this topic is under way, and this grant will help to underwrite a conference with both open and closed working-group sessions, as well as a series of academic and policy papers to be published in an edited volume and the establishment of a research network of social scientists and historians.
Allison Pugh, University of Virginia, for The Rationalization of Relational Labor ($8,000).
This project will explore the nature of relational labor, which the investigator describes as “work that involves the humanity of the worker as an instrument.” This includes care work and extends to situations of control such as the work of police officers. An important element of the planned research concerns the introduction of rationalization into such work. The project includes interviews with and ethnographic observations of middle-school teachers and cognitive therapists, both occupations where administrative and managerial rationalization are potentially changing the relationship between professional workers and their clients. The project is part of a larger study including additional occupations. The author plans to publish results for both scholarly and general audiences.
Jean Philippe Sapinski and Michael Dreiling, University of Oregon, for University Embeddedness in the Corporate Community and Fossil Fuel Divestment Decisions ($7,825).
The researchers will bring quantitative network analysis that previously has been used to examine the interconnectedness of corporate boards to the field of environmental sociology. Their study will examine the extent to which college and university governing board members and the trustees of associated foundations are embedded in corporate networks, and the implications of those connections for institutional decisions about divestment from investment in fossil fuels. This project should contribute to the growing field of environmental sociology, as well as to the study of social movements, network analysis, and economic sociology.
Jennifer Silva, Bucknell University, for Hard Coal: Pain and Politics in Small-Town America ($5,400).
Silva’s project focuses on an important contemporary development: the intersection of demographic, economic, and environmental changes and their consequences for political participation. It will involve interviews with young adults and their parents. It is designed to account for diversity not only in race and ethnicity but also the distinction between established families in the community and newcomers. The study will document the view from one diversifying rural community in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the simultaneous emergence of presidential candidate Donald Trump and the much-discussed Millennial generation on the American political scene. The author is well established in the community and the project has evolved from its original focus on politics to more of a community study weaving together analysis of multiple converging and intersecting processes.