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  1. Study Uses Internet and Social Media to Show How Fracking Documentary Influenced Public Perception and Political Change

    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.

  2. Timing of First Childbirth Influences Women’s Health at Age 40

    A new study finds some surprising ways in which women's health at midlife is connected to when they had their first child and to their marital history. Researchers found that women who had their first child in their early 20s didn't report better health at midlife than those who had their first baby as a teen. 

  3. Getting the Most Out of the U.S. Healthcare System

    Kids with life-threatening illnesses need cutting-edge technology and medical expertise, but families face uneven access and paths to such care.

  4. Building Child-Centered Social Movements

    Subsidized campus childcare was hard-won and remains very effective, while budget cuts and the privatization of childcare threaten centers across the country.

  5. Cultivating S-P-E-L-L-E-R-S

    Indian-American spellers are known for dominance on the national stage and even host regional, culturally specific bees. How did the niche emerge?

  6. Marrying across Class Lines

    Even when married couples think childhood class differences are in the past, those factors shape how each spouse tackles tasks and allocates resources.

  7. Childhood Disadvantage and Health Problems in Middle and Later Life: Early Imprints on Physical Health?

    Drawing from cumulative inequality theory, we examine the relationship between childhood disadvantage and health problems in adulthood. Using two waves of data from Midlife Development in the United States, we investigate whether childhood disadvantage is associated with adult disadvantage, including fewer social resources, and the effect of lifelong disadvantage on health problems measured at the baseline survey and a 10-year follow-up.

  8. Tradition and Innovation in Scientists' Research Strategies

    What factors affect a scientist’s choice of research problem? Qualitative research in the history and sociology of science suggests that this choice is patterned by an "essential tension" between productive tradition and risky innovation. We examine this tension through Bourdieu’s field theory of science, and we explore it empirically by analyzing millions of biomedical abstracts from MEDLINE. We represent the evolving state of chemical knowledge with networks extracted from these abstracts. We then develop a typology of research strategies on these networks.

  9. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers' Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  10. "No Fracking Way!" Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    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.