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  1. Social Context, Biology, and the Definition of Disorder

    In recent years, medical sociologists have increasingly paid attention to a variety of interactions between social and biological factors. These include how social stressors impact the functioning of physiological systems, how sociocultural contexts trigger genetic propensities or mitigate genetic defects, and how brains are attuned to social, cultural, and interactional factors. This paper focuses on how both sociocultural and biological forces influence what conditions are contextually appropriate responses or disorders.
  2. The Spillover of Genomic Testing Results in Families: Same Variant, Different Logics

    Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Volume 58, Issue 2, Page 166-180, June 2017.
  3. Social Disadvantage, Severe Child Abuse, and Biological Profiles in Adulthood

    Guided by the stress process model and the life course perspective, we hypothesize: (1) that childhood abuse is concentrated, in terms of type and intensity, among socially disadvantaged individuals, and (2) that experiencing serious abuse contributes to poor biological profiles in multiple body systems in adulthood. Data came from the Biomarker subsample of Midlife in the United States (2004–2006). We used latent class analysis to identify distinct profiles of childhood abuse, each reflecting a combination of type and severity.
  4. Gender-specific Pathways of Peer Influence on Adolescent Suicidal Behaviors

    The author explores new directions of understanding the pathways of peer influence on adolescent suicidal behavior by leveraging quasi-experimental variation in exposure to peer suicidal behaviors and tracing the flows of influence throughout school environments and networks. The author uses variation in peers’ family members’ suicide attempts to deploy an across–grade level, within-school analysis to estimate causal effects.

  5. Naturalizing Gender through Childhood Socialization Messages in a Zoo

    We draw on public observations conducted in a zoo to identify three instances in which adults make use of its specific spatial and symbolic resources to transmit socialization messages to children according to "naturalized" models of hegemonic gender difference. First, adults attribute gender to zoo animals by projecting onto them human characteristics associated with feminine and masculine stereotypes. Second, adults mobilize zoo exhibits as props for modeling their own normative gender displays in the presence of children.

  6. Negotiating the Diagnostic Uncertainty of Genomic Test Results

    Clinicians order next-generation genomic testing to address diagnostic uncertainty about the cause of a patient’s symptoms. Based on video-recorded observations, we examine geneticists as they return exome sequencing results to families. We find that in consultations, clinical geneticists’ interpretations of genomic findings frequently go beyond the laboratory report. The news delivery offers parents insight into the basis of clinicians’ judgment but also invites parents’ involvement in the determination of genetic causality.

  7. Ambiguity and Scientific Authority: Population Classification in Genomic Science

    The molecularization of race thesis suggests geneticists are gaining greater authority to define human populations and differences, and they are doing so by increasingly defining them in terms of U.S. racial categories. Using a mixed methodology of a content analysis of articles published in Nature Genetics (in 1993, 2001, and 2009) and interviews, we explore geneticists’ population labeling practices. Geneticists use eight classification systems that follow racial, geographic, and ethnic logics of definition. We find limited support for racialization of classification.

  8. Channeling Hearts and Minds: Advocacy Organizations, Cognitive-Emotional Currents, and Public Conversation

    Do advocacy organizations stimulate public conversation about social problems by engaging in rational debate, or by appealing to emotions? We argue that rational and emotional styles of communication ebb and flow within public discussions about social problems due to the alternating influence of social contagion and saturation effects. These “cognitive-emotional currents” create an opportunity structure whereby advocacy organizations stimulate more conversation if they produce emotional messages after prolonged rational debate or vice versa.
  9. A New Political Generation: Millennials and the Post-2008 Wave of Protest

    Building on Karl Mannheim’s theory of generations, this address argues that U.S. Millennials comprise a new political generation with lived experiences and worldviews that set them apart from their elders. Not only are they the first generation of “digital natives,” but, although they are more educated than any previous U.S. generation, they face a labor market in which precarity is increasingly the norm.
  10. Paradoxes of Social Policy: Welfare Transfers, Relative Poverty, and Redistribution Preferences

    Korpi and Palme’s (1998) classic “The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality” claims that universal social policy better reduces poverty than social policies targeted at the poor. This article revisits Korpi and Palme’s classic, and in the process, explores and informs a set of enduring questions about social policy, politics, and social equality.