Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline: Newly Funded Projects as of June 2012

Rebekah Burroway and Michael Schwartz, State University of New York at Stony Brook, $7,000 for Business Unity and the Collective Action of Large U.S. Corporations Faced with Protests, 2000-2010. (June 2012). Drawing on insights from social movement research, class theory, unity theory, organizational sociology, and economics, this research explores how large corporations in the U.S. respond to social protest directed against them. Although social movement and class theory have developed rich understandings of collective action, current research typically treats corporations as isolated actors responding individually to protest opposition. The project uses multi-level models, dyadic network analysis, innovative automated text analysis software, and a variety of archival data sources.

Andy Clarno, University of Illinois-Chicago, $7,000 for The Empire’s New Walls: The Politics of Security in South Africa and Palestine/Israel. (June 2012). Through an analysis of walled enclosures in Johannesburg and Jerusalem, this project attempts to explain the proliferation of separation walls in the early 21st century. To carry out this research on the different forms of enclosure in these two societies, the PI uses a multi-method approach bringing together the tools of comparative urban ethnography and comparative historical sociology. The data collection focuses on four areas: the relationship between neoliberal restructuring and the political transitions in each state, the growth of marginalized populations, the politics of security, and the production of walled enclosures.

Sarah Damaske, Pennsylvania State University, $6,000 for Gender, Inequality, and Unemployment: Men’s and Women’s Differing Social and Economic Costs. (June 2012). Since the 1950s, women and men have experienced similar rates of unemployment, yet there are surprisingly few studies of the differences between men’s and women’s experiences of unemployment or of the effects of their unemployment. This study will investigate differences in how working-class men and women experience job loss, negotiate possible returns to work, and navigate the familial effects of unemployment. By using a combination of qualitative interviews and audio diaries, the PI hopes to suggest policies intended to improve men’s and women’s life chances in the post-industrial economy.

Claire Laurier Decoteau, University of Illinois-Chicago, $7,000 for Opening Pandora’s Box: The Vaccine-Autism Controversy and the Social Construction of American Biomedicine. (June 2012). A series of congressional hearings and vaccine court hearings has determined there is no causal link between common childhood vaccinations and the development of autism, and yet a recent study in Pediatrics found that one in 10 parents of young children refuse or delay vaccination. This project seeks to understand the connection between fears of the so-called “autism epidemic” and the increasing popularity of alternative vaccination scheduling for young children. The PI will utilize multiple qualitative techniques to explore parental decision making amongst a diverse group of new parents.

Steve Lopez, Ohio State University, $6,916 Downward Mobility in the “Lesser Depression”: Material, Relational and Attitudinal Responses. (June 2012). Within the current context of economic depression and vulnerability, this study will examine workers’ responses along three dimensions: material responses or practical adaptations to the actual or potential loss of income and wealth; attitudinal responses (i.e., changing aspirations, beliefs, and attitudes); and relational responses to others, including spouses, partners, children, peers, etc. as they struggle to adapt to or anticipate straitened circumstances. With the assistance of six graduate students, the PI will conduct extended, semi-structured interviews with 150 downwardly-mobile workers and use multi-method data analysis strategy of qualitative immersion and content coding for comparative analytic purposes.

Lizabeth Zack, University of South Carolina Upstate, $6,200 Another Shade of Green: Environmental Activism in Jordan. (June 2012). Despite evidence that activists and civil society groups have emerged across the Middle East over the past 20 years to address a variety of environmental challenges, research on political activism in the region has focused on Islamist movements and other popular campaigns against authoritarian rule. This project will look closely at grassroots and civil society campaigns around environmental issues in Jordan, drawing on information from newspapers, organizational websites, interviews, and government documents. The analysis focuses on the activists, their complaints and demands, how they mobilize, the role civil society plays in addressing environmental concerns in the region, and the outcomes and impact of movement efforts.