Letter on NSF Funding Opportunities

Dear Colleague,

There are new funding opportunities at NSF that might be of interest to you. They are called the “Big Ideas” and they focus on critical issues in science and society. The purpose of each Big Idea is to motivate dynamic and innovative scholars to create and implement new and potentially transformative interdisciplinary approaches to some very large societal challenges.

I encourage

  • every social scientist,
  • every behavioral scientist,
  • every member of an organization who is willing to collaborate with social or behavioral scientists, and
  • every scholar who is looking for new opportunities to advance science in ways that best serve the public

to think “big”.

Here are some of the opportunities now available:

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Call for Participants: Global and Transnational Sociology Research Clusters

We are writing to inform ASA members of the Global and Transnational Sociology (GATS) Section’s recently-formed research clusters. These clusters provide a forum to develop social networks, disseminate ideas and papers, explore opportunities for collaboration, and discuss methodological and theoretical issues specific to research on global and transnational processes. Currently, clusters are organized around the following themes:

  1. Arts, Culture, and Religion: contact Shai Dromi, shai.dromi@g.harvard.edu
  2. Gender and Sexuality: Vrushali Patil, vrushali.patil@gmail.com
  3. Global Environmental and Climate Crisis: John Foran, Foran@soc.ucsb.edu
  4. Global Human Rights: Kristopher Velasco, krisvelasco@utexas.edu
  5. Global Populism: Marco Garrido, garrido@uchicago.edu
  6. Social Movements: Selina Gallo-Cruz, sgallo@holycross.edu

The section is committed to providing support for the research clusters. In previous years, this has meant providing tables for research clusters to meet prior to the GATS business meeting. However, research clusters meet as often as they desire and members decide the level of commitment required of one another.

For those interested in joining a cluster, please visit the website for further information (https://asaglobalandtransn.wixsite.com/asa-gts/research-clusters-1) or directly contact cluster leaders (listed above). For general inquiries, or if you’d like to create a cluster, please contact the coordinator, Jake Watson: jtwatson@bu.edu.

Invited Essay: Teaching the Organizational Imagination

Nicholas Membrez-Weiler

As part of our February newsletter, Nicholas Membrez-Weiler contributes a piece on teaching the sociology of organizations to undergraduate students. Nicholas is a PhD student at North Carolina State University. His work examines the social dynamics of organizational wrongdoing and corporate crime, with current projects focused on the problem of wage theft. He is involved in several projects with topics ranging from transnational mobilization and contested illness, franchise organizations and the fissured workplace, and shifting work relations in the platform/gig-economy.

When I started teaching the sociology of organizations, I noticed that students seemed particularly resistant to letting go of their implicit assumptions about organizations. Most students come into the sociology of organizations with some prior experience in sociology, usually an introductory or social problems course, where they learned to question many of their taken-for-granted assumptions about social life. Students learn early on about the socially constructed nature of race, gender, and class. We drill Mills’ (1959) Sociological Imagination into their heads and teach the importance of connecting biography and history, the macro and the micro, in order to better understand both.

But what of the meso? Formal organizations have come to dominate society, yet organizational dynamics remain invisible within most introductory sociology courses. As I quickly realized in my first go at teaching organizations, my students come with a great grounding in sociology and an understanding of important sociological concepts, yet certain images of organizations seem persistent and immovable in their minds. Especially entrenched are ideas about efficiency as an organizational goal rather than the means to reach that goal and the belief that productive organizations’ primary goal is (and should be) profit. In attempting to address these misconceptions, and in order to present a more complete introduction to the scholarship on organizations, I employ two strategies: semester-long observations of the same organization, and constant experiential immersion in the classroom.

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Meet Your Council: Michael McQuarrie

Michael McQuarrie is currently serving on the OOW Council. Michael is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics.  His research is primarily concerned with the transformation of urban politics, governance, michael-mcquarrie-cropped-200x200and civil society since 1973. He demonstrates this both by showing how the meaningful content of political values and practices, such as community and participation, have been transformed, but also how these changes are linked to the changing nature of governance, changing organizational populations, and the outcome of political conflicts.  He has authored numerous articles and co-edited two volumes on related themes: Remaking Urban Citizenship: Organizations, Institutions, and the Right to the City (with Michael Peter Smith), and Democratizing Inequalities: The Promise and Pitfalls of the New Public Participation (with Caroline Lee and Edward Walker, 2014).  Currently, he is preparing a book manuscript entitled The Community Builders which summarizes his research on the trajectory of community-based organizations in urban authority and governance over the last forty years. Below, Michael discusses his key influences, the challenges that he sees OOW scholars facing, and what he looks forward to at ASA 2019.

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Job Posting: OB Postdoc at the ILR School, Cornell University

The ILR School at Cornell University invites applications for a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Organizational Behavior, to begin August 2019. Applicants should have completed their PhD in organizational behavior, management, psychology, sociology, or a closely-related field by the time of appointment.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will actively contribute to the research mission of the ILR School, including working on joint projects with OB faculty while also moving their own independent research projects toward publication. The Postdoctoral Fellow is also expected to teach one course during the two-year appointment.

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Call for Applications: PhD Fellowships at the Copenhagen Business School

Please see this call for applications for two vacant PhD fellowships (within the fields of economic sociology, political economy, and the sociology of professions) in the Department of Organization at the Copenhagen Business School.

These positions are fully funded for three years. The funding comes from the Velux Foundation (on research) and the Copenhagen Business School (on teaching).

These positions are part of the new NICHE project, funded by the Velux Foundation, on how expert networks develop to foster markets.