New Publication: Diversity Initiatives in the US Workplace: A Brief History, Their Intended and Unintended Consequences

Hi OOW members! Today we’re sharing a new publication by Sandra Portocarrero and James T. Carter!


Portocarrero, Sandra, and James T. Carter. “Diversity Initiatives in the US Workplace: A Brief History, Their Intended and Unintended Consequences.” Sociology Compass, May 24, 2022.


Diversity initiatives are designed to help workers from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve equitable opportunities and outcomes in organizations. However, these programs are often ineffective. To better understand less-than-de- sired outcomes and the shifting diversity landscape, we synthesize literature on how corporate affirmative action programs became diversity initiatives and current literature on their effectiveness. We focus specifically on work deal- ing with mechanisms that make diversity initiatives effective as well as their unintended consequences. When taken together, these literature point to several inequality-specific omissions in contemporary discussions of organizational diversity initiatives, such as the omission of racial inequality. As we contend in the first section of this review, without affirmative action law, which initially tasked US employers with ending racial discrimination at the workplace, we would not have diversity initiatives. We conclude by providing directions for future research and elaborating on several core foci that scholars might pursue to better (re)connect issues of organizational diversity with the aims of equity, equality and social justice.


affirmative action, diversity initiatives, organizations, US workplace

New Publication: Practical Feelings: Emotions as Resources in a Dynamic Social World

Hi OOW Members! Today we’re sharing news about Marci Cottingham‘s new book, Practical Feelings.

SUMMARY: Tracing emotions across work, leisure, social media, and politics, Practical Feelings counters old myths and shows how emotions are practical resources for tackling individual and collective challenges.

We do not usually think of our emotions as practical — often they are nuisances to overcome, momentary mysteries to solve, or fleeting sensations to savor before getting back to the business of living. But emotions interlace the practical elements of daily life. In Practical Feelings, Marci D. Cottingham develops a theory of emotion as practical resources. By integrating the sociology of emotion with practice theory, Cottingham covers diverse areas of social life to show the range of an emotion practice approach and trace how emotions are put to use in divergent domains. Spanning work, leisure, digital interactions, and the political sphere, Cottingham portrays nurses, sports fans, social media users, and political actors in more complex, holistic ways. Practical Feelings provides the conceptual tools needed to examine emotions as effort, energy, and embodied resources that calibrate us to the social world.

You can order it online at with the promo code ASFLYQ6.

New Publication: The Paradox of Self-Help Expertise: How Unemployed Workers Become Professional Career Coaches

Hi OOW! Today we are sharing Patrick Sheehan‘s new article:

CITATION: Sheehan, Patrick. “The Paradox of Self-Help Expertise: How Unemployed Workers Become Professional Career Coaches.” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 27, Number 4, January 2022.

ABSTRACT: A wide range of self-styled experts have emerged in recent years to sell professional self-improvement advice in fields as diverse as employment, health, and finances. Despite lacking traditional markers of expertise, these minor experts are gaining credibility and clientele, often at the expense of official experts in their field. Why do people turn to these experts? How do they build credibility? This article analyzes the paradoxical case of career coaches, many of whom were themselves long-term unemployed, to advance a theory of credibility construction among self-improvement experts. Drawing on qualitative data, the author finds that self-improvement experts build their credibility through strategic interactions and relational work with clients rather than through the institutional affiliations and credentials normally associated with expertise. The author identifies three complementary techniques—(1) constructing a shared moral order, (2) building affective trust relationships, and (3) sharing personal testimonials of transformation—and argues that this bundle of tactics represents an alternative and growing pathway for building expert credibility.

New Book: Shaping the Futures of Work: Proactive Governance and Millennials

Hi OOW members! Today we are sharing some news about Nilanjan Raghunath‘s new book!


The widespread belief that tech-savvy, educated millennials are well positioned to handle the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution is unfounded. It does not fully grasp the reality of a flux society, where relevant technological skills and knowledge are continuously changing: no one is permanently tech-savvy. Millennials, like other generations, face the challenge of needing to continually reskill. This has compounded their struggle to begin their careers at a point when there is no longer any guarantee of lifetime employment or retirement at a set age.

Shaping the Futures of Work is a timely sociological exploration of the impact of technological innovations on employment. Nilanjan Raghunath proposes that stakeholders such as states, enterprises, and citizens hold equally important roles in ensuring that people can adapt, innovate, and thrive within conditions of flux. A promising model focuses on collaboration and proactive governance. While good governance includes citizen engagement, proactive governance goes one step further, creating inclusive policies, roadmaps, and infrastructure for social and economic progress. This book reveals that lifelong learning and adaptability are imperative, even for well-educated professionals. Using Singapore and Singaporean millennials as a case study, Raghunath examines proactive governance and delivers research and analysis to elucidate career trajectories, pointing to a work ethic that aims to engage with technological futures.

Looking at local and global sociological literature to confirm the need for proactive governance, Shaping the Futures of Work suggests that Singaporean millennials – and professionals around the world – need to better prepare themselves for flux, risk, failure, and reinvention for career mobility.

More about the book.

New Publication: Varieties of Gendered Capitalism: Status Beliefs and the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship

Hi OOW! Today we’re sharing a new article by Daniel Auguste:

CITATION: Auguste, Daniel. Varieties of Gendered Capitalism: Status Beliefs and the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship.” Social Currents


Gender status research demonstrates that the power of gender status beliefs in shaping gender inequalities is rooted in the fact that these beliefs are institutionalized and operate at the societal level to shape social relations of inequality at the individual level. However, recent empirical analyses linking gender status beliefs to gender inequality in entrepreneurship have only examined the effect of individual gender, not that of societal-level gender status beliefs, on gender inequality in entrepreneurship. This study fills this gap in this literature by examining the potential effect of societal-level gender status beliefs on gender inequality in entrepreneurship, using data from 51 countries. The results show that gender inequality in entrepreneurship is greater in societies where gender status beliefs are stronger. For instance, gender inequality in entrepreneurship is greater in societies where status beliefs about gender differences in leadership competency and the right to employment are stronger. However, the results also show that these beliefs are more strongly associated with gender inequality among nascent entrepreneurs than established business owners. These findings support feminist scholars’ claim that gender status advantage is pervasive in modern institutions and suggest that gender status advantage may manifest differently across stages of the entrepreneurship process.

New Book: Lactation at Work: Expressed Milk, Expressing Beliefs, and the Expressive Value of Law

Hi OOW members! We’re excited to share news about Elizabeth Hoffmann‘s book, Lactation at Work: Expressed Milk, Expressing Beliefs, and the Expressive Value of Law!


In recent decades, as women entered the US workforce in increasing numbers, they faced the conundrum of how to maintain breastfeeding and hold down full-time jobs. In 2010, the Lactation at Work Law (an amendment to the US Fair Labor Standards Act) mandated accommodations for lactating women. This book examines the federal law and its state-level equivalent in Indiana, drawing on two waves of interviews with human resource personnel, supervising managers, and lactating workers. In many ways, this simple law – requiring break time and privacy for pumping – is a success story. Through advocacy by allies, education of managers, and employee initiative, many organizations created compliant accommodations. This book shows legal scholars how a successful civil rights law creates effective change; helps labor activists and management personnel understand how to approach new accommodations; and enables workers to understand the possibilities for amelioration of workplace problems through internal negotiations and legal reforms.

  • Utilizes data from three sets of organizational actors: human resource personnel, supervising managers, and lactating employees, in order to observe the application of law into policy, and policy into day-to-day work experiences from three different perspectives
  • Draws on two-waves of data, one from immediately after the law was passed in real-time and another about 5 years later
  • Engages both organizational theory and law and society scholarship to demonstrate a key intersection of two important scholarly areas to help understand how a law’s application evolves within organizations

New Publication: Geek Girls: Inequality and Opportunity in Silicon Valley

Hi OOW members!

France Winddance Twine has a book (NYU press) available for pre-order with a discount through this website.

SUMMARY: An inside account of gender and racial discrimination in the high-tech industry

Why is being a computer “geek” still perceived to be a masculine occupation? Why do men continue to greatly outnumber women in the high-technology industry? Since 2014, a growing number of employment discrimination lawsuits has called attention to a persistent pattern of gender discrimination in the tech world. Much has been written about the industry’s failure to adequately address gender and racial inequalities, yet rarely have we gotten an intimate look inside these companies. In Geek Girls, France Winddance Twine provides the first book by a sociologist that “lifts the Silicon veil” to provide firsthand accounts of inequality and opportunity in the tech ecosystem. This work draws on close to a hundred interviews with male and female technology workers of diverse racial, ethnic, and educational backgrounds who are currently employed at tech firms such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and at various start-ups in the San Francisco Bay area. Geek Girls captures what it is like to work as a technically skilled woman in Silicon Valley.

With a sharp eye for detail and compelling testimonials from industry insiders, Twine shows how the technology industry remains rigged against women, and especially Black, Latinx, and Native American women from working class backgrounds. From recruitment and hiring practices that give priority to those with family, friends, and classmates employed in the industry, to social and educational segregation, to academic prestige hierarchies, Twine reveals how women are blocked from entering this industry. Women who do not belong to the dominant ethnic groups in the industry are denied employment opportunities, and even actively pushed out, despite their technical skills and qualifications.

While the technology firms strongly embrace the rhetoric of diversity and oppose discrimination in the workplace, Twine argues that closed social networks and routine hiring practices described by employees reinforce the status quo and reproduce inequality. The myth of meritocracy and gender stereotypes operate in tandem to produce a culture where the use of race-, color-, and power-evasive language makes it difficult for individuals to name the micro-aggressions and forms of discrimination that they experience.

Twine offers concrete insights into how the technology industry can address ongoing racial and gender disparities, create more transparency and empower women from underrepresented groups, who continued to be denied opportunities.

New Publication: Moralizing the Law: Lactating Workers and the Transformation of Supervising Managers

Hi OOW! Check out this new publication from by Elizabeth Hoffmann:

CITATION: Hoffmann, Elizabeth A. “Moralizing the Law: Lactating Workers and the Transformation of Supervising Managers.” Law & Society Review 56, no. 1 (March 2022): 28–52.

ABSTRACT: The Lactation at Work Law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to mandate employer accommodation of employees’ breast milk expression. Interviews with employees, human resource specialists, and supervising managers in nine industries found that some organizations’ supervising managers, who initially perceived accommodations only as a legal mandate furthering managerial goals, over time changed to understanding lactation accommodations through a children’s-health lens that created morality-driven motivations for legal compliance–a “moralization of the law.” Educational discussions with lactating employees not only provided these supervising managers with insights into lactation at work, but also sensitized them to ethical issues surrounding lactation accommodations.

New Publication: Hedged Out: Inequality and Insecurity on Wall Street

Hi OOW members! Check out this new book by Megan Tobias Neely:


Neely, Megan Tobias. 2022. Hedged Out: Inequality and Insecurity on Wall Street. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

About the Book:

Who do you think of when you imagine a hedge fund manager? A greedy fraudster, a visionary entrepreneur, a wolf of Wall Street? These tropes capture the public imagination of a successful hedge fund manager. But behind the designer suits, helicopter commutes, and illicit pursuits are the everyday stories of people who work in the hedge fund industry—many of whom don’t realize they fall within the 1 percent that drives the divide between the richest and the rest. Hedged Out gives readers an outsider’s insider perspective on Wall Street and its enduring culture of inequality.

Hedged Out dives into the upper echelons of Wall Street, where elite white masculinity is the standard measure for the capacity to manage risk and insecurity. Facing an unpredictable and risky stock market, hedge fund workers protect their interests by working long hours and building tight-knit networks with people who look and behave like them. Using ethnographic vignettes and her own industry experience, Neely showcases the voices of managers and other workers to illustrate how this industry of politically mobilized elites excludes people on the basis of race, class, and gender. Neely shows how this system of elite power and privilege not only sustains itself but builds over time as the beneficiaries concentrate their resources. Hedged Out explains why the hedge fund industry generates extreme wealth, why mostly white men benefit, and why reforming Wall Street will create a more equal society.

Use source code 21W2240 for a 30% discount at UCPress.

New Publication: Political Party Control, Union Strength, and Neoliberalism: Accounting for Rising Income Inequality across the 50 U.S. States since 1950

Hi OOW members! Check out this new publication from Michael Wallace, Allen Hyde and Todd Vachon:


Wallace, Michael, Allen Hyde, Todd E. Vachon. 2022. “Political Party Control, Union Strength, and Neoliberalism: Accounting for Rising Income Inequality across the 50 U.S. States since 1950.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility


This paper uses power resource theory to investigate the determinants of rising income inequality in the U.S. states from 1951–2018. Specifically, we analyze how political party control of national- and state-level government, presidential and gubernatorial election cycles, union strength and state right-to-work laws affect the Gini index and the Theil index—two measures that tap middle-class and upper-tail income inequality. A major contribution is to probe more deeply than previous research the historical and regional contingency of these processes by examining contrasting patterns between the Keynesian (1951–1980) and neoliberal (1981–2018) periods and between the Non- South and the South. We conduct three primary analyses. First, we explore the effects of these determinants over the entire period, net of other covariates. Second, we explore historical contingency by investigating how these effects differ during the Keynesian and neoliberal periods. Third, we explore regional contingency by examining differences in effects between the Non-Southern and Southern regions of the country. We find consistent evidence that political and labor power resources matter in the determination of income inequality; moreover, how they matter differs in substantively and theoretically important ways across period and region. We conclude with a discussion of what the results suggest for future developments in U.S. income inequality.