Member Publication: Gendered Logics of Biomedical Research: Women in U.S. Phase I Clinical Trials

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Marci D. Cottingham and Jill A. Fisher. “Gendered Logics of Biomedical Research: Women in U.S. Phase I Clinical Trials.” Social Problems. Online first.

Abstract

Despite the importance of including diverse populations in biomedical research, women remain underrepresented as healthy volunteers in the testing of investigational drugs in Phase I trials. Contributing significantly to this are restrictions that pharmaceutical companies place on the participation of women of so-called childbearing potential. These restrictions have far-reaching effects on biomedical science and public health. Using 191 interviews collected over three years, this article explores the experiences of 47 women who navigate restrictions on their participation in U.S. Phase I trials. Women in this context face a number of contradictory criteria when trying to enroll, which can curtail their participation, justify additional surveillance, and deny pregnant women reproductive agency. The pharmaceutical industry’s putative protections for hypothetical fetuses exacerbate inequalities and attenuate a thorough investigation of the safety of their drugs for public consumption. We use the framework of “anticipatory motherhood” within a gendered organizations approach to make sense of women’s experiences in this context.

Member Publication: Occupations and Inequalities in the 21st Century: What’s in your Wallet?

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Kevin T. Leicht. 2020. “Occupations and Inequalities in the 21st Century: What’s in Your Wallet?Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Online First.

Abstract

The study of occupations as a locus for social stratification research has a long and distinguished history in sociology. The authors in this issue present different perspectives on the current and future role of occupations as a foundation for inequalities research. This introduction provides a context for understanding how and why occupations became a focus of inequalities research, especially in the Post-World War II English-speaking world. I then discuss some of the economic changes that have led some to question where occupations stand as a vehicle for analyzing social inequality, and then turn to a summary of the contributions to this issue. This summary is framed as a friendly family debate between those who wish to “fix and refurbish” the old reliable occupational perspective and those who think that researchers should “trade in” the old perspective for one focusing on firms and jobs. My review of the contributions to this issue suggests several avenues for future research including (1) new efforts to improve the quality of occupational coding, (2) a renewed focus on local labor markets as a better representation of where most people find employment, (3) an examination of whether occupational structures mattered more for explaining social inequalities in prior historical periods compared to the present, (4) examinations of how and where occupations matter cross-nationally, and finally (5) a renewed focus on units of measurement that people actually carry around with them and spend (dollars, euros, etc.) as opposed to logged earnings and socioeconomic status points. In an age of record high and rising inequality, the core question of social stratification research really comes down to “What’s in your Wallet”?

Member Publication: The case for an inhabited institutionalism in organizational research: interaction, coupling, and change reconsidered

Please check out the recent publications by OOW members Tim Hallett and Amelia Hawbaker. 2020. “The Case for an Inhabited Institutionalism in Organizational Research: Interaction, Coupling, and Change Reconsidered.” Theory and Society, Online First.

Abstract

This paper makes the case for an inhabited institutionalism by pondering questions that continue to vex institutional theory: How can we account for local activity, agency, and change without reverting to a focus on individual actors—the very kinds of actors that institutional theory was designed to critique? How is change possible in an institutional context that constructs interests and sets the very conditions for such action? Efforts to deal with these questions by inserting various forms of individual, purposive actors into institutional frameworks have created inconsistencies that threaten the overall coherence of institutional theory and move it farther from its sociological roots. To provide alternative answers, we turn to the growing line of work on “inhabited” institutions. Our exegesis of this literature has two goals. The first goal is to shift focus away from individuals and nested imagery and towards social interaction and coupling configurations. This move opens new avenues for research and helps to identify the spaces—both conceptual and empirical—and the supra-individual processes that facilitate change. This shift has important theoretical implications: incorporating social interaction alters institutional theory, and our second goal is to specify an analytic framework for this new research, an inhabited institutionalism. Inhabited institutionalism is a meso-approach for examining the recursive relationships among institutions, interactions, and organizations. It provides novel and sociologically consistent means for dealing with issues of agency and change, and a new agenda for research that can reinvigorate and reunite organizational sociology and institutional theory.

Member Publication: Home Care Fault Lines: Understanding Tensions and Creating Alliances

Please check out the recent publications by OOW member Cynthia Cranford. 2020. Home Care Fault Lines: Understanding Tensions and Creating Alliances. Cornell University Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

In this revealing look at home care, Cynthia J. Cranford illustrates how elderly and disabled people and the immigrant women workers who assist them in daily activities develop meaningful relationships even when their different ages, abilities, races, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds generate tension. As Cranford shows, workers can experience devaluation within racialized and gendered class hierarchies, which shapes their pursuit of security.

Cranford analyzes the tensions, alliances, and compromises between security for workers and flexibility for elderly and disabled people, and she argues that workers and recipients negotiate flexibility and security within intersecting inequalities in varying ways depending on multiple interacting dynamics.

What comes through from Cranford’s analysis is the need for deeply democratic alliances across multiple axes of inequality. To support both flexible care and secure work, she argues for an intimate community unionism that advocates for universal state funding, designs culturally sensitive labor market intermediaries run by workers and recipients to help people find jobs or workers, and addresses everyday tensions in home workplaces.

You can find more about the book on the Cornell University Press website.

Member Publication: Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations

Please check out the recent publications by OOW member Jerrald Hage. 2020. Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations. Action Theory to Solve Adaptive Problems. Anthem.

A note from professor Hage:

“Dear Members:
In April, Anthem Press published my book Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations:  Action Theory to Solve Adaptive Problems.  Since the book is a general theory that integrates sociology, economics, and political science, not all of it will be of interest to you.  But Anthem does sell individual chapters.  This is an innnovation I demanded to reduce the costs for people who are interested in only part of a book.  Chapter Six is on the evolution of organizations and their contexts and the emergence of postmodern organizations and Chapter Seven is on the evolution of the network-choension links.   
Jerry Hage”

About the book

Knowledge is more than information but instead the organizing of information into theories and practices that allow us to do things and accomplish goals. The first stage of knowledge creation depended upon creative scientists and entrepreneurs, but the second stage required research laboratories and teams. Now cooperation between organizations is necessary to solve individual, organizational, institutional, and global problems that face us today.

Individuals presently are raised in four kinds of social contexts: traditional, modern, post-modern, and anomic. These contexts explain partisan divides as well as the inability of some to succeed in society. Post-modern contexts produce individuals who are cognitively complex, creative, critical but have empathy towards others. The acceleration in knowledge creation is caused by not only the growth of more post-modern individuals who are creative but organizational innovation and innovative regions. Organizational structures that discourage radical innovations are contrasted with those that facilitate it. Similarly, the histories of three innovative regions–Silicon Valley, Kistra in Sweden, and Hsinchu in Taiwan—are contrasted with the failure of Rt. 128 near Boston.

During the second wave of knowledge creation, social structures were differentiated vertically. Now in the third wave, the differentiation process is horizontal. In the stratification system this means different capitalist classes and work logics rather than social classes with super salaries, thus increasing social inequality. In the study of organizations, this translates into missionary and self-management forms where post-modern individuals obtain meaningful work and ask for customized service. In the study of networks it means the rise of systemic coordinated networks replacing supply chains.

Given the growing inefficiencies of labor markets, product/service markets, and public markets (elections), systemic coordinated networks are proposed as a solution. Furthermore, we need a national corps of individuals with special skills in sectors with shortages who can then be assigned to work in disadvantaged areas. Pre-school, primary school, and secondary school need to be reinvented to facilitate more upward social mobility. Agriculture and industry also require radical new innovations. To build a new civil society, governments have to encourage participation in programs that help others.

Member Publication: Making platforms work: relationship labor and the management of publics

Please check out the recent publications by OOW members Benjamin Shestakofsky and Shreeharsh Kelkar. “Making Platforms Work: Relationship Labor and the Management of Publics.” Theory and Society, Online first.

Abstract

How do digital platforms govern their users? Existing studies, with their focus on impersonal and procedural modes of governance, have largely neglected to examine the human labor through which platform companies attempt to elicit the consent of their users. This study describes the relationship labor that is systematically excised from many platforms’ accounts of what they do and missing from much of the scholarship on platform governance. Relationship labor is carried out by agents of platform companies who engage in interpersonal communications with a platform’s users in an effort to align diverse users’ activities and preferences with the company’s interests. The authors draw on ethnographic research conducted at AllDone (a for-profit startup that built an online market for local services) and edX (a non-profit startup that partnered with institutions to offer Massive Open Online Courses). The findings leverage variation in organizational contexts to elaborate the common practices and divergent strategies of relationship labor deployed by each platform. Both platforms relied on relationship workers to engage in account management practices aimed at addressing the particular concerns of individual users through interpersonal communications. Relationship workers in each setting also engaged in community management practices that facilitated contact and collaboration among users in pursuit of shared goals. However, our findings show that the relative frequency of relationship workers’ use of account management and community management practices varies with organizational conditions. This difference in strategies also corresponded to different ways of valuing relationship workers and incorporating them into organizational processes. The article demonstrates how variation in organizational context accounts for divergent strategies for governing user participation in digital platforms and for the particular processes through which governance is accomplished and contested.

Member Publication: “Be a Gutsy Girl!”: Essentialism in Success-at-Work Books for Women

Please check out the recent publications by OOW members Patti Giuffre and Gretchen R. Webber. 2020. “‘Be a Gutsy Girl!’: Essentialism in Success-at-Work Books for Women.” Gender Issues, Online First.

Abstract

This article examines how essentialism is depicted in recent popular press “success-at-work” books that are marketed for women. Our qualitative content analysis of fourteen advice books published from 2013 to 2018 identifies the subtle, yet powerful, messages about how men and women supposedly “are” and the depictions of men and women at work. We find a persistent tension in the advice that relies on two types of essentialism in this success discourse: (1) women are deficient, and, simultaneously, (2) women have unique strengths. We argue that these contradictory depictions of essentialism are embedded in the organizational logic of workplaces and bolster gendered ideal worker norms in the new economy. We discuss the implications of these conflicting representations and speculate about their impact and consequences for eradicating gender inequality at work.

Member Publication: The U.S. African-American Population Experienced a COVID-19 Double Disadvantage: Unemployment and Illness

Please check out the recent publications by OOW member Teresa A. Sullivan. 2020.  “The U.S. African-American Population Experienced a COVID-19 Double Disadvantage: Unemployment and Illness.”  Pp. 49-58 in Glenn Muschert, Kristen Budd, Michelle Christian, David Lane, and Jason Smith, eds. Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19: Volume 1 – U.S. Perspectives. Bristol: Bristol University Press

Member Publication: A Sociology of Luck

Please check out the recent publications by OOW member and past chair Michael Sauder. 2020. “A Sociology of Luck.” Sociological Theory, Online first.

Abstract

Sociology has been curiously silent about the concept of luck. The present article argues that this omission is, in fact, an oversight: An explicit and systematic engagement with luck provides a more accurate portrayal of the social world, opens potentially rich veins of empirical and theoretical inquiry, and offers a compelling alternative for challenging dominant meritocratic frames about inequality and the distribution of rewards. This article develops a framework for studying luck, first by proposing a working definition of luck, examining why sociology has ignored luck in the past, and making the case for the value of including luck in sociology’s conceptual repertoire. The article then demonstrates the fertile research potential of studying luck by identifying a host of research questions and hypotheses pertaining to the social construction of luck, the real effects of luck, and theoretical interventions related to luck. It concludes by highlighting the distinctive contributions sociology can make to the growing interdisciplinary interest in this topic.

Member Publications

Please check out the recent publications by OOW member Carolyn Cummings Perrucci.

Hogan, Richard, and Carolyn Cummings Perrucci. 2020. “Earnings Inequality in 2016 among Anglos, Latinxs, and Blacks.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 42 (3): 363-380.

Abstract

In this article we estimate gross, net, and interactive effects of race, ethnicity, marriage and family status, labor and capital markets, class/occupation and education and employment experience/effort, using the 2017 Current Population Survey, March Supplement. Following the Tilly and Hogan conceptualization of durable inequality and the Hogan and Hogan and Perrucci empirical work on Black and White racial and gender inequality, we update and expand that analysis to include Latinos and Latinas, focusing on the ways in which relations with Anglo men create or sustain distinctive forms of exploitation and opportunity hoarding, concluding that Latinas are truly disadvantaged due to ethnic barriers to educational and employment opportunities and exploitation as unpaid or underpaid labor, at home and at work.

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Perrucci, Carolyn Cummings, and Mangala Subramaniam, and Robert Perrucci, “Gender and Publication in Two Longstanding Sociology Journals, 1960-2010.” International Journal of Contemporary Sociology 57 (1): 25-47.