Member Publication

Please check out the following recent publication from OOW member Matthew Rowe: “Boundary Work and Early Careers in Design and Media.” Poetics 72(1): 70-80.

ABSTRACT:

This article examines how emerging professionals navigate uncertain conditions in creative fields. Using data from in-depth work history interviews with 55 graphic designers and digital media artists, the findings demonstrate how those doing creative work in commercial settings use boundary work as a narrative strategy that brings order to discordant work experiences. Interviewees engage in two forms of boundary work—segmentation and integration—both of which rely on shared meanings of the value and rewards of creative work. Segmentation refers to rhetorical strategies that combine the competing motivations of work—artistic and commercial—in order to explain combinations of different job types. Integration refers to efforts to merge these motivations, justifying work in a single full-time job that combines artistic and commercial logics. Interviewees in both groups draw on the concept of creativity to evaluate the risks and rewards of work and to justify commercial engagement while bolstering artistic identities. The analysis suggests new directions for sociological research on cultural production, artistic careers, and labor market uncertainty.

Member Publication

Please check out the following recent publication by OOW members Laura Doering and Chris Liu: “From the Ground Up: Gender, Self-Employment, and Space in a Colombian Housing Project.” Sociology of Development. 5(2): 198-224.

ABSTRACT:

Self-employment is an important component of many development strategies aiming to enhance earnings and employment among low-income populations. However, women tend to earn less than men through self-employment, calling into question the effectiveness of self-employment as a tool for bolstering women’s earnings. In this paper, we identify a novel intervention that boosts women’s returns from self-employment and narrows the gender earnings gap in an informal, residential market. We argue that micro-spatial resources offer gender-specific advantages to female business owners. We show how gendered constraints on women’s labor market activity intersect with spatial resources to influence their likelihood of running a business and their self-employment earnings. Using data from a Colombian public housing complex, we find that the randomly assigned location of a resident’s apartment significantly influences women’s business activity, but not men’s. Women who run informal, home-based businesses from favorable locations earn more than twice as much as comparable women, narrowing the gender earnings gap by 58.5% and earning an income that lifts them above the poverty line. This study offers a new perspective on how gender and micro-geography intersect to shape self-employment. More broadly, it reveals how an important but often-overlooked factor, micro-spatial variation, influences economic development.

Member Publication

Please check out the following recent publication by OOW member Meghan Elizabeth Kallman (in the International Public Management Journal): “Encapsulation, Professionalization and Managerialism in the Peace Corps.”

ABSTRACT:

Much recent work has explored the implications of the pervasive professionalization that has occurred in recent decades across occupations and throughout organizational life. Using the case of the US Peace Corps, the current article expands this conversation into the institutionally complex world of international development organizations. Drawing on interview, documentary, and observational data, its goal is to offer a contextual analysis of how professionalism is understood and practiced within international development. I show how the application of managerialist models have led to an “encapsulation” of ideas of professionalization, and demonstrate how managerial encapsulation unfolds in practice. This analysis allows me to consider how encapsulation challenges and strains professional norms among Peace Corps staff. The article concludes with theoretical and practical implications.

New Organizational Sociology Papers at Sociology Compass

As a section editor at Sociology Compass, I have been motivated by concerns expressed by some sociologists about the future of organizational sociology, as discussed on the Work in Progress blog in 2015. Accordingly, I have been commissioning a series of pieces that articulate the contribution of organizational sociology and its relevance to the study of core sociology sociological topics like as race, gender, and inequality, among others. A few of these pieces have been published so far. First, Heather Haveman and Rachel Wetts have published articles here  and here  that address the question “What is organizational sociology?” Elizabeth Gorman and Sarah Mosseri have published an article here that answers the question “Why should students and scholars who are interested in gender difference and inequality study organizations?”

-Eric Dahlin