Member Publication: Normalized Financial Wrongdoing

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Harland Prechel:

Prechel, Harland. 2020. Normalized Financial Wrongdoing: How Re-Regulating Markets Created Risks and Fostered Inequality. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

In Normalized Financial Wrongdoing, Harland Prechel examines how social structural arrangements that extended corporate property rights and increased managerial control opened the door for misconduct that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis and historically high levels of inequality. Beginning his analysis with the financialization of the home-mortgage market in the 1930s, Prechel shows how pervasive these arrangements had become by the end of the century, when the banks created political coalition with other economic sectors and developed strategies to participate in financial markets. The book examines political and legal landscapes in which corporations are embedded to answer two questions: First, how did banks and financial firms transition from being providers of capital to financial market actors in their own right? Second, how did new organizational structures cause market participants to engage in high-risk activities?

You can find more about the book and buy it on the Stanford University Press website.

Message from the Chair: Three exciting OOW and ASA events coming up – April 15th, 20th, 21th

Dear OOWs,

Three exciting virtual events are coming up – April 15th, 20th, 21st: 

I. OOW Virtual Discussion and Panel: “Broadening our Approaches to Studying Race and Racism in OOW” on April 21, 1:30-4:00pm.

Victor Ray (University of Iowa U.S.A) will interview Stella Nkomo (The University of Pretoria in South Africa) and Bobby Banerjee (Cass Business School, UK) on the foundational nature of race in organizations.

This will be followed by a paper presentation panel, in which we will hear about cutting-edge research from LaTonya Trotter (on Racialized Exclusion in the Health Care Profession), James Jones (on Racism in the Halls of Power) and Oneya Okuwobi (on The Hidden Costs of Diversity Initiatives). 

Click here for more information and registration link.

II. ASA Virtual Pro-Seminar: Publishing in Peer-Reviewed Journals 

Thursday, April 15 3:00 p.m. Eastern/ 12:00 p.m. Pacific 

Guest: Kristen Barber (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) 

You have a paper that you think is publishable, but how do you choose a journal? What can you expect from the peer review process? What is an impact factor? Join us for an overview of publishing in peer-reviewed journals by Kristen Barber, who will draw on her experience as a journal editor, peer reviewer, and article author. Bring your questions about any aspect of the article-publishing process. Closed captions available; this event will not be recorded. Members can register for free here.  

III. Webinar on Thriving Outside Academia: Advice from Sociologists in Practice Settings 

Tuesday, April 20 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific 

Panelists:  

o   Chloe E. Bird (senior sociologist, RAND) 

o   Howard Caro-López (civil rights research analyst, U.S. Federal Government) 

o   Jillian Powers (responsible AI lead, Cognizant) 

o   Curtis L. Webb III (senior researcher and consultant, Design Impact) 

 Many sociologists choose careers outside the academy: in government, nonprofit organizations, commercial industry, research centers, and other practice settings. This webinar brings together four sociologists working in diverse fields who will provide insights into these careers and share advice on preparing for these types of jobs. Current graduate students, faculty advisors, and sociology PhDs at any career stage are encouraged to attend. Closed captions available. Members can register for free here

Job Posting: Lecturer at Loughborough University London

This is a message from Matt Vidal:

“We are hiring a new lecturer in the Institute for International Management, Loughborough University London. Lectureships in the UK are equivalent to Assistant Prof positions in the US. It’s a permanent position (the UK does not have tenure review.)

https://www.lboro.ac.uk/join-us/outstanding/london/

Our Institute has a heavy emphasis on comparative political economy and critical management approaches (broadly defined). We are keen to get applications from sociologists. We are committed to increasing diversity and strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups.

https://www.lborolondon.ac.uk/institutes/institute-for-international-management/our-staff/

Member Publication: Wealth

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Yuval Elmelech:

Elmelech, Yuval. 2021. Wealth. Cambridge: Polity.

Here is a short description of the book:

The pursuit of wealth has captivated people’s attention for centuries. Yet, as a topic of social research, the way in which wealth is accumulated and unequally distributed has largely been neglected, remaining hidden beneath data on income inequality. Wealth aims to address this blind spot in the academic discourse.

In accessible prose, Yuval Elmelech explains how personal wealth differs fundamentally from other conventional measures of socioeconomic status and why it has become increasingly important to our understanding of social mobility and stratification. Crucially, Elmelech presents a dynamic sociological framework of wealth attainment that illuminates the effects of cumulative advantages and disadvantages over the course of an individual’s life, and across generations. He describes how these advantages and disadvantages are in turn shaped by a complex interplay of multiple markets, changing demographic landscapes, and persistent inter-group wealth disparities.

Blending theoretical approaches with empirical evidence and macro-level contexts with micro-level processes, this book is an astute guide for thinking about wealth as a key determinant of social and economic wellbeing and for interrogating the role of wealth accumulation in social inequality.

For 20% off the paperback version, go to www.politybooks.com and use code EL731 at checkout (valid from 3/30/2021 until 7/31/2021).

OOW Virtual Event: Broadening our Approaches to Studying Race and Racism in OOW

Dear OOW Members,

Please join us for an important and exciting virtual event, “Broadening our Approaches to Studying Race and Racism in OOW” on April 21, 1:30-4:00pm.

We will begin with a panel discussion, where Victor Ray (University of Iowa U.S.A.) will interview Stella Nkomo (The University of Pretoria in South Africa) and Bobby Banerjee (Cass Business School, UK) on the foundational nature of race in organizations.

This will be followed by a paper presentation panel, in which we will hear about cutting-edge research from LaTonya Trotter (on Racialized Exclusion in the Health Care Profession), James Jones (on Racism in the Halls of Power) and Oneya Okuwobi (on The Hidden Costs of Diversity Initiatives). 

Click here for more information and registration link.

See you there!

The OOW event committee

Member Publication: Choosing Bad Jobs: The Use of Nonstandard Work as a Commitment Device

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Laura Adler:

Adler, Laura. 2020. “Choosing Bad Jobs: The Use of Nonstandard Work as a Commitment Device.” Work and Occupations, Online First.

Abstract

With nonstandard work on the rise, workers are increasingly forced into bad jobs—jobs that are low-paying, part-time, short-term, and dead-end. But some people, especially in cultural industries, embrace this kind of work. To understand why some might choose bad jobs when better options are available, this paper examines the job preferences of aspiring artists, who often rely on bad day jobs as they attempt to achieve economic success in the arts. Using interviews with 68 college-educated artists, I find that their preferences are informed not only by utility and identity considerations—two factors established in the literature—but also by the value of bad jobs as commitment devices, which reinforce dedication to career aspirations. The case offers new insights into the connection between jobs and careers and enriches the concept of the commitment device with a sociological perspective, showing that these devices are not one-time contracts but ongoing practices.

Member Publication: Profiting on Crisis: How Predatory Financial Investors Have Worsened Inequality in the Coronavirus Crisis

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Megan Tobias Neely and Donna Carmichael:

Neely, Megan Tobias, and Donna Carmichael. 2021. “Profiting on Crisis: How Predatory Financial Investors Have Worsened Inequality in the Coronavirus Crisis.” American Behavioral Scientist, March, Online First.

Abstract

A once-in-a-century pandemic has sparked an unprecedented health and economic crisis. Less examined is how predatory financial investors have shaped the crisis and profited from it. We examine how U.S. shadow banks, such as private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund firms, have affected hardship and inequality during the crisis. First, we identify how these investors helped to hollow out the health care industry and disenfranchise the low-wage service sector, putting frontline workers at risk. We then outline how, as the downturn unfolds, shadow banks are shifting their investments in ways that profit on the misfortunes of frontline workers, vulnerable populations, and distressed industries. After the pandemic subsides and governments withdraw stimulus support, employment will likely remain insecure, many renters will face evictions, and entire economic sectors will need to rebuild. Shadow banks are planning accordingly to profit from the fallout of the crisis. We argue that this case reveals how financial investors accumulate capital through private and speculative investments that exploit vulnerabilities in the economic system during a time of crisis. To conclude, we consider the prospects for change and inequality over time.

Member Publication: The Gendered Politics of Pandemic Relief: Labor and Family Policies in Denmark, Germany, and the United States During COVID-19

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Nino Bariola and Caitlyn Collins:

Bariola, Nino, and Caitlyn Collins. 2021. “The Gendered Politics of Pandemic Relief: Labor and Family Policies in Denmark, Germany, and the United States During COVID-19.” American Behavioral Scientist, Online First.

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified families’ struggles to reconcile caregiving and employment, especially for working mothers. How have different countries reacted to these troubling circumstances? What policies have been implemented to alleviate the pernicious effects of the pandemic on gender and labor inequalities? We examine the policies offered in Denmark, Germany, and the United States, three countries that represent distinct welfare regimes. We find important differences among the policy solutions provided, but also in the “cultural infrastructures” that allow policies to work as intended, or not. In Denmark, a social-democratic welfare state, robust federal salary guarantee programs supplemented an already strong social safety net. The country was among the first to lock down and reorganize health care—and also among the first to reopen schools and child care facilities, acknowledging that parents’ employment depends on child care provisioning, especially for mothers. Germany, a corporatist regime, substantially expanded existing programs and provided generous subsidies. However, despite an ongoing official commitment to reduce gender inequality, the cultural legacy of a father breadwinner/mother caregiver family model meant that reopening child care facilities was not a first priority, which pushed many mothers out of paid work. In the U.S. liberal regime, private organizations—particularly in privileged economic sectors—are the ones primarily offering supports to working parents. Patchwork efforts at lockdown and reopening have meant a lengthy period of limbo for working families, with disastrous consequences for women, especially the most vulnerable. Among such varied “solutions” to the consequences of the pandemic, those of liberal regimes seem to be worsening inequalities. The unprecedented nature of the current pandemic recession suggests a need for scholars to gender the study of economic crises. 

Member Publication: Unemployment Experts: Governing the Job Search in the New Economy

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Patrick Sheehan:

Sheehan, Patrick. 2021. “Unemployment Experts: Governing the Job Search in the New Economy.” Work and Occupations, Online First.

Abstract

In recent years, sociologists have examined unemployment and job searching as important arenas in which workers are socialized to accept the terms of an increasingly precarious economy. While noting the importance of expert knowledge in manufacturing the consent of workers, research has largely overlooked the experts themselves that produce such knowledge. Who are these experts and what kinds of advice do they give? Drawing on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork conducted at three job search clubs, the author develops a three-fold typology of “unemployment experts”: Job Coaches present a technical diagnosis that centers mastery of job-hunting techniques; Self-help Gurus present a moral diagnosis focused on the job seeker’s attitude; and Skill-certifiers present a human capital diagnosis revolving around the job seeker’s productive capacities. By offering alternative diagnoses and remedies for unemployment, these experts give job seekers a sense of choice in interpreting their situation and acting in the labor market. However, the multiple discourses ultimately help to secure consent to precarious labor markets by drawing attention to a range of individual deficiencies within workers while obfuscating structural and relational explanations of unemployment. The author also finds that many unemployment experts themselves faced dislocations from professional careers and are making creative claims to expertise. By focusing on experts and their varied messages, this paper reveals how the victims of precarious work inadvertently help to legitimate the new employment regime.

Call for Unpublished or Recently Published Studies for Meta-analysis on Personality, Intelligence, Physical Size, and Social Status

Michael Grosz, Robbie van Aert, and Mitja Back are currently conducting a meta-analysis on correlations of personality traits, cognitive abilities, physical size (e.g., height) with social status (including social influence, attention, admiring respect, popularity, and leadership emergence).

They would be very grateful if you could e-mail unpublished or recently published studies and data to meta@uni-muenster.de. You can find further information and the inclusion criteria at https://osf.io/3r9h4/.