Public Sociology

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Third ISA Forum of Sociology (10 to 14 July 2016, Vienna, Austria)


Please visit the Third ISA Forum of Sociology page ( for more information and updates.

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Kansas State University Researchers Study Immigration From Central America to Rural Kansas


Immigrant workers from Central America are influencing rural Kansas’ society and economy, according to a Kansas State University sociology professor who is conducting a study of the workers with her student research team.

Alisa Garni, associate professor of sociology, and her team are conducting long-term, in-depth ethnographic research. Their methods include qualitative interviews with dairy owners, public servants, longtime residents and Central American immigrants — regardless of legal status — as well as quantitative data analysis of census reports.

Garni is especially interested in how dairy farmers in remote, depopulated areas of the U.S. are recruiting immigrants to settle and work permanently in their towns. Based on her study, she said most of the farmers in Dairy City — a name used to protect study participants’ confidentiality — have tried recruiting locally and do employ some longtime Kansas residents, but because the work is labor-intensive and their farms are growing quickly, they find it helpful to hire immigrants.

“They need workers with very specific skills, and they are encouraging them to settle with their families in the area. How do you do that in remote areas that have previously experienced significant population decline, as well as the loss of local services and businesses?” Garni asked. “It’s interesting, puzzling and challenging, but they are doing it.”

In addition to previously well-understood methods of recruitment that include word-of-mouth to friends and relatives in Central America and the United States, and state-based programs providing workers with short-term visas, Garni has discovered various ways in which farmers are improving their operations to attract excellent employees who will continue to work on their dairies for as long as possible.

To further hone their skills as employers, farmers consult K-State Research and Extension agents; attend national dairy conferences; offer competitive wages and benefits — including housing, paid vacation and housing assistance; provide on-the-job vocational training; administer bonus pay based on clear performance standards; and sponsor or participate in off-farm celebrations to foster a sense of community.

“The relationships employers form with the workers and their families are so important in helping the farmers’ dairies and towns to grow,” Garni said.

Societal change because of immigrant labor is occurring in the midst of aging populations and depopulation, which are common phenomena in remote, rural communities. Garni said one of her most surprising findings is the extensive quality of the intergenerational, intercultural relationships that form between immigrant workers and aging populations.

“The residents who are retiring welcome newcomers who aren’t as familiar with the area, and some of the newcomers assist some of the retirement-age population if they need help with something, or just to learn and share life stories,” Garni said. “It’s been pretty powerful to see that connection.”

Garni observed that migrant labor has boosted the economy of Dairy City. She said migrant labor and economic development go hand-in-hand.

“Immigrant labor strengthens local housing markets and businesses that relate to farming — everything from consumer retail, food and clothing, and home supplies to farm implement manufacturing — because it supports the dairies and agriculture, which then support other industries,” Garni said. “It has a chain reaction.”

Though Garni refers to the immigrant population as significant, she said Hispanics still comprise a small minority of the predominantly white communities in rural Kansas. Most of the influx of Central Americans to rural areas of the U.S. can be traced to the farm crises and rising interest rates of the 1980s, when many small farming communities experienced out-migration to cities.

“In rural Kansas communities in the last 10-15 years, we’ve seen a movement in which dairy farmers are changing their hiring practices to rely more heavily on immigrant labor,” said Jill Applegate, a May 2016 bachelor’s graduate in political science and modern languages, Shawnee, whose work with Garni was funded through the university’s Undergraduate Research Award. “We started to see this phenomenon occurring about 10 years ago, but the actual process that led up to this movement has been happening for decades.”

The sociology, anthropology and social work department is in the College of Arts & Sciences.


Date         :               July 7, 2016

Source     :               Kansas State University

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Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture considers public opinion on same-sex marriage, parenting


It has been nearly a year since the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act put Indiana in the national spotlight and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its landmark case on same-sex marriage.

The reactions to RFRA and the Supreme Court ruling reflect a turnaround in American public opinion that is “one of the most striking changes in public opinion social scientists have ever witnessed,” said Brian Powell, the James H. Rudy Professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington.

This striking change, and the future directions of public opinion, are the topics of the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture, “Public Opinion after Obergefell: What Americans Believe about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Marriage Equality, and Same-Sex Parenting.”

Powell will present the lecture on Monday, April 18. The lecture will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Indiana University Cinema, 1213 E. Seventh St.

“Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, many questions remain about Americans’ views and beliefs,” Powell said. “Do Americans count same-sex couples as a ‘family’? What do Americans believe about same-sex parenting? Do Americans believe businesses should have the right to refuse services to same-sex couples? Is the unprecedented change in American views on same-sex marriage a sign of how public opinion on other social issues will change in the future? I plan to answer these and other questions during the lecture.”

A member of the IU Bloomington faculty since 1986, Powell conducts research focused on family, education, gender and sexuality. He has studied how families confer advantages — or disadvantages — to their children and how family structure influences parental investments in children. He is especially interested in atypical family forms: families with older parents, bi/multiracial families, adoptive families and gay/lesbian families.

Powell’s award-winning book, “Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family” — coauthored with IU Ph.D.s Catherine Bolzendahl and Claudia Geist and with Lala Carr Steelman from the University of South Carolina — documents the transformation in how Americans define family and their views regarding same-sex families. His current research explores Americans’ views regarding the role of parents, children and the government in college funding.

The Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President at IU Bloomington. Begun in 1980, this annual event recognizes the research achievements of an IU Bloomington faculty member and is accompanied by a $5,000 award to support the distinguished lecturer’s continuing research. Past awardees include Elinor Ostrom, David R. Williams, Rebecca Barthelmie and Richard DiMarchi.


Date:                      April 6, 2016

Source:                  Indiana University Bloomingto

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Disturbing details of sexual harassment scandal at UC Berkeley revealed in files


Documents offer redacted versions of investigation reports and disciplinary actions for cases involving staff that substantiated allegations of misconduct

Eleven employees at the University of California at Berkeley have been fired or resigned after facing accusations of sexual harassment, according to new records that provide disturbing details on numerous misconduct allegations and dramatically expand a scandal plaguing the prestigious institution.

The hundreds of pages of records – which include extensive documentation of harassment cases involving 19 employees and were released on the heels of multiple high-profile controversies – show that men in powerful positions avoided discipline after the school substantiated harassment complaints from students and employees.

The new documents, provided to the Guardian and other media outlets, offer redacted versions of the public university’s investigation reports and disciplinary actions for every case in the past seven years in which the office for the prevention of harassment and discrimination (OPHD) substantiated allegations of misconduct.

Notably, the documents show that all the employees who were fired for violating sexual harassment policies were staff members – and none were tenured professors.

Three faculty members included in the reports remain at the university, said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.

The revelations come months after Geoffrey Marcy, a well-known UC Berkeley astronomer, resigned in the wake of reports that the school had found that he had repeatedly sexually harassed students over the course of a decade yet did not face serious discipline.

Last month, Sujit Choudhry, the dean of the law school, resigned from his position after the university faced significant backlash for allowing him to keep his job following a campus investigation that substantiated his executive assistant’s sexual harassment allegations.

Choudhry remains a faculty member.

The new documents revealed that Howard D’Abrera, an adjunct faculty member who eventually resigned, repeatedly sent sexually harassing emails to an undergraduate student. In one, he invited the student on a “dirt smoke filled weekend of unadulterated guilty pleasure and sins” and offered to “whisper sweet nothings in your ear”. The email said: “I should get to know you … and explore the daring [redacted] dark side of you. Bring me a shirt from your wardrobe.”

In a short phone interview on Wednesday evening, D’Abrera said he never made sexual advances toward the student and that his comments were taken out of context. He now claims that he did not send the email in question, though during the investigation, as the report shows, he confessed to writing the message.

Blake Wentworth, a faculty member in the department of south and south-east Asian studies, whose case is still pending, allegedly told a graduate student: “I could lose my job over this … but I’m so attracted to you.” At one point, he allegedly came up behind the female student and cupped his hand over her ear.

Jeffrey Topacio, a general manager of Cal Dining who was found guilty of “gross misconduct” and eventually was terminated, repeatedly made comments about his penis size, even after meeting with a complaint resolution officer, according to the records. He also allegedly used a homophobic slur to describe a male employee who was crying.

The reports further revealed that Alan Wong, a fired university massage therapist, sexually assaulted a female undergraduate student, repeatedly touching her underwear and genitals during a massage, including after she said: “Can you focus on my shoulder?”

Nori Castillo, a staffer in Berkeley’s startup accelerator SkyDeck, was terminated after the university determined that he repeatedly harassed a male student intern, subjecting him to unwanted sexual advances, making statements such as “I want you so badly” and “I’ll blow your mind”.

Scott Anderson, a disability specialist who worked with students with psychological disabilities, repeatedly sent sexually inappropriate emails to a female student, according to the documents. In one he joked about spanking her, and in another he referenced punishing her for not finishing an assignment and said he would bring handcuffs.

In 17 total reports – involving accusations against 19 employees – 11 cases resulted in termination or resignation. Six cases resulted in other forms of discipline, and two of the disciplinary proceedings are still pending. In seven cases students had filed the complaints, and in six of the investigations faculty were accused of misconduct.

On Wednesday, Michael Burawoy, professor of sociology and co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association, said the new reports raised concerns that there are disparities in the way the university responds to complaints depending on the status of the accused. “The most significant part of this revelation is the difference in the punishment,” he said. “Tenured faculty are basically not dismissed … That theme runs through all of this.”

There are troubling power dynamics in all of the cases, Burawoy added. “Men are often in more powerful positions than women. It encourages that sort of behavior if it’s not … sanctioned or if it’s somehow kept secret.”

Leslie Salzinger, a professor of gender and women’s studies at Berkeley, said the cases have shed light on the kind of harassment that is common in universities and workplaces across the country. “The issue with Berkeley is not that there’s more harassment, but one would expect an institution like this to do a better job responding. I hope that we will.”

Mogulof, the university spokesman, noted that the school has recently formed a committee on sexual violence, harassment and assault to review policies and make recommendations for changes.

“There needs to be improvement in our policies and our practices and our culture on this campus,” he said.

Mogulof also noted that other universities have not released this kind of data, meaning there’s no evidence that the problem is worse here. But, he added: “We have been explicit in our acknowledgement that one is too many.”

Naomi Rustomjee, Choudhry’s lawyer, said in an email Wednesday that the former dean “is confident that he will be vindicated in court”, adding: “He should be judged on the basis of his conduct, not on that of others accused of sexual harassment.”

Choudhry has apologized to his former assistant “for his mistakes”, Rustomjee added.

The other faculty and staff named in the reports did not respond to requests for comment or could not immediately be reached.



By:                         Sam Levin

Date:                      April 7, 2016

Source:                  The Guardian

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“Conversations on Race and Other Diversities: Its Not Just About Black and White”


Where: The Graduate Center, City University of New York (365 Fifth Avenue, C200: Proshansky Auditorium)

When:  March 21, 2016, 6:30PM

As America continues the conversation around race in our society, ideas about an individual’s multiple identities have grown increasingly nuanced. The discussion now looks at how different identities (such as race, gender, and sexuality) intersect and combine. Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, president emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College, sheds light on these complexities with a dynamic panel.


Cristina Beltrán, NYU professor working at the intersection of Latino politics and political theory; author of The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity; and MSNBC commentator.

Wade Davis, a former NFL player who came out as gay and is now executive director of the You Can Play Project, an organization working to end discrimination, sexism, and homophobia in sports.

Vivian M. May, associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Syracuse University; author of Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries; and president of the National Women’s Studies Association.

Arun Venugopal, host of Micropolis, WNYC’s ongoing examination of race, sexuality and identity; contributor to NPR’s Morning Editionand All Things ConsideredPBS Newshour, and more.


This program is part of the Graduate Center’s ongoing series exploring race and diversity — issues at the forefront of current national debate — with leading thinkers and cultural figures. Presented by GC Public Programs and the Advanced Research Collaborative.

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University of Tennessee: Lecture Explores Upward Mobility Issues for Black Male Professionals (March 3)

A UT lecture will explore the interactions of professional black men in a predominantly white male workplace at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3.

Adia Harvey Wingfield, a professor of sociology at Washington University, will present the lecture, “No More Invisible Man: Professional Black Men’s Gendered Interactions in Predominantly White Male Workplaces,” in the McCarty Auditorium, Room 109 in the UT Art and Architecture Building.

The Department of Sociology is sponsoring the lecture.

The lecture is based on Wingfield’s multiple-prize-winning book, No More Invisible Man, which explores how professional black men navigate promotions, occupational networks and upward mobility under conditions where they are often viewed as tokenized minorities.

Earlier that day, at noon, Wingfield will present a colloquium titled “Professional Work in a Post-Racial Era: Black American’s Everyday Racial Realities in the Health Care Industry” in 1210 McClung Tower.

The lectures are free and open to the public.

Wingfield joined Washington University last fall. Previously, she was on the sociology faculty at Georgia State University for nine years. She is also a contributing writer to the Atlantic.

Wingfield specializes in research that examines the ways intersections of race, gender and class affect social processes at work. She is an expert on the workplace experiences of minority workers in predominantly white professional settings, specifically on black male professionals in occupations where they are in the minority.

Visit the Department of Sociology website for more about its events.


Stephanie Bohon (865-974-7019,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,



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Public Sociologies Symposium from Boston College

Public Sociologies: A Symposium from Boston College which combines theory and practice of public sociology

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When people’s power won Philippines

Series of amazing photos by New York Times (NYT) When ‘People Power’ Won Philippines

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Answers to What is Democracy by Activists and Political Analysts from around the world

The project asked “What is democracy?” to numerous activists and political analysts in 15 cities around the world, in Amsterdam, Berkeley, Berlin, Bern, Budapest, Copenhagen, Moscow, New York, Rostock, San Francisco, Sydney, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki and Warsaw.The interviews have been recorded on video since January 2007.

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Public Sociology

Public Sociology

Simply click on the links below to access articles from the archive of International Sociology and Current Sociology related to the theme of Public Sociology

Public Sociology for Human Rights as Rites of Rule by Patricia Mooney Nickel

‘Make Way for Professional Sociology!’: Public Sociology in the Russian Context by Elena Zdravomyslova

Public Sociology and Social Engagement: Considerations on Brazil by Ruy Braga, Sylvia Gemignani Garcia and Leonardo Mello e Silva

Sociology in Political Practice and Public Discourse by Alberto Martinelli

Speaking `Truth’ to All Forms of Power: Reflections on the Role of the Public Sociologist in South Africa by Adam Habib

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