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Sociologists @ Work

The CJS Online invites descriptions of current research by sociologists. Send your brief description to the editor,
Jim Conley


John Goyder Sociology University of Waterloo
John Goyder is currently working in two areas. One is a longstanding interest in factors behind decisions members of the public make when asked to participate in a survey. With Susan Coutts, a Masters student at Waterloo, the current research is examining the interaction between response probability, cash incentives offered prepaid vs. postpaid, and socioeconomic status. The second and newer interest concerns issues in the measurement of social identities. Both topics are being investigated within a survey to be known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Metropolitan Area Survey 1998. This is the first such venture by the Department of Sociology at UW, but the aspiration is to make this a continuing area survey, similar in concept to the projects run at The University of Manitoba and The University of Alberta. Those interested in pricing information for questions that might be included in future versions can contact John Goyder at the e-mail below.
Email: jgoyder@watarts.uwaterloo.ca
Jeffrey G. Reitz Sociology University of Toronto
Jeffrey G. Reitz's Warmth of the Welcome: The Social Causes of Economic Success for Immigrants in Different Nations and Cities (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998. 312 pp.) examines how the economic performance of immigrants is shaped by national and urban social institutions. In the United States, particularly in the high-immigration cities, most immigrant-origin groups have significantly lower earnings than do their counterparts in Canadian and Australian cities. Immigration policy is not a factor, however; in fact U.S. immigrants in particular origins groups are not less skilled. U.S. institutions, including education, labour market structures, and social welfare, all reflect greater individualism and all contribute to the potential for inequality. Resulting higher poverty rates for U.S. immigrants explains their more extensive use of its weaker welfare system. This social institutional approach projects the impact of institutional restructuring past and future on the economic performance of immigrants in these countries. This research agenda is continued with Joachim R. Frick, Tony Calabrese, and Gert G. Wagner in “The Institutional Framework of Ethnic Inclusion and Exclusion: A Cross-National Analysis of the Earnings of Foreigners in Germany and Immigrants in Canada” (paper presented at the 1998 Meetings of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, August 21-25). The European social-welfare model differs from the North American individualistic model in the patterns, more than the overall extent, of ethnic inclusion and exclusion. Focussing on foreigners in Germany and immigrants in Canada as illustrative cases, conventional earnings decomposition analysis is extended cross-nationally to highlight institutional effects, using the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) first wave for 1984, and the 1986 Canadian Census. German education and labor market institutions benefit low-skill migrants, but generate less earnings assimilation. Such assimilation in Canada is greater but varies more by ethnic and racial origins. Institutional frameworks may generate social imperatives shaping patterns of ethnic inclusion and exclusion, quite apart from national policies of citizenship or culture.
Email: reitz@chass.utoronto.ca
Robert Pike Sociology Queen's University
Current research is a study of the social history of Canadian communications with a particular focus on links of then new technical innovations to issues of monopoly and contemporary views of globalization. Current focus is on the development of the Pacific Cable (1902) and the subsequent campaign for cheap cable rates and state control of cables within the context of the British Empire. This campaign can be seen as linked to the previous campaign for Imperial Penny Post ( my earlier research ) and to subsequent campaigms for state control of, and mass access to, the telephone. Parallels with the current debate about access to the information highway are apparent. Dwayne Winseck of Carleton University is co-researching on this project.
In conjunction with David Lyon, I am also engaged in a survey of student use of, and responses to the Reznet computer project in the Queen's university residences. The Reznet project allows swift access to a variety of information and entertainment sources. A fundamental question is: how is it actually beng used?
Email: Piker@post.queensu.ca
Barry Wellman Sociology University of Toronto
Barry Wellman is editor of Networks in the Global Village (forthcoming 11/98, Westview Press,), the first book to compare the community networks of people around the world. Chapters show how local and national custom affects the ways in which people use networks to access resources. He is also the author of "Doing It Ourselves: The SPSS Manual as Sociology's Most Influential Recent Book" (in Required Reading: Sociology's Most Influential Books, edited by Dan Clawson, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998), which argues that because SPSS empowered sociologists to do their own quantitative research, the manual is sociology's most important recent book. With Caroline Haythornthwaite, he recently published "Work, Friendship and Media Use for Information Exchange in a Networked Organization" (Journal of the American Society for Information Science 49, 12 (Oct., 1998): 1101-14), showing that the intensity of work and friendship separately and equally influence the extent of email contact and the use of multiple media for contact.
Current research projects are: "Netville: The Wired Suburb", with Keith Hampton, studying the social networks, community involvement and time use of residents of a leading-edge, highly-wired suburb near Toronto; "Scholarly Networks On and Off-Line", with Emmanuel Koku and Nancy Nazer, studying how scholars use various means of communication to exchange information and collaborate in communities of inquiry; "How Computer Mediated Communication Affects Social Relations and Social Networks", with Laura Garton and Caroline Haythornthwaite, studying the imapct of computer mediated communication on the kinds of relations coworkers have, and how core-periphery and hierarchies change in organizations; "Personal Communities", a treatise on personal community networks in preparation for Westview Press.
Other activities include Chairing the Community and Urban section of the American Sociological Association, finishing a term as Electronic Networking Advisor to the ASA and preparing both the committee's report on how the ASA should move in this direction, and an addition to the ASA style guide for referencing electronic publications. He will be Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information Management and Systems from January to May 1999.
Web: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman Email: wellman@chass.utoronto.ca
Scott Davies Sociology McMaster University
My current research centres on social stratification and the sociology of education. I am working on a number of projects simultaneously. One project, supported by SSHRC, focuses on international trends in school reform and politics. I am interested in how transnational reforms are creating a greater standardization among national education systems. This project also examines the new political culture in North American education, particularly the ways in which reforms such as school choice, standardized testing, and multicultural education are rhetorically “framed” and justified or opposed with appeals to notions of equity, multiculturalism, competitiveness, and globalization.
Another project uses the American National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY79) to study educational equity and transitions from school to employment. One paper, co-written with Neil Guppy, has analysed the links between class, gender, race and stratification within higher education. Other papers examine disparities in labour market outcomes among various types of school graduates, and the long term impact of teenage delinquency on educational and employment outcomes.
Email: daviesrs@mcmaster.ca
Paul Stevenson Sociology University of Winnipeg
Paul Stevenson is currently revising a manuscript tentatively entitled Class Stratification in the Modern Era: A Canadian Political Economic Perspective. An older section of the fourth chapter is published on his web-site (http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/academic/as/sociology/stevenson/page4.html). The section in the manuscript, which examines the causes and consequences of inequalities in the distributions of wealth and income, is being revised and updated. It will now include critiques of Gottschalk and Smeeding’s cross-national comparison of earnings and income inequality, entitled “A Sociologist’s Friendly Critique of Gottschalk and Smeeding” and “What’s Wrong with Bourgeois Economics” (both available from the author upon request.) I am especially looking for research articles identifying the consequences of inequality for people residing in Western industrialized nations. I am also completing a manuscript on evaluating social democratic governments in Canada and welcome any input or exchange in this and all previously mentioned areas.
Web: http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/academic/as/sociology/stevenson Email: pstevens@uwinnipeg.ca
Neil G. McLaughlin Sociology McMaster University
My major research area is the sociology of public intellectuals. In the context of recent developments in the sociology of culture and knowledge, I am interested in the historical and social factors that facilitate the emergence of intellectuals who write interdisciplinary works on culture, politics and society for general audiences. I am particularly interested in the policing and breaking of boundaries within “worlds” of intellectual production, as well as orthodoxies and revisionisms within intellectuals systems and intellectual movements, such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, post-modernism, and feminism. Other interests include political sociology and race relations. My theoretical work is largely concerned with psychoanalytic sociology.

My most recent publication is “How to Become a Forgotten Intellectual: Intellectual Movements and the Rise and Fall of Erich Fromm,” Sociological Forum 13:2 (1998): 215-246). Currently I am working on studies of the reputation as social critics of various intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, David Riesman and William Julius Wilson. I am also completing my book Escape from Orthodoxy: The Rise and Fall of Erich Fromm, and with Cyril Levitt and Scott Davies, editing a forthcoming collection of essays entitled Mistaken Indentities, examining the cultural wars from a liberal/left perspectives.
Email: nmclaugh@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Frank Pearce Sociology Queen's University
Having just published, with Steve Tombs, the book Toxic Capitalism: Corporate Crime in the Chemical Industry (Ashgate,1998), the focus of my work has now shifted to my other major interest, radical Durkheimian sociology. I am currently researching the nature and potential productivity of the discourses generated by those involved in the Collège de sociologie in Paris in the 1930s. The major figures, Bataille, Caillois and Leiris, were influenced to differing degrees by Durkheimian sociology, Marxism, Nietzsche and Surrealism. In an era where the role of the non-rational and the irrational in politics has become increasing evident, these thinkers provide us with particularly fruitful ways of thinking about subjects, social relations, and what Althusser calls society effects. They also provide a crucial reference point for understanding the writings of, amongst others, Michel Foucault.
Email: pearcef@interlog.com
Thomas Klassen Sociology Trent University
What impedes effective government actions to help the disadvantaged obtain jobs? My research interests focus on the (apparent) inability of government training and labour market policies to help the unemployed, including youth and those on social assistance. One project examines the organizational failure of Ontario government agencies charged with coordinating training and adjustment policy during the past decade. Most dramatic among the failures was the ambitious $500 million Ontario Training and Adjustment Board (1993-96). My second project analyzes the implications of the recent devolution of $2 billion in federal training programs to the provinces. This project is a component of a larger study of the Governance of the Social Union being coordinated by the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queenâs University. My third project investigates the factors - human capital, psycho-social and demographic - that differentiate the 20% of women with children who work while in receipt of social assistance from those who do not. In my final project I examine the stereotypes of people with disabilities, especially stutterers, in the labour force.
Email: tklassen@trentu.ca
Susan A. McDaniel, FRSC Sociology University of Alberta
Dr. McDaniel is Editor, Current Sociology (1997-2001), an official journal of the International Sociological Association. At the World Congress of Sociology in Montreal in summer 1998, she was actively involved in the official relaunch of the journal as a peer-reviewed quarterly with a focus on short review articles. More information about Current Sociology can be found on the International Sociological Association's Website: http://www.ucm.es/info/isa. She is also serving as a member of a three person committee doing an evaluation of the Canadian Policy Research Networks, Inc., Summer and Fall 1998, and is a Research Associate on a major collaborative grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to study the implications of population aging, 1999-2003. The research is centred at McMaster University.
Dr. McDaniel was awarded a grant by the Policy Research Secretariat and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to prepare a critical assessment of the state of knowledge / research on intergenerational transfers, and to develop policy implications. As part of her continuing work as Chair, Statistics Canada Advisory Committee on Science and Technology (1996-1999), Dr. McDaniel contributed substantially to Science and Technology Activities and Impacts: A Framework for a Statistical System (Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Cat. no. 88-522, forthcoming), which represents a landmark in the world in its specification of a systematic framework by which to measure science and technology activities, linkages and outcomes. The latter is particularly important since social and economic outcomes of science and technology have yet to have been successfully measured. She continues to serve on the National Statistics Council, which advises the Chief Statistician of Canada on statistical data, measurement, collection, and dissemination. She has served on the Council since 1992, having been reappointed twice.
Recent publications include (with Lorne Tepperman) Close Relations: An Introduction to Sociology of the Family (Toronto: Prentice Hall, forthcoming early 1999, approx. 500 pp.), "Intergenerational Equity: Policy and Data Implications," in Miles Corak , ed., Labour Markets Social Institutions, and the Future of Canada's Children (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1998 Cat. no. 89-553-XPB), and (with Erica van Roosmalen) "Sexual Harassment in Academia: A Hazard to Women's Health," Women and Health 28, 2 (1998): 33-54.
Web: http://www.ualberta.ca/~smcdanie/current.html Email: susan.mcdaniel@ualberta.ca
Arlene Tigar McLaren Sociology & Anthropology Simon Fraser University
My overall program of scholarship has been informed by a feminist approach that assumes the importance of examining political and everyday discourses and ideologies and determining how these are related to social inequalities. In previous research I have analyzed, for example, how teenage girls make sense of notions of equality in schools and in domestic lives, and how they understand family, parenting and mothering. My research has also included an historical investigation of birth control practices and politics in Canada and the relationship of the state to “private” issues. More recently, I have examined the politics and rhetoric of “parental choice” in relation to public schooling and its implications for democracy and social equality. Currently, I am engaged in two projects that are concerned with immigrant settlement in the greater Vancouver area. These entail interviewing family members to determine what immigration has meant to them, how their experiences are related to gender, generation, race, ethnicity, and social class within specific locations and social contexts. One project is longitudinal, examining the experiences of immigrant families (all members) over several years; the other is focussed specifically on the experiences of mothers, daughters and schools at a particular point in time.
Recent Publications include“Teenage Girls Making Sense of Mothering: What has (Relational) Equality Got to Do with It?” (with Ann Vanderbijl), in S.M. Abbey and A. O'Reilly (eds.), Redefining Motherhood: Changing Identities and Patterns. Toronto: Second Story Press,1998 (pp. 127-144); In the Name of “Choice”: A Study of Traditional Schools in B.C. (with Cecilia Kalaw and Nadene Rehnby). Vancouver, B.C.: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 1998 (pp. 71), and The Bedroom and the State: The Changing Practices and Politics of Contraception and Abortion in Canada 1880-1980, second edition (with Angus McLaren), Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997 (pp. 209).
Email: mclaren@sfu.ca
Robert J. Brym Sociology University of Toronto
I recently completed a seven-year research project on Russia since the collapse of communism. For some results of that research, see "Reevaluating Mass Support for Political and Economic Change in Russia," Europe-Asia Studies (48: 1996) 751-66; and "The Ethic of Self-Reliance and the Spirit of Capitalism in Russia," International Sociology (11: 1996) 409-26. I am now doing research with Jack Veugelers, Jonah Butovsky, and John Simpson (all at U of T) on the relative salience of materialism and postmaterialism in structuring Canadian politics in the 1980s and 1990s. The first results of that research will be presented at the meetings of the American Sociological Association in 1999. I continue to pursue my long-term interest in the sociology of intellectuals with Reza Nakhaie of the University of Windsor. My ongoing research on Russian Jews will be taking me to Harvard during the winter of 1999, where I will be lecturing at the Davis Center for Russian Studies. And my interest in introductory sociology is developing on three fronts: the second edition of New Society: Sociology for the 21st Century was published by Harcourt Brace Canada in 1998; I am writing an American introductory sociology textbook with John Lie (Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), to be published by Harcourt Brace US in 2001; and I am continuing work on Web-based sociology instruction (see http://www.harcourtbrace-canada.com/sociology/newsociety/).
Email: rbrym@chass.utoronto.ca

Revised last: Mon, Dec 20, 1999