L Cilia

Name: Laurent Cilia 

Dissertation Title: “It’s never been such a good Time to be a Beekeeper:” Large-scale Beekeeping and the Plight of Honey bees in the United States. 

Dissertation Summary:

For over a decade, managed honey bees have been chronically sick. The cause of the illness is debated by agricultural stakeholders, scientists, environmental non-profits, and governmental agencies. The issue directly threatens large sectors of food production that rely on honey bee pollination. It also raises questions about the state of global biodiversity and the environmental sustainability of agricultural practices. Existing sociological research assessing the issue has focused on the technical and epistemological limitations of contemporary entomology and epidemiology and the role of regulatory agencies. This dissertation offers a different approach to understanding the plight of honey bees. Departing from natural science explanations, it proposes a socioecological analysis focused on social dimensions of the issue. Drawing on forty-five interviews conducted between 2014 and 2018, field notes, and data available online, the analysis explores the dynamics that perpetuate, legitimate, or fail to resolve the problem(s) facing bees.  

After first showing how the cultural disdain for insects combines with toxic agricultural practices to make bees’ lives challenging, I then link the fate of managed honey bees to their commodification. Forced to adapt to increasing environmental and economic pressures, beekeepers have developed new practices intended to keep bees alive and reproducing to stay in business and fulfill pollination demand. I argue that beekeepers’ new concern for best management practices fails to foster global changes in agriculture, subsequently compromising their own fate with that of their bees. Combining three neo-Marxist models that are central to environmental sociology but typically used separately, I explain the root causes of the plight of honey bees in an integrative framework. This model explains some of the structural and ideational logics that generate and perpetuate the fundamentally inhospitable agricultural land- and mindscapes that harm bee health and impede the implementation of substantive improvements. Finally, I find that, although beekeepers invest in and voice hopes for techno-scientific solutions, they simultaneously remain skeptical that techno-science will deliver on its promises. I describe this paradox as a form of denial. As both agents and victims (with their bees) of industrial agriculture, beekeepers turn to techno-science, which saves them from having to reconsider and deconstruct the system of which they are an integral part and from which they benefit. Techno-scientific promises keep beekeepers hopeful and provide them with a sense of agency while the larger socio-cultural mode of food production goes unquestioned. This mode of production may be the root cause of the global biodiversity collapse, of which the plight of managed honey bees is only a well-documented example. 

Selected Publications:

Laurent, Cilia, 2019. “The Plight of the Honeybee: a Socioecological Analysis of large-scale Beekeeping in the United States.” Sociologia Ruralis https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12253  

Laurent, Cilia. “We don't know much about Bees!” Techno-Optimism, Techno-Scepticism, and Denial in the American large-scale Beekeeping Industry. Sociologia Ruralis. https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12280    

Irvine, Leslie, and Laurent Cilia. 2017. “More-than-human Families: Pets, People, and Practices in Multi-Species Households.” Sociology Compass 11:e12455.  

Irvine, Leslie, and Laurent Cilia. 2017. Teaching and Learning Guide to Accompany "More-than-human Families: Pets, People, and Practices in Multi-Species Households.” Sociology Compass.  


K Clark

Name: Kendra J. Clark

Dissertation Title: Breaking out of Prison Culture, Or Culture Breaking out of Prison?: Understanding changes in Convict Code Adherence after Release from Prison

Dissertation Summary: My dissertation, which is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) research fellowship, outlines and quantitatively assesses the cascading significance of culture as a source of prisoner reentry experiences. Using data from the Texas LoneStar Study, a longitudinal study including 802 men as they are released from prison and experiencing their first year back in the community, I test the assumptions and mediating mechanisms put forth by the cascading model—my theory of cultural adaptation during incarceration and reentry. First, I seek to understand how adherence to the convict code changes after a person is released from prison. Second, I test how multiple exposures to the criminal justice system may implement a cascading trajectory of increased adherence to the convict code—a relationship I argue is mediated by individuals' perceived ability to conform to conventional society’s culture and their internal locus of control. Finally, I test how the relationship between individuals’ pre- and post-release adherence to the convict code may be mediated by program participation and perceptions of programming. My dissertation will increase our understanding of how cultural adherence to anti-social attitudes, values, and beliefs hinder successful community integration and provide a unique opportunity to inform rehabilitation and reentry practices.

Selected Publications:

Clark, K. J., Mitchell, M. M., Fahmy, C., Pyrooz, D. C., & Decker, S. H. (In Press). “What if they are all High-Risk? Correlates of Retention in a Longitudinal Study of Reentry from Prison”. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

Pyrooz, D. C., Clark, K. J., Tostlebe, J. J., Decker, S. H., & Orrick, E. (2020). "Gang Affiliation and Prisoner Reentry: Discrete-Time Variation in Recidivism by Current, Former, and Non-Gang Status". Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, [article link].

Fahmy, C., Clark, K. J., Mitchell, M. M., Decker, S. H., & Pyrooz, D. C. (2019). Method to the madness: tracking and interviewing respondents in a longitudinal study of prisoner reentry. Sociological Methods & Research, [article link].

S. Domingue

Name: Simone J. Domingue
Dissertation Title: The Coastal Bellwether: Inside Louisiana's Struggle to Avoid Climate Disaster
Dissertation Summary: My dissertation, which is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) dissertation grant, is a qualitative study of organizational actors in coastal Louisiana who are working to mitigate the slow-moving threat of climate-induced sea level rise. In the dissertation, which is based on over 80 interviews with key actors in the region, participant observation, and document analysis, I show how Louisiana’s petrochemical-dominated power structure is upheld through the collective construction of Louisiana as both an ecological “sacrifice zone” and as a place of unique ecological importance.  I highlight how these constructions not only normalize corporate power and the destructive nature of the state’s political economy, but also how these constructions obscure unequal power relations between white-passing “Cajun” communities of European descent, and Black, Creole, Indigenous, and Vietnamese communities. 
Selected Publications

2019. Domingue, S. “Who Knows What Comes Tomorrow? A Study of Resilience Discourse, Practice, and Politics in a Post-Disaster Field.” Environmental Sociology. DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2019.1666960.   

2019. Domingue, S. and Emrich, C.T. “Social Vulnerability and Procedural Equity: Exploring the Distribution of Disaster Aid Across U.S. Counties.” American Review of Public Administration. https://doi.org/10.1177/0275074019856122

2019. Domingue, S. “Review: Responses to Disasters and Climate Change:  Understanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience,” edited by Michele Companion and Miriam Chaiken. The International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 37(2): 234-238. 

A Nunez

Name: Adriana C. Núñez

Dissertation Title: Mexican Americans on the Border: Ethnic and Political Identities in the Trump Era

Dissertation Summary:

My dissertation examines the identities and experiences of Mexican Americans on the U.S.- Mexico border. Based on 42 in-depth interviews and five months of participant observation, I focus on late-generation (third-plus) Mexican Americans to analyze the ethnic and political identities of individuals, as well as their experiences with surveillance by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in Nogales and Tucson, Arizona. In focusing on the border, I draw attention to the significance of context in shaping power dynamics and the particular set of contradicting forces that Mexican Americans face. I find that Mexican Americans on the border experience a unique mixture of extreme forms of both inclusion and exclusion. On one hand, Mexican Americans have the rare luxury of being represented in their communities through the markets, networks, language, and institutions they engage with on a daily basis. Moreover, closer to the physical border, the region is majority-minority which reduces the likelihood that Mexican Americans ever face interpersonal racism; this in turn, allows individuals to take their ethnic identities for granted. At the same time, individuals are also exposed to legal violence and surveillance via their routine interactions with CBP. Thus, Mexican Americans’ identities on the border and pervasive forms of surveillance are simultaneously normalized aspects of life. This juxtaposition provides the backdrop for the kinds of ethnic, national, and political identities individuals develop to navigate their liminal status, both in the United States and on the border.

Selected Publication: Núñez, Adriana C. "Collateral Subjects: The Normalization of Surveillance for Mexican Americans on the Border." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity https://doi.org/10.1177/2332649219884085

M Olson

Name: Marley Olson

Dissertation Title: Legitimacy Deficits with a Gendered Diagnosis: Navigating the Disease Process of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

Dissertation Summary: My dissertation research examines the praxis of medicine and gender to explain gendered legitimacy deficits in the disease process of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or "concussions." Using data collected through interviewing and focus groups, I argue that gendered disparities in the experience of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery result from medicalization and gender processes that iteratively manifest brain injury and "concussion" diagnoses as masculine conditions. These social processes withhold women’s legitimate claims to the concussion diagnosis, and consequently affect women's access to diagnosis, treatment, and resources. In contrast to cases of contested illness, this is a case of the contested sick role. This research contributes to our understanding of the embodiment of diagnosis and disease politics. 

Website: https://www.marleyolson.com/

H Steinberg

Name: Hillary Steinberg

Dissertation Title: Born and Raised in Pediatrics: Becoming a Patient in a Children's Hospital

Dissertation Summary: My dissertation explores the social processes that undergird children and young with chronic health conditions situated in a hospital take on a pediatric patient identity. I explore how charity and philanthropy, social place, the changing chronic nature of pediatrics, and adult pediatric care create the context for this process. It began as an ethnography of a major children’s hospital focused on patients. I collected over 500 hours of ethnographic data focusing on patients’ interactions embedded in the physical hospital space. I have followed 19 focal patients through the hospital space and in virtual interviews.

Postdoc: Health Services Research and Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship, AJ Drexel Autism Institute Drexel University.

Selected Publications: 
Hillary Steinberg. 2020. “Distance and Acceptance: Identity Formation in Young Adults with Chronic Health Conditions.” Advances in Life Course Research 44:100325. Doi: 10.1016/j.alcr.2020.100325.
Selected for the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award, American Sociological Association, Section on Disability and Society.

Anna Mueller, Seth Abrutyn, Sarah Diefendorf, Hillary Steinberg, Krystina Miller, Lauren O’Rielly, Katie Beardall, James Watkins. 2020. “Youth Mask Wearing and Social Distancing Behavior at in-person High School Graduations during the COVID-19 Pandemic” Journal of Adolescent Health. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.12.123.

A. Tilstra

Name: Andrea M. Tilstra

Dissertation Title: “Social and Institutional Factors Driving Trends in U.S. Obstetric Interventions”

Dissertation Summary: My dissertation research quantitatively analyzes the use of labor induction and cesarean section deliveries (i.e., obstetric interventions) in the United States. I argue that the combination of risk discourse (i.e., fear of being labeled as “high risk”), the medicalization of birth (i.e., the need to “treat the birth”), and U.S. concern with reproduction of life has promoted the rising use of obstetric interventions in the United States. I further explore how different levels of social life act as moderators for how risk is navigated in obstetric care and argue that exposure to risk discourse, navigation of potentially risky medical outcomes, and medicalization practices might differ by the social and institutional contexts in which U.S. women live and navigate.

Website: https://www.andreatilstra.com

Selected Publications

Rogers, Richard G., Robert A. Hummer, Andrea M. Tilstra, Elizabeth M. Lawrence, and Stefanie Mollborn. (Forthcoming) “Family Structure and Early Life Mortality in the United States.” Journal of Marriage and Family. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12674.

Tilstra, Andrea M., and Ryan K. Masters. (2020) “Worth the Weight? Recent Trends in Obstetric Practices, Gestational Age, and U.S. Birth Weight.” Demography 57:99–121. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-019-00843-w

Braudt, David B., Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Andrea M. Tilstra, Robert A. Hummer, and Richard G. Rogers. (2019) “Associations between Early Life Mortality and Socioeconomic Status in the 21st Century United States.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 23(10): 1382-1391. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-019-02799-0

Tilstra, Andrea M. (2018) “Estimating Educational Differences in Low-Risk Cesarean Section Delivery: A Multilevel Modeling Approach.” Population Research and Policy Review 37(1): 117-135. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-017-9452-2.

Masters, Ryan K., Andrea M. Tilstra, and Daniel H. Simon. (2018) “Explaining Recent Mortality Trends among Younger and Middle Aged White Americans.” International Journal of Epidemiology 47(1): 81-88. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyx127.

Rogers, Richard G., Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Robert A. Hummer, and Andrea M. Tilstra. (2017) “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Early Life Mortality in the United States.” Biodemography and Social Biology 63(3): 189-205. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19485565.2017.1281100.

Masters, Ryan K., Andrea M. Tilstra, and Daniel H. Simon. (2017) “Mortality from Suicide, Chronic Liver Disease, and Drug Poisonings among Middle-Aged U.S. White Men and Women, 1980-2013.” Biodemography and Social Biology 63(1): 31-37. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19485565.2016.1248892