Category Archives: Networks and Community

How far can Scholarly Networks Go?

s200_guang_ying-moCongratulations to Guang Ying Mo and her coauthors who were recently awarded one of the Emerald Literati Networks Award for Excellence, 2016!

Mo and her co-authors, Zach Hayat and Barry Wellman, received an Outstanding Author Contribution Award in the Book Series, Studies in Media and Communications. Their award-winning book chapter is: “How Far Can Scholarly Networks Go? Examining the Relationships between Disciplines, Motivations, and Clusters.”

Presented by The Emerald Publishing Group, this award honours the top contributions within the current year’s volume of a book series. According to the award’s literature, the winning chapters demonstrate: “a contribution of something new to the body of knowledge, either in terms of approach or subject matter; excellent structure and presentation and well-written text; rigour in terms of argument or analysis; relevance – to practice and further research, in most cases; up-to-date – demonstrating that the latest/key works in the field have been cited; a work which is clearly within the editorial scope and remit of the book series.” In choosing the outstanding contribution, the editors are, moreover, recognizing it as “of notable outstanding quality.”

Congratulations again to Mo for her excellent work.

In recognition of the award, the publisher has made the full chapter open access for the period of one year. We have pasted the abstract below.

Guang Ying Mo , Zack Hayat , Barry Wellman. How Far can Scholarly Networks Go? Examining the Relationships between Distance, Disciplines, Motivations, and Clusters Communication and Information Technologies Annual. 2015, 107-133.

Abstract

This study aims to understand the extent to which scholarly networks are connected both in person and through information and communication technologies, and in particular, how distance, disciplines, and motivations for participating in these networks interplay with the clusters they form. The focal point for our analysis is the Graphics, Animation and New Media Network of Centres of Excellence (GRAND NCE), a Canadian scholarly network in which scholars collaborate across disciplinary, institutional, and geographical boundaries in one or multiple projects with the aid of information and communication technologies. To understand the complexity in such networks, we first identified scholars’ clusters within the work, want-to-meet, and help networks of GRAND and examined the correlation between these clusters as well as with disciplines and geographic locations. We then identified three types of motivation that drove scholars to join GRAND: practical issues, novelty-exploration, and networking. Our findings indicate that (1) scholars’ interests in the networking opportunities provided by GRAND may not easily translate into actual interactions. Although scholars express interests in boundary-spanning collaborations, these mostly occur within the same discipline and geographic area. (2) Some motivations are reflected in the structural characteristics of the clusters we identify, while others are irrelevant to the establishment of collaborative ties. We argue that institutional intervention may be used to enhance geographically dispersed, multidisciplinary collaboration.

The Social Networks of Seniors

The Faculty of Arts and Science News recently profiled Professor Markus Schafer in their series on “Rising Stars.” The piece discusses Professor Schafer’s doctoral work that studied the social networks of seniors in a residence complex, and his ongoing research into social networks, health and aging more generally.

Read the article here.

Professor Schafer’s research is supported by the Province of Ontario’s Early Researcher Award and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

What happens when first-time mothers take maternity leave?

Maghbouleh 2015 Headshot.JPGWhat happens when first-time mothers take maternity leave?

For one thing, they begin to socialize with each other. With months or years away from the workforce and a whole new identity as a parent, women often seek out groups where they share parenting-related knowledge and, in many cases, gain emotional and social support. The women benefit in obvious ways – they feel less isolated, they share knowledge and insights, and they experience mental and physical health benefits.

But the benefits may also reach beyond the individual.

A new research project undertaken by Professor Neda Maghbouleh will study the ways in which involvement in mothers’ groups affects civic engagement, and how this varies in different parts of the city and by different axes of inequality.

In Toronto, there are examples of mothers’ groups, initially formed for post-partum socialization, that engage in civic work like neighbourhood revitalization, refugee sponsorship, and local fundraising. Some of the groups are formally organized by provinces and local municipalities and led by public health nurses or social workers; others are formally or informally established among neighbours, library patrons, or local café “regulars.” In either case, they are deeply embedded in the local community.

Which might explain a growth of civic engagement.

It is unlikely, however, that the experience is uniform across the city. Social life in Toronto has increasingly polarized around axes of inequality like income/class, immigration status, and race/ethnicity/religion. Given rising levels of inequity in the city, any positive outcomes associated with mothers’ groups are likely to be deeply entwined with, and shaped by, social inequality

Professor Maghbouleh has recently received a Connaught New Researcher Award to fund the initial stages of this project. With this funding, she and a graduate student will map the formal and informal mothers’ groups in Toronto and conduct pilot interviews with a strategically sampled selection of the women in these groups.

U of T at the 2016 ASA

University of Toronto Sociology at the Annual Meeting of the 2016 American Sociological Association

Our Sociology faculty members and graduate students are very active with the American Sociological Association, with over 60 of them appearing in this year’s program either as presented or an organizer of a panel. See the program for more information. Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, August 20

Irene Boeckmann

Fatherhood and Breadwinning: Race and Class Differences in First-time Fathers’ Long-term Employment Patterns

Monica Boyd; Naomi Lightman

Gender, Nativity and Race in Care Work: The More Things Change….

Clayton Childress

I Don’t Make Objects, I Make Projects: Selling Things and Selling Selves in Contemporary Art-making

Jennifer Jihye Chun

Globalizing the Grassroots: Care Worker Organizing and the Redefinition of 21st Century Labour Politics

Paulina Garcia del Moral

Feminicidio, Transnational Human Rights Advocacy and Transnational Legal Activism

Phil Goodman

Conservative Politics, Sacred Crows, and Sacrificial Lambs: The Role of ‘Evidence’ During Canada’s Prison Farm Closures

Josee Johnston

Spitting that Real vs. Keeping It Misogynistic: Hip-Hop, Class, and Masculinity in New Food Media

Andrew Miles

Measuring Automatic Cognition: Practical Advances for Sociological Research Using Dual-process Models

Atsushi Narisada

Palatable Unjust Desserts: How Procedural Justice Weakens the Pain of Perceived Pay Inequity

David Nicholas Pettinicchio

The Universalizing Effects of Unionism: Policy, Inequality and Disability

Markus H. Schafer

Social Networks and Mastery after Driving Cessation: A Gendered Life Course Approach

Lawrence Hamilton Williams

Active Intuition: The Patterned Spontaneity of Decision-making

 

Sunday, August 21

Sida Liu

The Elastic Ceiling: Gender and Professional Career in Chinese Courts

Jonathan Tomas Koltai; Scott Schieman; Ronit Dinovitzer

Status-based Stress Exposure and Well-being in the Legal Profession

Andrew Miles

Turf Wars of Truly Understanding Culture? Moving Beyond Isolation and Importation to Genuine Cross-disciplinary Engagement

Melissa A. Milkie

Time Deficits with Children: The Relationship to Mothers’ and Fathers’ Mental and Physical Health

Diana Lee Miller

Sustainable and Unsustainable Semi-Professionalism: Grassroots Music Careers in Folk and Metal

Ito Peng

Care and Migration Policies in Japan and South Korea

Scott Schieman; Atsushi Narisada

Under-rewarded Boss: Gender, Workplace Power, and the Distress of Perceived Pay Inequity

 

Monday, August 22

Salina Abji

Because Deportation is Violence Against Women: On the Politics of State Responsibility and Women’s Human Rights

Holly Campeau

The Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Blueville War: Policing, Standards, and Cultural Match

Bahar Hashemi

Canadian Newspaper Representations of Family violence among Immigrant Communities: Analyzing Shifts Over Time

Vanina Leschziner

The American Fame Game: Academic Status and Public Renown in Post-war Social Sciences

Ron Levi; Ioana Vladescu

The Structure of Claims after Atrocity: Justifications, Values, and Proposals from the Holocaust Swiss Banks Litigation

Patricia Louie

Whose Body Matters? Representations of Race and Skin Colour in Medical Textbooks

William Magee; Laura Upenieks

Supervisory Level and Anger About Work

Maria M. Majerski

The Economic Integration of Immigrants: Social Networks, Social Capital, and the Impact of Gender

Melissa A. Milkie

You Must Work Hard: Changes in U.S. Adults’ Values for Children 1986-2012

Jean-Francois Nault

Education, Religion, and Identity in French Ontario: A Case Study of French-language Catholic School Choice

Merin Oleschuk; Blair Wheaton

The Relevance of Women’s Income on Household Gender Inequality Across Class and National Context

David Nicholas Pettinicchio

Punctuated Incrementalism: How American Disability Rights Policymaking Sheds Light on Institutional Continuity and Change

 

Tuesday, Aug. 23

Katelin Albert

Making the Classroom, Making Sex Ed: A School-based Ethnography of Ontario’s Sexual Health Classrooms

Catherine Man Chuen Cheng

Constructing Immigrant Citizen-subjects in Exceptional States: Governmentality and Chinese Marriage Migrants in Taiwan and HongKong

Hae Yeon Choo

Maternal Guardians: Intimate Labor, Migration, and the Pursuit of Gendered Citizenship in South Korea

Bonnie H. Erickson

Multiple Pathways to Ethnic Social Capitals

  1. Omar Faruque

Confronting Capital: The Limits of Transnational Activism and Human Rights-based CSR Initiatives

Elise Maiolino

I’m not Male, not White, Want to Start There?: Identity Work in Toronto’s Mayoral Election

Jaime Nikolaou

Commemorating Morgentaler? Reflections on Movement Leadership, 25 Years Later

Kristie O’Neill

Traditional Beneficiaries: Trade Bans, Exemptions, and Morality Embodied in Diets

Matthew Parbst; Blair Wheaton

The Buffering Role of the Welfare State on SES differences in Depression

Luisa Farah Schwartzman

Brazilian Lives Matter, and what Race and the United States Got to do With it

Daniel Silver

Visual Social Thought

Laura Upenieks

Beyond America? Cross-national Contexts and Religious versus Secular Membership Effects on Self-rated Health

Barry Wellman

Older Adults Networking On and Off Digital Media: Initial Findings from the Fourth East York Study

Blair Wheaton; Patricia Joy Louie

A New Perspective on Maternal Employment and Child Mental Health: A Cautionary Tale

Tony Huiquan Zhang

Weather Effects on Social Movements: Evidence from Washington D.C. and New York City, 1960-1995

 

Alexandra Marin studying ties that change

ASA logo for websiteRelationships change over time and ties that were once significant sometimes fade or disappear from sight. Having once existed, however, these ties still hold the potential to re-emerge at a later time, mobilized like sleeper cells when circumstances or needs change.

This year, Professor Alexandra Marin received a grant from the American Sociological Association’s Fund for the Advancement of Ali Marin.jpgthe Discipline to study the particular ways in which personal relationships change. This fund supports “small, groundbreaking research initiatives…that (have) the potential for challenging the discipline, (and/or) stimulating new lines of research…”

This project asks whether people are really gone from a social network when researchers think they are gone. It posits that people play different functions in our social lives and might shift from one function to another. For instance, we might not share important details about our lives with some people who would, nonetheless, be there with a pot of soup if we were ever really in need. Circumstances might have drawn apart people who were once close; but circumstances could also draw them together again. Without thinking of the multiple dimensions of network ties, researchers can’t understand the full potential for social support that exists in all of our personal social networks.

Professor Marin is studying this question with an innovative research method that involves asking middle-aged adults to pull out their old photo albums and talk with an interviewer about their current relationships with the people from their past. Using albums helps to catch those people that we might just have forgotten about over time. Personal support networks can be incredibly important for living healthy, socially and economically engaged lives. Understanding the ways in which relationships can shift will help us understand the full potential that personal networks have in providing social support.

On the Benefits of Giving Advice

mschaferProfessor Markus Schafer and PhD student Laura Upeniek’s research highlights the benefits of giving advice for people in their 60s. This research,  funded by an Ontario Ministry  of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award, was recently highlighted on the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Science News Page

Older adults may benefit from giving advice: Unfortunately, opportunities to counsel grow scarce with age

Research by sociologists at the University of Toronto suggests that feeling useful is a key part of a life well-lived and this is especially so for seniors who are living longer than ever before.

Their study shows that individuals in their 60s who give advice to a broad range of people including family members, friends, and neighbours tend to see their lives as especially meaningful, compared to those with fewer advice-giving opportunities. The research, which compared adults in their 20s through 70s, appears in the March issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

“This association between giving advice and finding meaning in life is not evident in other age groups,” said Markus Schafer, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and lead author of the study.

Unfortunately, the later years  when people would most benefit from being a sage is also a time when they have fewer opportunities to dispense advice, and to less-diverse types of people.

“Just when giving advice seems to be most important, opportunities for doing so seem to wane”

“The findings suggest that the developmental demands of late midlife, particularly the desire to contribute to the welfare of others and the fear of feeling ‘stagnant’, are not well aligned with the social and demographic realities of this stage of many people’s lives,” he said. “Just when giving advice seems to be most important, opportunities for doing so seem to wane.”

The study, titled “The Age-Graded Nature of Advice: Distributional Patterns and Implications for Life Meaning,” relies on a representative sample of 2,583 U.S. adults.

Schafer and U of T PhD student Laura Upenieks, co-author of the study, found that 21 per cent of people in their 60s and 27 per cent of people 70 or older reported giving advice to no one in the previous year. By comparison, only about 10 per cent of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s said they gave no advice in the past year.

“We tend to think that the ideal mentor or advice-giver is someone who has a lot of life experience,” Schafer said. “However, compared to their younger counterparts, older adults occupy fewer social roles, are less socially active, and interact with a more restricted range of people.

“So, while the average 65-year-old may well have more wisdom than the average 30-year-old, the latter typically has more opportunity for actually dispensing advice.”

It matters to matter

Put another way, the study suggests that it matters to matter. Some scholars have argued that mattering supports the idea that it is important to feel that one is meaningful, consequential and can have influence on other people in various ways, including by providing advice. It is this feeling of mattering that seems to be most under threat during late-middle age when many people retire and enter the “empty nest” phase of life, according to Schafer.

Such research is particularly relevant given demographics: in 2015, for the first time, more Canadians were 65 years of age and older than were younger than 15 years of age, and the trend is only set to increase…

Full Article

Health and Social Networks among Older Adults

mschaferSocial networks have a powerful impact on well-being — an impact that only increases with age. Changes in health status in old age, however, can limit older adults’ ability to maintain a broad and supportive pool of social resources.

Professor Markus Schafer’s new research program, recently funded by the Province of Ontario’s Early Research Award program, seeks to understand how various aspects of older adults’ social networks shape their health and how different facets of physical and mental health shape different properties of their social networks. Though global in scope, the project also gives special attention to how social networks can help older adults in Toronto retain a high quality of life.

Professor Schafer came to the University of Toronto in 2011 and has used the time since then to establish himself as an expert in social networks, health and the life course. The Early Researcher Award provides Schafer with funding to support his team of graduate students as he and they seek to analyze the complicated ways in which social and physical contexts interact with both health and social connectedness.

Schafer and his students are tackling the question with a two-pronged strategy. First, they are conducting analyses on data from a number of excellent North American surveys that span many years and countries. These data will show them how networks and health interact with contexts over time in a wide variety of contexts.

To understand the processes in more local, fine-grained detail, the team will also select 9-12 neighbourhoods in the city of Toronto where they will find seniors and conduct interviews with them. These interviews will probe deeper into the experiences and personal understandings of health, social networks and contextual factors than can be done through a study of large-scale survey data.