ELLY FIELD - How the Policy-Based Link Between Neighborhoods and Schools Affects Racial Segregation Dynamics
Elizabeth Bruch (Chair)
Jeffrey Morenoff (Sociology & Public Policy)
Fabian Pfeffer (Sociology)
Robert Manduca (Sociology)
Joffre Swait (Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management)
I am a quantitative sociologist and demographer broadly focused on racial and economic inequality. I expect to complete my Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan in May 2024. My research agenda focuses on two major areas. First, I study how the structural link between schools and neighborhoods created by school district policies shapes racial segregation dynamics. In a first-authored paper which has received a revise and resubmit decision at the American Journal of Sociology, I propose and test a general theory of how schools and neighborhoods experience racial composition change, termed “coupled tipping.” My dissertation expands this work to trace the individual-, neighborhood-, and school district-level processes that shape these dynamics of change. Through an original stated choice survey experiment, I show how parents’ preferences for schools and neighborhoods are deeply intertwined and explore how these interrelated preferences will shape residential and school segregation based on parents’ decisions. Then, using a novel data set capturing school and neighborhood racial compositions across time, I examine how school district choice policies, urban geographies, and race shape the dynamics of school and neighborhood change.
My second research area focuses on poverty and material hardship. My sole-authored paper, published in Demography, captures how the unmet needs of poverty, or material hardship, harm women’s ability to consistently use reliable methods of contraception. In a co-authored working paper, I examine how the decline of unions has combined with deindustrialization and the rise of the service industry to increase workers’ risk of earning poverty-level wages.
My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development Graduate Fellowship, and the American Sociological Association/NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.
More information and my CV are available on my website: www.ellymfield.com.
MIRIAM GLECKMAN-KRUT - The Rainbow Nation and The Gays it Excludes: LGBTI refugees living in a modern South Africa
Elizabeth A. Armstrong (Chair)
Jaeeun Kim (Sociology)
Sandra Levitsky (Sociology)
Adam Ashforth (African Studies)
Miriam Gleckman-Krut (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan, where she expects to graduate in April 2024. Her work engages neo-institutional theory, the sociology of law, global and colonial fields theory, and the sociology of gender and sexuality. Her dissertation and book project, "The Rainbow Nation and the Gays it Excludes," explores postcolonial statecraft in the context of increasingly polarized contemporary global politics around liberalism, migration, and gay rights. She has also explored her research and teaching interests through collaborative projects on the sociological construction of knowledge on sexual violence, on sexual assault on college campuses, and on German efforts to evade responsibility for its colonial genocide (1904-1908).
The dissertation proposes a theory of culturally hybrid locations within world society. Hybrid locations emerge in states that adhere to world society’s liberal trends but are constrained by political and economic features contextualizing illiberalism globally. The bureaucrats of such a state draw on a fusion of liberal and illiberal cultural scripts in their work. This theorizing grows from an analysis of post-apartheid South African refugee status adjudications issued to people who applied based on persecution related to sexual orientation. Gleckman-Krut finds that bureaucrats use (il)liberal cultural scripts on homosexuality to rationalize denying refugee status on these grounds, and thus to routinize the decoupling of its refugee policy. Bureaucrats also spread cultural scripts to refugee applicants, creating a local nexus of what homosexuality legitimately looks like to people seeking citizenship resources from this state. She argues that global field dynamics are a mechanism of world culture’s spread to bureaucrats in disadvantaged states, and in the process, reveal the role bureaucrats play in this century’s divisive sociocultural struggles over gay rights.
Miriam's work has been supported by the American Sociological Association's Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, by the Social Science Research Council's International Dissertation Research Fellowship, by four programs at Barnard College, and by eleven programs at the University of Michigan. Her original research has been published in the American Review of Sociology (2018), Contexts (2022), the New York Times (2016, 2021), and in the first edited volume on Queer & Trans Displacements to and from East Africa (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
More information is available on her website: https://miriamgleckmankrut.weebly.com/
CHELLE JONES – Jigsaw Migration: How Mixed Status LGBTQ Families (Re)Assemble their Fragmented Citizenship
Jaeeun Kim (Co-Chair)
Barbara Anderson (Co-Chair)
Erin Cech (Sociology)
Fatma Müge Göçek (Sociology)
Gayle Rubin (Anthropology)
Interest Areas: sexuality, sex/gender, migration, urban sociology
Methodologies: ethnographic and qualitative interview
Chelle Jones (they/them) studies gender and sexuality and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan with certificates in LGBTQ Studies and in Teaching. Jones’ research agenda focuses on how the intersection of gender and sexuality with other statuses such as national origin, class, and race influences the life trajectories of LGBTQ migrants in South Korea. Much of the literature on queer migration has attempted to isolate the effects of sexuality on migration in order to theorize how migration processes affect LGBTQ people. However, this approach obscures important insights offered by an intersectional perspective attentive to sexuality, gender, race, class, and national origin. Jones’ dissertation examines how trans, gender nonconforming, and lesbian, bisexual and queer women (LBTQ) skilled labor migrants in South Korea negotiate different social and policy regimes governing sexual minority and migrant’s rights, as they pursue employment and/or maintain mixed citizenship relationships abroad.
Jones shows that persistent cisheteronormativity in both migration and family reunification policies constrains LBTQ families unable to achieve full legal recognition even after they marry legally in one country. Jones argues that Korea proves to be a desirable destination for LBTQ migrants because its skilled labor recruitment policies make it accessible, whereas cisheteronormative and socioeconomic discrimination, or strict immigration limits make other desired destinations with better legal protections for LGBTQ people inaccessible. Compared to ‘LGBTQ-friendly’ destinations in the West, Korea’s comparatively low bar for ‘skilled’ labor migration enables college educated LBTQ people to stay together even without legal recognition and accumulate resources to settle in their desired destinations in the future. Furthermore, because family migration regimes have long constructed women as dependent on a male breadwinner, gender compounds sexuality- and class-based inequalities for LBTQ families.
Jones won Fulbright and other grants to spend 16 months studying South Korea’s queer communities. Jones has published in International Migration Review, the Journal of Lesbian Studies, and is submitting work to Gender and Society.
SADIYAH MALCOLM – ‘Yuh Tink Yah Big Ooman?’: Power, Violence, and the Transition to Adulthood in Kingston, Jamaica
Fatma Gocek, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Dissertation Chair
Karin Martin, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, University of Michigan
Paige Sweet, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, University of Michigan
Tiffany C. Fryer, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Cognate Member
Shani Roper, Ph.D., Curator, UWI Museum, University of the West Indies, Special Member
My primary teaching and research interests are in Black girlhoods, critical ethnography, decolonial approaches to social research, gender and sexuality, qualitative methods, sociology, and Black studies/Black study. In my dissertation research, I use critical ethnography, focus group data, and interviews to witness and understand how Black girls attending high school in Kingston, Jamaica negotiate the transition to adulthood along the backdrop of Jamaica's contested sociopolitical histories and contemporary social violence. More broadly, my dissertation investigates the collateral consequences of historical and contemporary violence on everyday social life in independent Jamaica, by attending to the enduring impacts of colonialism and other iterations of political violence, as well as the persistence of colorism(racism), classism, sexism, and gender-based violence. I situate the capital city of Kingston, Jamaica amidst discourse on race, sexuality, agency, and age, specifically discussing the racist colonial legacies of morality, reproductive coercion, social control, and performance, and how these definitions circumscribe the lives of my interlocutors.
Entitled “‘Yuh Tink Yah Big Ooman?’: Power, Violence, and the Transition to Adulthood in Kingston, Jamaica'', my dissertation explores the intersections of power, empire and coloniality, performance, gender(ed) socialization, and violence. The study pays special attention to how girls negotiate their agency at home, in school, and in their communities, including how they resist and push back against negative public perceptions and respectability discourses concerning their behaviors, activities, and their bodies. The study employs 26 months of critical ethnography, which includes 42 interviews across public, private and NGO sectors, as well as focus groups and surveys from 79 high school girls (ages 14- 19 years old) across nine local high schools. It asks the central question: How do Black girls narrate their coming of age in Kingston, Jamaica? I argue that local (interactive) factors intersect with communal, national, and global processes to shape not only the duration but also the content and form of paths leading from Black girlhood to adulthood.
JEN TRIPLETT - Shaping Subjectivities and Articulating Solidarity in Revolutionary Cuba
Robert Jansen (chair)
Dan Slater (political science)
My research is situated at the intersection of politics and culture. Using comparative-historical methods and qualitative textual analysis, I investigate how top-down political projects that link together, or “articulate,” disparate social groups into a unifying political identity are facilitated or constrained by the cultural dynamics of boundary-making, identity work, and subject formation that such projects entail. Because articulatory projects contribute to forming a reliable base of legitimacy and support, they matter greatly for regime consolidation and durability. I am particularly interested in such attempts at political identity-making by revolutionary movements in twentieth-century Latin America.
In my masters-level research on post-revolutionary Cuba, I found that cultural norms and attitudes about gender constrained leaders’ ability to incorporate women into political and economic life in ways that challenged pre-revolutionary notions of appropriate femininity. My article outlining these findings was published in the American Sociological Review and received the Reinhard Bendix Student Paper Award from the Comparative Historical Sociology Section of ASA and the Best Graduate Student Paper Award from the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan. I also found, through the course of that investigation, that revolutionary elites leveraged text, images, and text-image combinations in particular ways within their ideological messaging directed at women. I thus wrote a second article (currently under R&R at Qualitative Sociology) detailing the distinctions I identified between telling, showing, and teaching in revolutionary discourse.
Having established the operation of cultural constraints on projects of political articulation, I turned (in my dissertation and first book project) to examining how such constraints change over time and are refracted through key events. This event-driven approach illuminates how struggles to survive moments of intense crisis condition leaders’ attempts to articulate a solidaristic identity and shape new subjects. In analyzing approximately 30,000 pages of political speeches and print media from the post-revolutionary era in Cuba (1959-1971), I find that critical events do not delay or impede articulatory projects as we might expect. Rather, leaders intensify these efforts during moments of crisis and tailor them to the specific features of the events. These findings suggest that articulatory projects are a tool for navigating crises and therefore play an important role in regime consolidation more broadly.
PINAR USTEL - Coming off Psychiatric Medications: Knowledge, Selfhood, and Care in Withdrawal Support Groups
Roi Livne (Sociology, Co-Chair)
Karen Staller (Social Work, Co-Chair)
Renee Anspach (Sociology)
Shanna Kattari (Social Work)
Rachel Best (Sociology)
Pinar Ustel is a doctoral candidate in the Joint Program in Social Work and Sociology. She received an MSW from the University of Michigan, an MA from Sabanci University, and a BA from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Pinar's research interests lie at the intersection of medical sociology, patient social movements, and digital cultures. Her dissertation explores critical aspects of patient experiences with psychiatric medications and the production of alternative pharmaceutical knowledge. For this project, Pinar conducted an extensive digital ethnography to study a patient group supporting mental health patients interested in coming off psychiatric medications. Through this work, she investigated why individuals seek help from other patients instead of healthcare professionals, how they establish expertise on medications, and how they construct narratives of self-transformation as they stop treatment. Her future research will focus on online communities' care practices, exploring topics such as "orthorexia nervosa" and youth engagement with therapeutic discourses.
As an educator, Pinar embraces a "high expectations, high support" framework, encouraging students to be creative, self-directed, and excited about the learning process. Her pedagogical approach emphasizes transparency in teaching, making students collaborators in their learning journey. She uses diverse classroom activities and offers various engagement opportunities to enlist student participation in diverse classrooms. Moreover, she personalizes the research and writing process, fostering an understanding that sociological research can be ignited by personal experiences and observations.
Pinar is interested in including students in her research projects on patient engagement and digital cultures. Her teaching philosophy centers on fostering an inclusive and engaging learning environment, encouraging participation, and building relationships of trust to support students' academic growth and success. She is prepared to teach classes on Introductory Sociology, Sociology of Health and Illness, Sociology of Mental Health, Families and Intimate Relationships, and Digital Culture.
MIRA VALE – Data Values: Moral Entrepreneurship in Digital Health
Mark Ackerman (School of Information)
Medical sociology, economic sociology, ethnography, technology, mental health, morality
Mira Vale is an economic sociologist, medical sociologist, and ethnographer. Her research investigates technological innovation and the transformation of expertise and professional values. Using the field of medicine as her empirical case, she studies how tools for medical research and care become a prism for professional debates, shape population health disparities, and provoke moral dilemmas. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Predoctoral Traineeship, the ASA/NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.
Mira’s dissertation examines the digital health industry, which adapts digital technology for health care and research. Although digital health has arisen at a time of backlash against the broader technology industry, digital data remains largely unregulated. Digital health researchers contend with questions about privacy, algorithmic bias, and the marketization of personal data. Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, Mira’s dissertation explores how digital health researchers tackle these questions in the absence of clear social or legal prescriptions. She argues medical researchers become what Howard Becker called “moral entrepreneurs,” people who wield social power to prescribe moral rules. Ultimately, her dissertation argues these rules are consequential decisions about what digital health focuses on and whom it serves. Amidst calls for an “ethics of AI,” Mira’s dissertation offers an empirical investigation of how powerful social actors are building the moral infrastructure for digital health technology. This project contributes to scholarship on how moral ideas are adjudicated amidst uncertainty and how digital technology markets affect social inequality.
Beyond Mira’s dissertation, she has published articles exploring various aspects of morality, health, and technology. All build on in-depth ethnographic research and interviews in diverse medical institutional settings. Her work has been published in Social Science & Medicine, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, among other venues.
JESSE YEH (he/him) – Crime Is Other People: Punitive Consciousness and the Racial Politics of Law-and-Order in Trump’s America
Alford A. Young, Jr. (Co-Chair; Sociology)
Ann C. Lin (Co-Chair; Public Policy & Political Science)
Sandra R. Levitsky (Sociology)
David Thacher (Public Policy & Urban Planning)
My research interest broadly encompasses race and immigration, crime and law, and politics and social movements. My core agenda for scholarly intervention is twofold: 1) inverting the focus and attending to how advantages associated with race, gender, class, and immigration status is produced, maintained, and challenged, especially in the legal and criminal justice systems and 2) explicating the microlevel social and cultural processes and mechanisms of meaning-making—that is, how do occurrences and experiences become understandings and beliefs—and their roles in upholding unequal power.
My dissertation draws upon 65 original interviews with a multiracial group of both liberal and conservative activists in two suburban Southern California counties and asks how they make sense of law-and-order politics, with a special focus upon “Build the Wall,” “Defund the Police,” and the January 6th Capitol attack. I make two conceptual advancements. 1) Extending the longstanding “legal consciousness” sociolegal scholarship, I argue the need to examine punitive consciousness, that is, the everyday understandings surrounding rule-breaking and punishment. Whereas legal consciousness is structured by how one understands the relation between the self and the state, I find that penal consciousness is structured by how one conceptualizes one’s social solidarity towards the lawbreaking other. 2) This dissertation builds out Du Bois’s theory of “the Veil” as a theory of how individuals form their understandings of the relationship between the self and others in a racialized society. I propose a taxonomy of three types of Veils—concealing, distorting, and projecting. I further posit that racialization itself, beyond physical, social, or symbolic distances, obstructs mutual understandings across race.