Research Findings

Are lesbian, gay and bisexual people underrepresented in workplace authority?

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June 15, 2023

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people across the globe experience discrimination which leads to severe inequalities across life domains and especially in the labor market. In a German study about 30 percent of the LGB respondents report having experienced discrimination in their work life over the past two years. In addition, various studies show that gay and bisexual men earn less than heterosexual men and that occupational segregation and hiring decisions based on sexual orientation lead to inequalities in the labor market.

The gender pay gap and the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and workplace authority are highly discussed and well-researched topics that received more and more attention in the last decades. In this context, results have shown that workplace authority – defined as control over the work process of others – is associated with higher earnings, status and psychological rewards (e.g., messages of worth and esteem). Recent research suggests that unequal access to workplace authority can shape further inequality. However, there is so far little empirical evidence about the connection between sexual orientation and workplace authority.

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Research Findings

Women’s entry into authority positions alone is not sufficient for achieving gender equality


June 8, 2023

Women are significantly underrepresented in positions of workplace authority and power across the globe. Improving women’s representation in authority jobs has become an important goal for many organizations and governments striving toward gender equality in the workplace. Firms are increasingly adopting policies to increase diversity at all levels of management and some governments have introduced legislation requiring a set quota of representation of women in corporate boards.

Although undoubtedly an important direction, my recent research in Gender & Society shows that women’s entry into authority positions alone is not sufficient for achieving gender equality.

In my research, I ask a straightforward yet underexplored question: how do the jobs and experiences of women and men compare once they have positions with authority?

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Research Findings

How civic capacity gets urban social innovations started


June 1, 2023

After President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords, several hundred mayors signed national and global treaties announcing their commitments to “step up and do more,” as a senior official of the City of New York told me in a poorly lit room in 2017. Cities were rushing to the forefront of adopting practices and policies to address contemporary social and environmental problems, such as climate change.

What the general enthusiasm masked is significant variation in the extent and speed at which cities adopt these innovations. The We’re Still in Campaign, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, actively pursued mayors of all colors to join the movement. But even with mayoral and philanthropic support, many cities have refrained from taking drastic action to protect the environment.

This variation reflects a general problem, frequently observed when it comes to local initiatives about infrastructure for electric vehicles, gender-neutral bathrooms, reigning in police violence, or even the desegregation of schools. Some cities are quick to transition to new ways of doing things, while others are slow to respond or do not adopt such social innovations. A recent study of the energy transition in US cities shines a new light on the origins of such disparities.

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Research Findings

When medicine becomes a drug: treatment and punishment of prescription drug “abuse”


May 25, 2023

In 1980, The World Health Organization declared “freedom from pain” to be a universal human right. Pharmaceutical companies, particularly in the US, capitalized upon this promise, offering patients chemical solutions to physical, emotional, and social problems. This effort proved successful. Between 2015 and 2016, almost half (45.8%) of the U.S. population had used a prescription drug in the past 30 days. Individuals have increasingly learned to cope with social problems with medical technologies such as prescription drugs.

And yet, those who use prescription drugs without a doctor’s oversight—nonmedically—run the risk of facing severe consequences, such as being labeled an addict and/or a criminal. These labels result in institutional punishment and control, including incarceration.

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Research Findings

How does race, gender, and sexuality shape the murder of transgender people in the United States?


May 18, 2023

Many people believe that transphobia is the only cause of violence experienced by transgender people. If that was true, all transgender people would be at equal risk of experiencing violence at all times. However, there are actually distinct patterns in this violence related to gender, race, and sexuality. These social systems interact in ways that increase the risk of violence for certain transgender people, while decreasing it for others. Identifying these patterns is vital to developing effective policies and practices to prevent it.

Until recently, violence against transgender people was extremely understudied, reducing our ability to effectively recognize factors shaping this violence. To address part of this knowledge gap, I used an innovative method to create an original dataset of all the known murders of transgender people in the United States during the 30-year period between 1990 and 2019. The first of its kind, this dataset is comprised of information gathered from activist, mainstream news, and government sources.

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Research Findings

A golden exploitation: money that the super-rich give to their domestics


May 4, 2023

Domesticity is the foundation of the ability of the super-rich to ensure their social and economic reproduction. By delegating domestic and parental tasks, they can devote themselves fully to their work, leisure and rest.

But how do they manage to find people willing to serve them daily?

I answer this question in a recent article written from my research about full-time domesticity of multi-millionaires. Far from being an obsolete job, far from the clichés that reduce it to slavery, domesticity of the ultra-rich is based on ambivalent social relations of “golden exploitation”. What is it about?

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Research Findings

Why do economically marginalized Latinas go to college?

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April 20, 2023

Many of us in higher education have taken notice of the shifts in student demographics, including the rising number of Latinas enrolled in 4-year institutions. For students from poor and working-class backgrounds, college is a vital route to obtain socio-economical mobility. In addition to that central reason why Latinas attend college, other social forces also shape their desire to do this—and, more particularly, their decision to move outside of their families’ homes to pursue higher education.

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Research Findings

Some warm bodies: How boomtowns reproduce worker inequality


April 13, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot about work. The figure of the essential worker, for example, has keenly illuminated how categories such as race, gender, education, and (dis)ability shape and maintain our work opportunities and burdens. Similarly, and through what many have called “the great resignation,” we’ve observed that more than a few US workers are reimagining the relationship between formal wage labor and their physical and emotional well-being. Workers are inviting us to learn (more) about how work and money—in a neoliberal and hypercapitalist economy—do and don’t align with states of flourishing.

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Research Findings

Debt, Discipline, and the Future of Strike Activity


March 30, 2023

In recent years, studies on the financialisation of society – the rising impact of financial institutions and motives over the decisions and strategies of individuals and non-financial corporations – have been increasing.

Sociologists of work have been particularly concerned about the shareholder value orientation-labour process nexus. The main argument here is that shareholder pressures have been inducing the managers of non-financial firms to borrow and buy back their own company’s shares to maximise dividends. Then these rising financial payments lead to direct reductions in wages and the extensive use of casualised workers to improve the firm’s balance sheets. Yet, the relationship between the financialisation of households in the form of personal indebtedness and their behaviour at the workplace has been a largely unexplored area.

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New book

Resisting racializing surveillance through art


March 23, 2023

Surveillance is everywhere these days, but its punitive impacts are experienced unevenly. Police patrol minoritized communities, algorithms discriminate against people of color, borders screen out migrants and refugees, and identification systems mislabel gender nonconforming individuals.

Growing concern over surveillance has spawned many colorful forms of resistance. In my recent book, Crisis Vision: Race and the Cultural Production of Surveillance, I analyze dozens of resistance artworks that seek to interrupt surveillance abuses.

By paying attention to the work of artists, I argue that we can learn about the deeper logics of surveillance and become more reflexive about our responses.

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