Happy Friday, sociologists! It is finals week here at WIP and so, like a student stumbling in with fifteen minutes left in the exam, our #FridayRoundup is a bit belated today. We hope you have a great weekend!

 

Sexual Harassment

 

Net Neutrality

 

This Week in Washington

 

Race and Politics

 

In the Discipline

 

On Campus

Woman soldierby Stephanie Bonnes

In the recent news several instances of sexual harassment and sexual abuse have been brought to light. These cases of sexual abuse highlight how powerful men, such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer can use their positions to exploit, harass, and cause harm to others.

There has been less focus on how these individuals were made powerful and protected by institutions that both enabled them to harass and gave them the tools through which they could cause harm. In my research, I explore the intersection between bureaucracy and harassment in the context of the United States military.

Earlier this year “Marines United” was identified as a closed Facebook group where over 30,000 servicemen shared nude photos of servicewomen. Many of the comments following the identification of “Marines United” asked whether the military had policies and regulations as well as avenues to prosecute servicemembers for online activities. We often understand policies, rules, and regulations as ways to prevent, address, and punish those who might perpetrate sexual harassment and abuse.

However, my research shows that it is also important to recognize the discretionary power that individuals have in interpreting, carrying out, and implementing organizational rules, policies, and regulations. The interplay between organizational polices, workplace climate, and individuals in power can lead to sexual abuse in the workplace.

In a recently published article, I use the term “bureaucratic harassment” to explain workplace harassment where bureaucracy is both the tool that perpetrators use to harass, as well as their source of power over others in the organization.

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Today we’ve adding a new element to our Friday news roundups – “The Lede”. We’ll use this space to feature reporting along with social science research on a topic that has been in the news. We hope you find it interesting!

 

The Lede – Race, Childbirth, and Mortality

ProPublica and NPR have been reporting on maternal mortality all year. We’ve linked to some of their major stories below along with some related reporting from Vox.com, which published the video embedded above on race and childbirth. We’ve also linked to some articles on poor birth outcomes more generally in the U.S.

 

 

Taxes in America

 

At Work

 

Thinking About “Science”

 

On Campus

Graduation

by Alice Sullivan

How is socio-economic advantage and disadvantage passed down from parent to child? This is a central question for sociologists and policymakers alike. No one denies the vital role that education plays in this process. However, sociologists have long argued that there is a persistent ‘direct effect of social origins’ on occupational attainment which cannot be accounted for by education. This residual direct effect of social origins on occupational destinations has acquired the status of a stylized fact within sociology, sometimes simply referred to as ‘DESO’.

Our recent study challenges the consensus on this issue. We ask, could the direct effect of social origins be an artefact of using overly crude measures of education?

If you want to get a top social class position, it certainly helps to be a university graduate.  But simply having a degree may not be enough. It may also matter what subject your degree is in, and whether you attended a prestigious university. Yet most studies of social mobility have not accounted for these educational distinctions, which are likely to matter for access to top jobs nowadays.

We set out to provide a refined account of the educational pathways from origins to destinations, using data from a nationally representative sample of over 17,000 people born in Britain in 1970, using the 1970 British Cohort Study. The BCS70 is longitudinal, meaning that the same group of people have been followed up over time. The BCS70 study members have been followed from birth, when their parents were interviewed, to mid-life. The study is ongoing, and the cohort members are interviewed every few years.

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Graduate students protest changes to U.S. tax laws at the University of Southern California (via LA Times)

 

Happy Friday (and welcome back to those of you in U.S. who had holiday break last week!). Here is a collection of what we’ve been reading this week.

 

Cut, Cut, Cut

 

Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, New Jobs, Old Jobs

 

Gun Violence in America

 

The Far Right

 

On Campus

munoz

by Carolina Bank Muñoz

“Desde que llegó Walmart el almuerzo ha estado malo. Antes con DYS nos daban una entrada, plato fuerte, y postre. Ahora escasamente nos dan el plato fuerte. Pore so estuvimos en paro un rato y ahora tenemos mejor comida.” Lorena (Walmart worker)

“Since Walmart arrived [In Chile] lunch has been bad. Before, with D&S, they used to give us an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. Now they barely give us a main dish. That’s why we had a job action and now the food has once again improved.” Lorena (Walmart Worker)

To a U.S. audience, it might seem strange that a worker would be complaining about the food they receive in a workplace, especially if that workplace is Walmart. Yet in Chile, large employers like Walmart are required by law to provide workers with lunch or dinner, depending on their shifts. The law however does not specify what kind of meals they have to provide.

Changes to the quality and quantity of food were experienced by workers as a lack of respect. The firm that Walmart bought in 2009, D&S provided higher quality food, and more options. Walmart, in its global quest to reduce costs, tried to offer poorer quality food and less of it, but their strategy backlashed – workers walked out.

How is it that Walmart workers in Chile are so emboldened, especially in contrast to Walmart workers in the U.S. who experience increasingly precarious employment?

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Happy Friday! Since next week is the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., we’ll be on hiatus. See you all in December!

 

Transitioning

 

Sexual Harassment

 

Divided America

On Campus