Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jobs with a Sociology Major

The following is not a job for which a BA in sociology would qualify you, but I thought it'd be useful to pass it along to supplement your mental database of sociology related jobs. The field of online content creation is a growing one, and will, I suspect, play a larger and larger role in higher education over time (for better or worse, one can add).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The New Demography of American Motherhood

A recent report, "The New Demography of American Motherhood," by Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center "examines the changing demographic characteristics of U.S. mothers by comparing women who gave birth in 2008 with those who gave birth in 1990. It is based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau. It also presents results of a nationwide Pew Research Center survey that asked a range of questions about parenthood."

"Among the key findings of this report:
  • "Age: Mothers of newborns are older now than their counterparts were two decades ago. In 1990, teens had a higher share of all births (13%) than did women ages 35 and older (9%). In 2008, the reverse was true -- 10% of births were to teens, compared with 14% to women ages 35 and older. Each race and ethnic group had a higher share of mothers of newborns in 2008 who are ages 35 and older, and a lower share who are teens, than in 1990.
  • "Marital Status: A record four-in-ten births (41%) were to unmarried women in 2008, including most births to women in their early 20s. In 1990, 28% of births were to unmarried women. The unmarried-mother share of births has increased most sharply for whites and Hispanics, although the highest share is for black women.
  • "Race and Ethnicity: White women made up 53% of mothers of newborns in 2008, down from 65% in 1990. The share of births to Hispanic women has grown dramatically, to one-in-four.
  • "Education: Most mothers of newborns (54%) had at least some college education in 2006, an increase from 41% in 1990. Among mothers of newborns who were ages 35 and older, 71% had at least some college education.
  • "Explaining the Trends: All the trends cited above reflect a complex mix of demographic and behavioral factors. For example, the higher share of college-educated mothers stems both from their rising birth rates and from women's increasing educational attainment. The rise in births to unmarried women reflects both their rising birth rates and the shrinking share of adults who are married.
  • "Attitudes about Parenthood: When asked why they decided to have their first (or only) child, the overwhelming majority of parents (87%) answer, 'The joy of having children.' But nearly half (47%) also say, 'There wasn't a reason; it just happened.'"
Read Online Report or download PDF of full report.
Publish Post

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How Does "Pay It Forward" Happen?

A little bit of positive social science to start the summer. Below you can watch a lecture given at the meeting of the American Sociological Association, 2008, on the topic of generalized exchange. An example of the nexus of sociology (e.g., Simmel on exchange and gratitude, social control), anthropology (e.g., norms of reciprocity, altruism), and economics (e.g., laboratory experiments using games).

How Pay it Forward Happens? from sslevine on Vimeo.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What's Hot: Sociology of Surveillance and Security

A part of our ongoing series of "what's out there" posts...

Postdoctoral Fellowship on Surveillance and Security
"Exploring U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fusion Centers."

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

We are seeking a postdoctoral-level scholar for a research project on the social, legal, and technical dimensions of DHS "fusion centers." This project will document and evaluate the information sharing practices of fusion centers, with a focus on variations in data sharing across fusion centers. The primary researchers on this project are Torin Monahan (Vanderbilt University) and Priscilla Regan (George Mason University). This will be a one-year position beginning this summer, with the possibility of renewal for a second year.

Applicants should have familiarity with the field of surveillance studies and possess a Ph.D. in a relevant social science field (e.g., sociology, science and technology studies, criminology, anthropology, communication, political science, or law and society). Applicants must have advanced methodological expertise in interviewing and participant observation, excellent writing skills, and motivation to take initiative to ensure the success of the project. The ideal applicant will have demonstrated experience in related research and a record of publishing research results. The postdoctoral fellow will take the lead on collecting and analyzing data, writing articles and reports, and presenting findings at conferences. Periodic out-of-state travel will be required for data collection.

The beginning salary for this full-time position will be $39,360 (plus health benefits). The fellow will be expected to be in residence in Nashville, Tennessee, for the duration of the position and be an active colleague at Vanderbilt University.

This fellowship is made possible through a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. The research will contribute to an international research project called "The New Transparency," which is facilitating multi-national and cross-cultural comparisons of the global security industry.

Torin Monahan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Human & Organizational Development
Associate Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University
NEW BOOK: Surveillance in the Time of Insecurity

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Conference Streaming Live this Thursday


The Annual Journal of Information Technology and Politics (JITP) thematic conference JITP 2010 will stream live this Thursday and Friday, May 6 & 7. The live stream is sponsored by and there will be link available at the conference Web site. The full program is online at:

Social Life of Methods PhD Studentship

Postgraduate Research Students
Project: The Social Life of Methods
Faculty of Social Sciences, the Open University in Milton Keynes
Start date: 1 October 2010
Ref RD/MB/05
Salary: ?13,290 p.a.

The Department of Sociology invites applications for a University-funded PhD studentship for three years commencing October 2010.

The Social Life of Methods (SLOM) is an interdisciplinary programme of research based in the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). Using theoretical ideas from science and technology studies (STS), anthropology, political economy and cultural sociology, SLOM analyses research methods, not simply as benign ?tools?, but as performative agents of the social and of different kinds of social and cultural change

Applicants are particularly welcome from students who wish to pursue research in any of the following broadly-defined areas:

Methods as Devices, Objects or Technologies
Visual Methods
Methodological Challenges of Digital Data
Methods and Social Transformation/Change

For informal enquiries contact Dr Mark Banks More specific details about research in the Faculty and Department can be found on the Faculty?s website: and the CRESC website;

For detailed information and how to apply go to and, or email quoting the reference number RD/MB/05. Closing date: 5pm on 27th May 2010, interviews will be held in Milton Keynes in mid June 2010.

Further particulars are available in large print, disk or audiotape (minicom 01908 654901).

We promote diversity in employment and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales, and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).