Ph.Ds on the Market
Sociology Ph.D.s on the job market:
Laura R. Ford, J.D.
In my dissertation and in prior publications, I have proposed a thesis of semantic legal ordering to explain how formal law makes a difference in social relationships. My interest in the causal effects of formal law has been shaped by my background as a practicing attorney in public securities and transactional law. While working as an attorney on financial transactions, I saw how the language used in contracts and related documents, as interpreted by lawyers, impacted the negotiations of executives. Similarly, during the two years that I studied intellectual property ("IP") law at University of Washington, I became impressed with the importance of the fact that copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets are categorized as property under U.S. law. As a sociologist, I want to help show how formal law contributes to socially-significant developments in civil society and in the economy, like the emergence and expansion of IP.
My thesis of semantic legal ordering describes the interpretive social process through which legal doctrine — legal categories and their systemic relationships, as transmitted through legal traditions — influences official decision-making with respect to particular social conflicts and problems. My dissertation shows how legal doctrine made a difference at four key stages in the emergence and expansion of intellectual property: (1) in the shift from privilege to property, which occurred in tandem with the emergence of the nation-state, (2) in the "constitutionalization" of IP in the United States, (3) in the "contractualization" of IP in the United States, and (4) in the "internationalization" of IP. At each of these four stages, I use counterfactual cases (based on actual, historical cases) to show how semantic legal ordering could have gone differently, producing a very different outcome with respect to IP. In the final chapter of my dissertation, I review the extent to which IP has expanded in social and economic significance, arguing that sociologists should care about IP, not only because it is changing universities and impacting innovation, but also because it is entering into households and spreading across the globe to an unprecedented degree.
Dissertation: Semantic Legal Ordering and Intellectual Property: A Sociological Study in the Formulation and Effects of Legal Doctrine
Committee: Richard Swedberg (chair), Mabel Berezin, Stephen L. Morgan
Matthew D. Hoffberg
Dissertation: When the Thought Counts: The Causes and Consequences of Perceived Motives in Favor Exchange.
Committee: Michael Macy (chair), Ed Lawler, Sandra Spataro, David Strang
In my dissertation, I engage the question of how sub-Saharan Africa individuals¹ perceptions of wellbeing are shaped by various forms of inequality. In the first half of my dissertation, I match Afrobarometer data and Demographic and Health Survey data for 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Using techniques including multiple imputation, factor analysis, and ordinal logistic regression estimation, I model the impacts of structural factors, such as health care use rates, school enrollment rates, and security, and reference group asset and consumption levels on subjective wellbeing. Building on these findings, in the second half of my dissertation, I use a unique dataset from four communities in Ghana to model wellbeing¹s relationship to the average expenditure of three differently constructed ³reference² groups: spatial reference groups, homophily reference groups, and ego-centric networks. I test whether the phenomenon of relative deprivation found in developed countries holds in Ghana and whether these findings vary across reference group constructions. My dissertation research thus lays the groundwork for future research developing more nuanced explanations of how perceptions of wellbeing influence the decisions people make, particularly related to participation in development, politic action, and risk taking.
Committee: Stephen Morgan (chair), Christopher Barrett, Paromita Sanyal
Christin L. Munsch
My research combines my interests in gender, identity and social psychology. My dissertation examines how gender identity influences a range of social behaviors. For example, sexual promiscuity, homophobia, criminality, and violence are overwhelmingly male phenomena. Why? Drawing on social identity theory and interactional theories of gender, three methodologically diverse studies demonstrate that under gender identity threat men are likely to engage in compensatory behaviors culturally associated with masculinity. Study 1 uses panel data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) to examine the role of economic dependency on infidelity. I find that married men who are economically dependent on their wives are more likely to engage in infidelity. Economic dependence does not impact the likelihood of engaging in infidelity for women. Study 2 experimentally manipulates gender identity threat and examines its impact on gender violence. I am currently in the data collection phase of this study. Study 3 is a series of 45-indepth, semi-structured interviews with heterosexual, undergraduate men that seeks to better understand the diverse ways young men define their gender identity, experience threats to their gender identity, and respond to gender identity threats. Each of these studies highlight specific mechanisms that lead to gendered behaviors as opposed to characteristics of individuals or the environment.
I am also conducting research that examines the forces that effect perceptions of gender identity and expression. For example, in a recently published paper (with Beth Hirsh, University of British Columbia), I examine the institutional and situational factors that lead to gender identity and expression nondiscrimination policy adoption in the Fortune 500. In another project (with Ali Fogarty, Stanford University) I examine how transgendered persons and transgendered issues are portrayed in the mainstream news media and how has this presentation has changed over the last 20 years as medical, scientific, cultural and legal advances have been made.
Dissertation: Gender Identity Threat and Compensation: An Interactional Theory of Gendered Behavior
Committee: Shelley J. Correll and Elizabeth Hirsh (co-chairs), Edward J. Lawler, Lindy Williams
Jared L. Peifer