January 11, 2016

Ann Shola Orloff, Northwestern University

Farewell to Maternalism, Toward a Gender-Open Future? Transformations in Gendered Labor Policies and Feminist Politics, Sweden and the US, 1960s-2010s

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

From the hyper-capitalist US to social-democratic Sweden and beyond, to the varied systems of the rich capitalist democracies, systems of social provision and regulation -- my preferred term for what are often called “welfare states” -- increasingly promote maternal employment.  This is a striking departure in the character of both social policy and the gendered division of labor dating from at least the 1960s. In this talk, I attempt to theorize these changes, drawing on the literature on gender and states and my own analysis of gendered policy changes in the United States and Sweden over the last few decades. I draw on feminist state theory and recent historically-contextualized analyses of gendered state institutions inspired by recent theories of institutional change as multiple and uneven. I offer a sketch of changes in what I call gendered labor policies over the last half-century in the United States and Sweden to illustrate the processes of transformation in gendered states. I focus on the pivotal decades of the 1960s and 1970s, when events set in train the replacement of support to men’s breadwinning and women’s housewifery with backing to employment for all, and the distinctive institutional and political orientations of the contemporary United States and Sweden were solidified.  I argue that we should conceptualize this transformation as composed of two processes – a destructive one, which eliminates the policy and legal underpinnings for male breadwinner/female caregiver households, and a constructive one, which builds the supports for dual-earner households, contingently and variably linked to gender equality. 

January 25, 2016

Ruud Wouters, Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford Political Communications Lab

The Persuasive Power of Protest. How protest features affect the calculations of political elites

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

What makes protest powerful? Research on the impact of protest has mainly focused on contextual elements that boost the political influence of protest. Evidence on how features of protest events themselves shape perceptions of political elites is rare. This study presents results on the power of protest by means of an experiment conducted with Belgian political elites. In a survey-embedded video vignette experiment elites were exposed to manipulated television news items covering a single protest march. The claim of the demonstration was held constant (asylum seeker protest). Following Tilly’s well-known but never tested ‘WUNC‘-theory of protest impact, five features of the protest event were manipulated: the diversity, worthiness, unity, numerical strength, and commitment of the demonstrators. Results show that on top of  strong effects of elite predispositions, protest features affect elites’ perceptions—the salience attached to the protest issue, the position taken on the protest issue, and the intended action to be undertaken. Some of the five dWUNC-features matter more than others. The size of a protest event (numbers) and whether the protesters agree among themselves (unity) prove especially persuasive. Worthiness and commitment produce position and saliency effects respectively. In closing, we discuss the role of agency in social movement success.

February 1, 2016

Thomas Elliott, University of Arizona

Recruiting the News: A Topic Model and Discourse Network Analysis of Mainstream Newspaper Coverage of Homosexuality, 1950-2010

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

Research into the cultural consequences of social movements has largely focused on changes in public opinion, yet public opinion is a flawed measure of public perceptions of a social issue because it fails to capture the nuance of the public’s understanding of the issue. One way to pick up on this nuance would be to look at the public discussions happening around a social issue, analyzing the discourse generated from these discussions. In this paper, I present a method to analyze public discourse around a social issue at scale using techniques derived from big data and computational social science. Using a dataset consisting of articles mentioning homosexuality in three U.S. mainstream newspapers from 1950 to 2010, I analyze how mainstream newspaper coverage of homosexuality has changed since the Lavender Scare. Using both topic modeling and social network analytic techniques, I first show how the public issues related to homosexuality have wax and waned over time, and also how the connections between these issues have shifted. This analysis provides both a richer understanding of how public perceptions of homosexuality have changed and also presents future opportunities to explain when and why public perceptions of social problems change.

February 22, 2016

Aruna Ranganathan, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Co-sponsored with the Econ Sociology Workshop

The Artisan and His Audience: Identification with Work and Price-Setting in a Handicraft Cluster in Southern India

Time and Location: NOTE: Non-standard time! 4:30-6:00pm, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

Using ethnographic, experimental and survey data from an Indian handicraft cluster, this paper studies the conditions under which individuals who identify with their work sacrifice financial rewards in their economic decisions. I argue that the monetary value that individuals who identify with their work seek for their work-output depends on their audience: when these individuals encounter discerning audiences, who are knowledgeable about and appreciative of their work, they underemphasize financial gains; transactions with non-discerning audiences, however, result in a focus on monetary rewards. I further argue that the mechanism underlying this behavior is product attachment, where individuals who identify with their work develop affection for the output of their labor, thus preferring to transact with audiences who will take care of their products beyond the point of sale even if doing so results in lower payoffs. I substantiate this theory by demonstrating how handicraft artisans in India who identify with their work set prices for their products to different audiences. This paper contributes to our understanding of economic decision-making in the context of meaningful work by highlighting the moderating role of audiences and uncovering the mechanism of product attachment. 

February 29, 2016

Dan Wang, Columbia Business School

How Do Social Ties Affect Individual Influence in Group Decisions? Evidence from Laboratory and Field Experiments on Abstract Art and Wine Tasting

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

A team’s decision-making tends to reflect the differently weighted influence of its members. In particular, research on group dynamics has long established that individual members who hold preferences that are less commonly shared by other group members have less influence on a group’s decision-making outcome. However, to what extent is this relationship conditional on the presence of social ties between members (or lack thereof)? With results from a laboratory study and a field experiment, we show that the greater presence of social ties between group members weakens the influence of individual members who hold minority or distant preferences on a group’s decision-making outcome. In the laboratory study, we examine evaluations of abstract art, comparing groups of subjects who are 1) strangers, 2) friends, and 3) strangers among whom we introduced affective social ties. In the field experiment, we examine evaluations of wines based on blind tastings at a social event, comparing groups of participants with different levels social interconnectedness. Our work contributes to literature on both group decision-making and social networks, which has as yet, generated mixed perspectives on the role of social ties in shaping individual influence on group decision-making.

March 7, 2016

Michael Meyer, WU-Vienna

Disentangling Self-Selection- and Participation-Effects: The Impact of Volunteering on Students

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

In our study we analyze the effects of participating in a service-learning program, “Lernen macht Schule” at WU Vienna (Austria). Community-service learning (CSL) is a widespread form of student volunteering. Hereby volunteering is limited to a certain period (e.g. two semesters). Students work with client-serving nonprofits and are in direct contact with their clients, in our case with children and young adults from socially disadvantaged milieu, most of them refugees. Students who participate in this program did not receive any material rewards for participating, nor credits for their studies. They supported children in learning and leisure activities for at least one year.
CSL has been established at many universities as a form of experiential learning to develop students’ attitudes, attributions, aspirations and behaviors. Volunteering experience, for instance, should help students to clarify their career goals, transform their career aspirations, differentiate their ways to perceive social problems, raise their emphatic concern, and strengthen their self-efficacy. Yet it remains unclear whether the effects shown by prior research are caused by the volunteering experience itself or rather due to prior self-selection. Insofar many questions about the assumed positive effects of volunteering are still unanswered.
Against this backdrop, we analyze data from a quasi-experimental study which disentangles these effects and reveals findings on volunteering’s impact on the volunteers. Our research questions are: (i) How do students’ levels of self-efficacy, generalized trust, empathy, and career-aspiration differ between participants and non-participants of CSL-programs? (ii) How does students’ participation in CSL change these attitudes and traits? Overall, data from more than 1,000 students were collected between 2011 and 2016 in ten waves, including data from a control group. Our results point towards a rather moderate effects of volunteering. 

March 14, 2016

Jonna Lourvrier, SCANCOR Postdoctoral Fellow

Making organizations diverse? Diversity & Inclusion managers' conceptualizations of difference when talking about diversity

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

Organizations today work to increase the diversity of their workforces, and often nominate diversity managers to lead their diversity efforts. From previous research we know that having responsibility structures in place, such as a designated diversity manager, strongly predicts the diversification of the workforce. We also know that diversity is often presented in very positive and all-inclusive terms and organizations as valuing all the ways in which people differ. This may, however, be an overly positive description. Even though difference is at the heart of all diversity work, we still know very little about how diversity managers conceptualize it. Given the meager results of diversity work in organizations this is a critical question. Could it be that diversity managers’ ways of conceptualizing difference hamper inclusion? I interviewed diversity managers in France, and found that their ways of conceptualizing difference had negative consequences for the inclusion of differences. I found that managers constructed difference in three principal ways: as valuable, as unimportant, and as existing outside the organization. The results show that while formal diversity programs tend to focus on broad identity categories, diversity managers conceptualize differences in much narrower ways, creating selective inclusion and reproducing similarity.