SAGE Journal Articles

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Bail, The Configuration of Symbolic Boundaries against Immigrants in Europe. American Sociological Review, February 2008 vol. 73 no. 1 37-59.

Recent studies report significant cross-national variation in the conceptual distinctions or “symbolic boundaries” used by majority groups to construct notions of “us” and “them.” Because this literature compares only a handful of countries, the macro-level forces by which certain symbolic boundaries become more salient than others remain poorly understood. This article provides the first panorama of these processes by comparing the relative salience or “configuration” of multiple symbolic boundaries in 21 European countries. I use fuzzy-set analyses of data from the 2003 European Social Survey to create a typology of symbolic boundary configurations. The results indicate that the symbolic boundaries deployed by the general public do not correspond to the official “philosophies of integration” emphasized in the literature. Moreover, the data suggest previous comparisons have focused too heavily on Western Europe, overlooking important variation in other regions of Europe where immigration began more recently. I generate hypotheses to explain this newfound variation using demographic, socioeconomic, institutional, and historical data from quantitative and qualitative sources. The article concludes with examples of how these hypotheses can be combined by future studies toward a theory of “boundary-work.”

Lin and Stald, Mobile Communities: Are We Talking About a Village, a Clan, or a Small Group? American Behavioral Scientist 53(8) 1133–1147 © 2010 SAGE Publications.

A central issue in the adoption and use of information and communication technology is the degree to which it either contributes to or detracts from the development of social cohesion in the small group. When considering this question, one need recognize that the social dynamics of the mobile telephone are different from those of the Internet. The device affords point to point interaction that makes us individually addressable regardless of where we or our interlocutors may be. This analysis draws on survey material from Scandinavia. It is based on a random sample of approximately 1,800 persons in Norway surveyed in December2007 and January 2008. The data were collected with a Web based survey of a known population, as supplemented with telephone interviews to cover those who traditionally do not use the Web (generally, persons older than 50 years of age). Data from two surveys of 15 to 24 year old Danes were included: one from 2004 (343 respondents) and one from 2006 (629 respondents). Research reported here, and by others, has found that the mobile telephone contributes to the development and maintenance of social cohesion within the closest sphere of friends and family. If community is construed to be more restricted and a result of this type of cohesion, then it is different in character than that used when discussing net based networking.

Budig and Hodges, Differences in Disadvantage: Variation in the Motherhood Penalty across White Women’s Earnings Distribution. American Sociological Review 75(5) 705–728 American Sociological Association 2010.

Earnings inequality has grown in recent decades in the United States, yet research investigating the motherhood wage penalty has not fully considered how the penalty itself, and the mechanisms producing it, may vary among low-wage, middle-wage, and high-wage workers. Pooling data from the 1979 to 2004 waves of the NLSY and using simultaneous quantile regression methods with fixed effects, we test whether the size of the motherhood penalty differs across the distribution of white women’s earnings, and whether the mechanisms explaining this penalty vary by earnings level. Results show that having children inflicts the largest penalty on low-wage women, proportionately, although a significant motherhood penalty persists at all earnings levels. We also find that the mechanisms creating the motherhood penalty vary by earnings level. Family resources, work effort, and compensating differentials account for a greater portion of the penalty among low earners. Among highly paid women, by contrast, the motherhood penalty is significantly smaller and largely explained by lost human capital due to childbearing. Our findings show that estimates of average motherhood penalties obscure the compounded disadvantage mothers face at the bottom of the earnings distribution, as well as differences in the type and strength of mechanisms that produce the penalty.