Tag Archives: Publications

“The real refugee crisis is in the Middle East, not Europe”

Graduate Student, Rawan Arar, has co-authored an article published on the Washington Post, titled: The real refugee crisis is in the Middle East, not Europe.


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“It’s on the MCAT for a Reason” Lauren Olsen published in Teaching Sociology

Graduate Student Lauren Olsen‘s publication “It’s on the MCAT for a Reason”: Premedical Students and the Perceived Utility of Sociology has been highlighted in the American Sociological Association newsletter.

Ms. Olsen’s article appeared on Teaching Sociology, April 2016. Her paper is based on student’s experiences in our new undergraduate course SOCI 70: General Sociology for Premedical Students.

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Michael Evans’ book published

Michael Evans, who received his Sociology and Science Studies Phd in 2012 has recently published his book,  Seeking Good Debate: Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life.      Evans, Michael S. 2016.   Oakland: University of California Press.

Why do religion and science often appear in conflict in America’s public sphere? In Seeking Good Debate, Michael S. Evans examines the results from the first-ever study to combine large-scale empirical analysis of some of our foremost religion and science debates with in-depth research into what Americans actually want in the public sphere. The surprising finding is that apparent conflicts involving religion and science reflect a more fundamental conflict between media elites and ordinary Americans over what is good debate. For elite representatives, good debate advances an agenda, but, as Evans shows, for many Americans it is defined by engagement and deliberation. This hidden conflict over what constitutes debate’s proper role diminishes the possibility for science and religion to be discussed meaningfully in public life. Challenging our understanding of science, religion, and conflict, Seeking Good Debate raises profound questions about the future of the public sphere and American democracy.

It can be found on Amazon as well:

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Prof. Ribas’ book published by UC Press

‘On the Line: Slaughterhouse Lives and the Making of the New South’
Professor Vanesa Ribas publishes her first book, an eye-opening examination of the lives of workers in the New South, via University of California Press.

“How does one put into words the rage that workers feel when supervisors threaten to replace them with workers who will not go to the bathroom in the course of a fourteen-hour day of hard labor, even if it means wetting themselves on the line?”—From the Preface

In this gutsy, eye-opening examination of the lives of workers in the New South, Vanesa Ribas, working alongside mostly Latino/a and native-born African American laborers for sixteen months, takes us inside the contemporary American slaughterhouse. Ribas, a native Spanish speaker, occupies an insider/outsider status there, enabling her to capture vividly the oppressive exploitation experienced by her fellow workers. She showcases the particular vulnerabilities faced by immigrant workers—a constant looming threat of deportation, reluctance to seek medical attention, and family separation—as she also illuminates how workers find connection and moments of pleasure during their grueling shifts. Bringing to the fore the words, ideas, and struggles of the workers themselves, On The Line underlines how deep racial tensions permeate the factory, as an overwhelmingly minority workforce is subject to white dominance. Compulsively readable, this extraordinary ethnography makes a powerful case for greater labor protection, especially for our nation’s most vulnerable workers.

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Book by Tom Waidzunas

UCSD alum Tom Waidzunas’ new book (a revised and expanded study that was originally based on his dissertation) is now in print!

The Straight Line: How the Fringe Science of Ex-Gay Therapy Reoriented Sexuality, by Tom Waidzunas, is published by the University of Minnesota Press.

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Article by Tad Skotnicki and Prof. Jeff Haydu in Social Movement Studies

Congratulations to Tad Skotnicki and Jeff Haydu, whose article, “Three Layers of History in Recurrent Social Movements: The Case of Food Reform” will be published in an upcoming issue of Social Movement Studies.

Tad was a recipient of one of the department’s Summer Research Grants a couple of summers ago. Thanks, Tad, for providing such a great demonstration of how that program works!

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Tad Skotnicki’s article accepted by Journal of Historical Sociology

Congrats to Tad Skotnicki (recent PhD) on his solo article accepted with the Journal of Historical Sociology. It is entitled “Consumer Senses and Commodity Fetishism: Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Consumer Activism in the United States and England.”

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Article by Laura Rogers published in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

Laura Rogers’ solo authored article, “Helping the Helpless Help Themselves”: How Volunteers and Employees Create a Moral Identity While Sustaining Symbolic Boundaries within a Homeless Shelter” is now out on the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography website’s “online first” list. Congratulations, Laura!

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CNN article by Professors FitzGerald and Rona-Tas discussing migrants seeking asylum in Europe


“Walls are not the solution”  by David Scott FitzGerald and Akos Rona-Tas

Updated 7:47 AM ET, Tue September 29, 2015
Thousands of migrants seek asylum in Europe

Authors: Walls and fences designed to keep out immigrants create more problems than they solve
Fences can seal in unauthorized immigrants and enable human traffickers, they say

“Akos Rona-Tas is professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. David Scott FitzGerald is co-director of UC San Diego’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. The opinions expressed in this commentary are theirs.”

Presidential contender Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have at least one idea in common. Both believe that to stem the tide of foreigners arriving in their respective countries, they must barricade their borders.

Trump wants a seamless wall on the U.S. southern border to stop migrants mostly from Latin America. Orban wants to fence off the European Union to keep out refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and troubled countries in Africa. Orban’s government has completed a 100-mile-plus razor wire fence along its border with Serbia, now extending into Croatia and Romania.

Both Trump and Orban whip up public fear and then offer themselves as the protectors of their nations in return for votes. But building higher walls and digging deeper moats solves few problems while incurring serious human and financial costs.

Ironically, fences seal in unauthorized immigrants once they manage to enter the country. In the U.S. case, a serious border buildup began in the mid-1990s. Academic research and independent assessments by the U.S. Government Accountability Office show that increased enforcement made unauthorized immigrants stay in the United States for longer periods — to avoid the physical risks and high costs of repeatedly going back and forth in clandestine crossings. For at least the first 15 years, the federal government’s own data reveal a dramatic increase in the number of unauthorized Mexicans living in the United States .

Hungary wants Greece to seal borders

In the EU, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban wants Greece to seal its borders as well. Most refugees at Hungary’s doorstep travel through Greece. A glance at a map shows the folly of such a plan.

Greece, with its many islands, has an 8,500-mile coastline — more than four times the length of the U.S.-Mexican border. Greece did close its land border with Turkey by building a 6.5-mile fence in 2012. It relied on the rapid Maritsa/Evros River and 1,800 armed guards for the other 110 miles of border control.
Pope Francis is the anti-Trump
Pope Francis is the anti-Trump (Opinion)

The flow of refugees did not stop. It grew. Refugees moved out to sea and entered Greece through the Aegean archipelago that in many places lies just a few miles from Turkey. The operation was a failure, which is precisely why there are all those refugees at the Hungarian border that Orban tries to push back.

Walls are expensive to build, and even more expensive to maintain and police over time. The cost of Hungary’s new fence is reaching $100 million.

The United States spent $3.6 billion on the Border Patrol in 2014, much of it by nearly quadrupling its force to 21,000 agents. Other fences in Bulgaria, and in Melilla and Ceuta, the two Spanish outposts in Morocco, only run a few miles. They all require large numbers of personnel to patrol. Hundreds breach them each year still.
Migrants pass through Croatia to Hungary

Migrants pass through Croatia to Hungary 02:15

The collateral consequences of militarizing the border are deadly. The International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 22,400 people died trying to reach Europe from 2000 to 2014. Images of drowning asylum-seekers fill the newspapers and airways. Nearly 6,000 died trying to cross the U.S. border from 1998 to 2014. And fences everywhere nurture organized crime networks that smuggle desperate people across borders, slow commerce and tourism, damage the environment, and create suspicions among friendly countries.

Controlling borders a complex affair

Few would argue that countries don’t need to control their borders at all, but controlling the border is a complex affair. Governments often try to control immigrants, tourists, terrorists, epidemics, drugs, and goods avoiding custom duties. Each requires its own set of tools of control. With the possible exception of tourists, none of these can be stopped by physical barriers.

Effective tools involve work not at the border but on either side of it. For instance, if a country wants to control unauthorized immigration, it should take steps to reduce the outflow of people by contributing to development projects in the sending countries and by creating a sustainable legal process to filter those it wants to come. At home, the country must enforce laws that sanction not just immigrants who enter illegally, but also those who profit from their presence, like their employers.

Individual EU countries like Hungary will never be able to effectively address the refugee crisis on their own. Rich countries, including EU countries, but also the United States, Japan, and Persian Gulf states should help Syria’s neighbors accommodate their swelling refugee populations. There are less than half a million Syrian refugees in Europe and 1,500 in the United States, compared to 1.9 million in Turkey, 1.1 million in Lebanon, and more than 600,000 in Jordan. Countries with resources need to pull their weight. (The United States has said it will increase the number of Syrian refugees it plans to take in next year to 10,000.)

Pulling their weight also means setting up offices in the Middle East to process asylum requests, rather than forcing people to risk their lives to get to Europe to present their cases. Requests would be submitted with a list of desired countries ranked by priority.

If the decision is positive, a country would be offered based on the applicants’ priorities and a quota system agreed by the member states. If they accept the country, they could enter the EU with a temporary residency and work permit valid only in the designated country to prevent them from circumventing the quota system.

All government-provided benefits would be contingent on supplying proof of residence in the country where the refugee was officially settled. At the same time, the EU must have a working system of repatriating individuals who after a fair legal process, are found to lack a valid claim to asylum.

A small country like Hungary may be able to fence off one small border at a very high financial and human cost. But Europe’s borders stretch from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. The U.S.-Mexico wall is not a model to be emulated. European nations should learn from the U.S. example and find more nuanced and humane ways of protecting refugees’ lives while exercising legitimate control over their sovereignty.

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Paper by Yao-tai Li published in Ethnic and Racial Studies

Yao-tai Li’ paper, “‘Playing’ at the Ethnic Boundary: Strategic Boundary Making/unmaking among Ethnic Chinese Groups in Australia,” has been published by Ethnic and Racial Studies.

The sociological literature has constructed a systematic typology of ‘modes’ and ‘means’ of strategic ethnic boundary making/unmaking. Through exploring different strategies, scholars illustrate the processes and contexts of boundary expansion or contraction. Other scholars also distinguish ethnic elements and ‘moral’ values attached to certain ethnicities but not to others. This paper acknowledges dynamic boundary making/unmaking and moral aspects of ethnicity, while exploring the different degrees to which national and pan-national identity nest within each other among ethnic Chinese groups, as well as how ethnic boundary becomes a field where people ‘play’ in their everyday interactions. Based on participant observations and in-depth interviews from two pan-Chinese worksites in Australia, the paper argues that different interpretations of ethnic identity as well as how different identities (national and pan-national) are nested give people room to ‘play’ at the ethnic boundary and result in different outcomes. This paper also shows that people can cross the ethnic boundary (between Taiwanese/Hong Kongese and PRC-Chinese) without expanding/contracting the existing categories or ‘repositioning/transvaluing’ their ethnic statuses.

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