Congratulations to David Pinzur, PhD, whose article “Making the Grade: Infrastructural Semiotics and Derivative Market Outcomes on the Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange, 1856-1909” will be published in Economy and Society. The article will be published online and in hard copy by the end of 2016. This article is part of Pinzur’s dissertation project, “Building Futures Markets: Infrastructure and Outcome on the Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange.”
In this article, Pinzur uses two historical case studies to ask what forms derivative markets can take and how these forms impact price volatility. Comparing the creation of futures markets on the Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange after the Civil War, he finds that the two exchanges–reflecting material,economic, and cultural distinctions–differed in how they graded the agricultural goods underlying their markets. While wheat in Chicago was graded by a single party as it entered into storage and then mixed with other shipments, cotton in New Orleans maintained its form and was graded in an antagonistic negotiation at the point of exchange. Pinzur demonstrates that these differences in classifying practice gave commodity grades distinct qualities: in New Orleans, grades were reliable, but expensive, guides to the quality of cotton, while in Chicago they were unreliable and cheap. These differences affected the types of trades found on each exchange, with Chicago traders embracing volatile, speculative trades, while those in New Orleans favored stable, hedging trades. The article thus demonstrates how distinct classifying practices, shaped by their social environments, contribute to vastly different levels of volatility on two important early derivative markets.
Professor Thomas Medvetz has the penultimate work in the New York Times article, “Think Tank Scholar or
Corporate Consultant? It Depends on the Day”.
“It has gotten to the point where everyone in Washington has their own expert,” Mr. Medvetz said. “It is yet another reflection of the tremendous influence of economic power in American politics — as with money, you can create your own vehicles of political influence.”
Professor Lane Kenworthy’s book, “How Big Should Our Government Be?” (University of California Press) was mentioned in the New York Times article, “The Case for More Government and Higher Taxes”.
“A national instinct that small government is always better than large government is grounded not in facts but rather in ideology and politics,” they write. The evidence throughout the history of modern capitalism “shows that more government can lead to greater security, enhanced opportunity and a fairer sharing of national wealth.”
Congratulations to Stacy J. Williams, who has had yet another research piece accepted for publication. Her article, “Personal Prefigurative Politics: Cooking Up an Ideal Society in the Woman’s Temperance and Woman’s Suffrage Movements, 1870-1920” is forthcoming in The Sociological Quarterly.
Abstract: The literature on prefigurative politics currently suffers from an organizational bias. To reduce this bias, I demonstrate how the personal sphere can be prefigurative. An analysis of woman’s temperance and woman’s suffrage newspaper articles about cooking reveals that these activists advocated cooking in ways that would prefigure their visions of social change within individual families. Therefore, this article broadens the concept of prefigurative politics beyond organizations, expanding it to the home. I demonstrate that the home is a site of social movement action, where women in particular may campaign for social change.
Graduate student Dan Davis and Professor Amy Binder’s research on career services’ “headhunting” practices, originally published in the journal Research in the Sociology of Organizations, was picked up by the online magazine Inside Higher Ed .
In their article, Davis and Binder show that university career centers are embracing a new model of career services. Rather than focus most of their energy preparing students to lead their own career searches, they are increasingly leaning on corporate partnership programs to secure student job-placements and raise funds. The career centers offer a menu of services, with preferential access to the best students chief among them, to the corporations able and willing to pay fees. While this new strategy is good for some students landing jobs, some career centers raising funds, and some companies securing talent; it is also potentially problematic for students whose campuses lacking such partnerships, career centers facing underfunding, and some companies who cannot afford the fees involved.
The Department of Sociology is excited to announce Professor Lane Kenworthy’s latest book: How Big Should Our Government Be?
For more information, see http://lanekenworthy.net/books.
Congratulations are due to Kevin Lewis on his most recent publication, “Preferences in the Early Stages of Mate Choice,” to appear in the next issue of Social Forces.
In addition to the article being important and wonderful in its own right, its life course is also notable. This is the paper that grew out of Kevin’s job talk at UC San Diego(or vice versa), and which he originally submitted for publication in 2012. So, take note, graduate students…these suckers can take a long time to get into print!
Michael Haedicke, UCSD Sociology PhD 2008, and now associate professor of sociology at Drake University, has just published Organizing Organic: Conflict and Compromise in an Emerging Market (Stanford University Press 2016).
For anyone studying organizations, movements, food, and/or culture, this is a must read. Or, if you want to know how Whole Foods execs can position themselves as keepers of the public good, this book’s for you. An added attraction: Michael’s tongue in cheek writing style is wonderful.