Sociology and Criminology Research
Dr. Daniel Buffington - I am currently working on three research projects. The first examines the content of texts produced by mass media in regards to sport, documenting the patterned ways in which sport media defines reality for its audiences by framing the racial, ethnic, national, and gender identity of participating athletes. The second explores the effects of this content by researching how audiences use information learned from media to understand their everyday social world.
In addition, I am currently in the process of designing my next major research project, which will center on the global migration of elite soccer players. Sport, much like society, is currently going through a phase of intensified global mobility so that most sport leagues around the world contain unprecedented numbers of foreign athletes. My project aims to understand the:
- structural factors that influence soccer migration at the elite levels through quantitative analysis of recent migrants
- micro-level decision making process of individual athletes through interviews with recent migrants
- process of adjustment that global soccer migrants go through upon entering a new country through interviews with recent migrants
- process through which elite soccer players that have multiple national affiliations make decisions regarding which national team to represent in international competitions through interviews with recent migrants
In addition, to describing the global migration of elite soccer players, I also aim to compare the mobility of athletes to the mobility of non-athletes in order to understand both what is unique and common about migrations by athletes.
Dr. Susan Bullers - is currently developing and testing a new data collection method for social, environmental and behavioral determinants of breast cancer. This project is supported by a 2014 UNCW Faculty Research Reassignment Award and a 2014 UNCW Summer Research Initiative Award.
Dr. Randy LaGrange - I am writing a textbook titled "Police in Society." This book is intended primarily for online students in the CRM 307 Police in Society class taught each semester at UNCW. The book borrows selectively from a textbook I wrote years ago with Nelson Hall publishers with updated materials and contemporary policy debates going on in the field today. Another current project focuses on racial disparities in interracial crime. This coauthored project is an extension of previous work on the sociology of place. I am also working in the general area of environmental criminology, better known as Crime Prevention through Environmental Design or CPTED.
Dr. Stephen McNamee - I am currently working on three projects. The first is a summary article on the third edition of the book, The Meritocracy Myth that I coauthored with Robert K. Miller, Jr.. This article summarizes the main themes in the book and provides an update and analysis of changes in inequality in the U.S. since the publication of the first edition in 2004. A second paper is a theory project that compares theoretical issues in sociology with theoretical issues in physics. Both disciplines have macro-micro theories and both are involved in cutting edge debates about how these levels of analyses can be theoretically resolved. Although August Comte first referred to what he was doing as "social physics," sociological theory relied heavily on biological metaphors in its early stages of development, I maintain that this early reliance on biological metaphors contributed to the early dominance of structural functional theory in sociology.
Conflict theory, which has only more recently gained currency in the field, is much more amenable to a physics metaphor. I explore possible theoretical parallels between physics and sociology, especially with regard to the micro-macro integration and centripetal and centrifugal forces.
A third project is a comparison of American and British economic elites. Historically, Great Britain has had a more rigid class system than the United States, partly the result of the vestiges of a feudal aristocracy. The United States, by comparison, has historically been perceived as having a much more open system with greater access to upward social mobility. Over time, however, the United States system of inequality has become more rigid and less open while Great Britain has become somewhat less rigid and more open with both societies converging at high levels of wealth concentration and inequality compared to other advanced industrial societies. Using the "Forbes 400" list of wealthiest Americans and the London Times "Rich List" of the wealthiest British and cross coding these data with supplemental information of other sources, this research examines the social and economic origins of each and compares the levels of wealth concentration and prospects for mobility over time.