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. Leslie Hossfeld - is currently working on a book that examines the rich cultural heritage of African American agricultural in the Southeast and is collecting oral histories of African American and women farmers in Southeastern North Carolina. These life stories are situated in a narrative that examines the history, economic and social conditions of the South, particularly as pertaining to the USDA policies and practices that have marginalized small-scale, limited resource minority farmers from the large agri-business model. The book will feature life story interviews with Limited Resource Farmers and how their experiences provide a backdrop to the changing agricultural sector and economic downturn in our region.
Dr. Hossfeld is also collecting baseline data necessary to evaluate existing barriers between local supply chain through the Feast Down East Processing and Distribution Center and retail food market assessing infrastructure needs to expand and develop new retail supply chain through Feast Down east. The long-term goal of this research effort is to is to increase understanding of the needs of small-scale, limited-resource and minority farmers in southeastern North Carolina in order to (1) assist these farmers to achieve greater profitability and more sustainable livelihoods, and (2) contribute to new knowledge about viability of small scale processing and distribution nodes in the mainstream food supply chain.
March 2014 marked the 10 year anniversary of the Jobs for the Future trip to Washington, DC. Dr. Hossfeld is revisiting the Lumbee women who she interviewed in 2004 collecting oral histories of their experiences since the earlier project and how they have survived the economic crises of 2008 until now. The intersections of race, class, gender and place have significant bearing on their experiences and life chances during this economic period.
Finally, Dr. Hossfeld has been working on a long-term project focusing on the women of the Southern Regionalists group of the 1920s-1930s. The intellectual home of the Southern Regionalists was UNC out of the department of Sociology and the Institute for Research in Social Science under the leadership of Howard Odum. The women social scientists working on southern regionalism have been largely ignored, yet their contributions were significant. Margaret Jarmon Hagood, Harriet Herring, Katharine Jocher, and Guion Griffis Johnson’s research on poverty in the South and their policy work and engagement have been overshadowed by the work of male regionalists of the era, primarily Odum, Vance and Johnson. heir contributions to Southern Regionalist Social Science explanations of poverty and implications for social policy were significant and contributed greatly to the body of work from that era and resonate with current poverty scholarship and engagement for our region today.
Dr. Yunus Kaya - Currently, I am working on a project that examines the impact of globalization on managerial employment and tests the ‘transnational capitalist class’ thesis. In addition, I am currently analyzing the polarization of social and political attitudes in Turkey during the last three decades and assessing the role of Islamist politics, if any, in this process. Finally, I am the co-investigator in a project to create an occupational prestige and a socio-economic status index for Turkey, which is funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. The project is now in the pilot study phase before the actual survey is administered in the field in September/October 2014.
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.