Month: February 2022

Christin Munsch: Residential Fellow at CASBS

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Christin Munsch has been invited to be a residential fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University during the 2022–23 academic year to work on a monograph that extends her work on “masculinity contest cultures” (MCCs) to academic social science and other professional contexts characterized by waning horizontal segregation and persistent vertical segregation. The book draws on findings from four methodologically diverse studies, currently underway, and is tentatively organized around three parts. Part 1 advances a theory of hybridly masculine occupations by describing academic social science in terms of gendered occupational defaults (e.g., rules, norms, expectations) that shift across the prescribed career trajectory. In general, this trajectory continues to reflect and reward men’s bodies and lived experiences, while selectively incorporating elements of femininity and non-hegemonic masculinities, particularly at earlier career stages. Part 2 considers the implications of this structure for both individual social scientists and the work they produce. Specifically, it attracts women and other minorities to the profession--while inflicting increasing levels of physical, emotional, and economic violence--sustaining macro-level patterns of gender inequality. It also leads to slower rates of socially beneficial discovery and diminished societal benefits. Part 3 offers recommendations for revamping professional structures and cultures.

Jane Pryma- “Technologies of Expertise: Opioids and Pain Management’s Credibility Crisis”

Read Assistant Professor of Sociology Jane Pryma’s recent article titled, “Technologies of Expertise: Opioids and Pain Management’s Credibility Crisis” in The American Sociological Review. Pryma discusses the reasoning for the


Journalistic accounts of the opioid crisis often paint prescription opioids as the instrument of profit-minded pharmaceutical companies who enlisted pain specialists to overprescribe addictive drugs. Broadening beyond a focus on pharmaceutical power, this article offers a comparative-historical explanation, rooted in inter- and intra-professional dynamics, of the global increase in rates of opioid prescribing. Through archival analysis and in-depth interviews with pain specialists and public-health officials in the United States and France, I explain how and why opioids emerged as the “right tool for the job” of pain relief in the 1980s and 1990s, affecting how pain science is produced, pain management is administered, and a right to pain relief is promised in different national contexts. I argue that opioids, selected and destigmatized as the technology for pain relief, helped establish a global network of pain expertise, linking a fledgling field of pain specialists to the resources of global-health governance, public-health administration, humanitarian organizations, and pharmaceutical companies. I then compare how U.S. and French pain specialists leveraged opioids to strengthen the boundaries of their emergent fields. Pain specialists’ differing degrees of autonomy in each country’s network of pain expertise shaped the extent to which opioids could dominate pain management and lead to crisis. Tracing the relationship between opioids and pain expertise, I show how technologies can drive crises of expert credibility if and when they escape the control of the networked fields that selected them.

Andrew Deener and Christin Munsch: OVPR Scholarship Facilitation Fund

The Office of the Vice President for Research recently announced the Scholarship Facilitation Fund (SFF) The SFF is designed to assist faculty in the initiation, completion, or advancement of research projects, scholarly activities, creative works, or interdisciplinary initiatives that are critical to advancing the faculty member’s scholarship and/or creative works.

We are proud to announce that the following Sociology faculty members were among the winners:


Andrew Deener
Andrew Deener, The Crisis of Climate Change and the Transformation of Literature
Christin Munsch, Masculine Organizational Defaults: Gender Differences in Time and Cognitive Effort

Ruth Braunstein: “The backlash against rightwing evangelicals is reshaping American politics and faith”

Check out Associate Professor of Sociology Ruth Braunstein’s recent article in The Guardian titled “The backlash against rightwing evangelicals is reshaping American politics and faith.

***Excerpt from article***

What if I were to tell you that the following trends in American religion were all connected: rising numbers of people who are religiously unaffiliated (“nones”) or identify as “spiritual but not religious”; a spike in positive attention to the “religious left”; the depoliticization of liberal religion; and the purification and radicalization of the religious right? As a sociologist who has studied American religion and politics for many years, I have often struggled to make sense of these dramatic but seemingly disconnected changes. I now believe they all can all be explained, at least in part, as products of a backlash to the religious right.