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  1. Study Uses Internet and Social Media to Show How Fracking Documentary Influenced Public Perception and Political Change

    Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change.

    But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.

  2. Prayers, Protest, and Police: How Religion Influences Police Presence at Collective Action Events in the United States, 1960 to 1995

    Do police treat religious-based protest events differently than secular ones? Drawing on data from more than 15,000 protest events in the United States (1960 to 1995) and using quantitative methods, we find that law enforcement agents were less likely to show up at protests when general religious actors, actions, or organizations were present. Rather than reflecting privileged legitimacy, we find that this protective effect is explained by religious protesters’ use of less threatening tactics at events.

  3. "No Fracking Way!" Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.

  4. Weddings in the Town Square: Young Russian Israelis Protest the Religious Control of Marriage in Tel-Aviv

    The article discusses alternative wedding ceremonies staged in urban spaces as a statement of protest among immigrant couples that cannot marry in rabbinical courts, because they are not recognized as Jews. These public weddings are organized and sponsored by the Fishka association of young Israeli adults of Russian origin.

  5. Inhabiting Latino Politics: How Colleges Shape Students' Political Styles

    To comply with ideals of multiculturalism and diversity, postsecondary institutions incorporate Latino students into distinct campus cultures. These cultures influence how students interact with one another, the university community at large, and communities outside of campus, ultimately shaping how students inhabit Latino politics. Drawing on data from 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork with six student organizations and 60 in-depth interviews, I compare Latino student organizations in a liberal arts college, a research university, and a regional public university.

  6. Beyond "Just Being There": Teaching Internationalization at Home in Two Qualitative Methods Units

    Study-abroad and international-student programs are commonly understood to transform their participants into "global citizens" possessing "cross-cultural competencies." Similar benefits are anticipated from "internationalization at home"—defined as any on-campus, internationally related activity—whereby international students engage with and thus enrich the lives of domestic students. In this article, we reflect on a research project tied to two coursework units, in which largely domestic undergraduate students undertake qualitative research with or about international students.

  7. An Assessment of Student Perceptions and Responses to Frequent Low-stakes Testing in Introductory Sociology Classes

    Common concerns for many instructors of introductory college courses are that their students do not prepare for or attend class, are minimally engaged, and exhibit poor reading comprehension and writing skills. How can instructors respond to these challenges? Research finds that frequent testing improves the learning outcomes of students. Can it motivate better studying habits and expand their engagement with the class?

  8. Pivot Points: Direct Measures of the Content and Process of Community-based Learning

    This research is an initial investigation into the ways community-based learning increase the cognitive skills central to the exercise of the sociological imagination. In addition to identifying a means to reveal that learning had occurred, we looked for evidence that the students were mastering sociological content, especially the concepts and habits of the sociological imagination.

  9. "It Didn't Seem Like Race Mattered": Exploring the Implications of Service-learning Pedagogy for Reproducing or Challenging Color-blind Racism

    Prior research measuring service-learning program successes reveals the approach can positively affect students’ attitudes toward community service, can increase students’ motivation to learn and ability to internalize class material, and can change their view of social issues. Studies also suggest that college students sometimes enter and leave a field site in ways that contribute to the reproduction of inequality.

  10. What Should Activist Scholars Teach in the Social Problems Classroom? Social Problems Literacy for Civic Engagement

    What should activist-scholars teach in the social problems classroom? In this conversation, I challenge the assertion that advancing a sociology of social problems is an overly academic enterprise of little use to students and other publics. I introduce the potential of a pedagogical framework for promoting social problems literacy: a set of skills that promotes critical, sociological understandings of social problems toward aims of supporting civic engagement and activism.