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Author: Amanda Dewey

Dissertation Data Collection Begins

Dissertation Data Collection Begins

I began my first round of dissertation interviews in late summer and I’m already collecting interesting data on the influence of values on organizational processes and interactions. The local conservation contexts of red wolves and horseshoe crabs provide an interesting contrast to the perspectives of national organizations. I have had the opportunity to travel to Delaware and around DC, while conducting other interviews via Skype. I am interviewing both volunteers and organization leaders, providing multiple perspectives on how values are…

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Sociology, Local Government, and the 2020 Census

Sociology, Local Government, and the 2020 Census

I recently attended the Maryland Municipal League’s annual conference in Ocean City, MD. This conference brings together elected and appointed officials from many of Maryland’s 157 towns and cities. During the four-day conference we explored topics including consensus building, running effective meetings, budgeting and the upcoming 2020 census and many more. It was clear from these sessions that social science and sociology can inform and provide valuable tools for local elected officials. For example, census participation is directly tied to…

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Urgency and Hope: Endangered Species Day 2019

Urgency and Hope: Endangered Species Day 2019

Endangered Species Day is celebrated around the world on Friday, May 17th. This event invites folks around the world to consider the plight of imperiled wildlife, the importance of healthy wildlife and healthy ecosystems, and the success of the Endangered Species Act. In addition to their own right to exist and intrinsic value, humans depend upon other species for survival. Over the past several decades, wildlife values have shifted in the United States (Manfredo, Teel, and Henry 2009). Researchers have…

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Dissertation Proposal Defended!

Dissertation Proposal Defended!

On March 29th I successfully defended my dissertation proposal in front of my dissertation committee. This is the second to last step on my journey to a PhD! Over approximately the next 18 months I will conduct the dissertation research while teaching. I’ll spend the rest of the spring preparing for fieldwork and the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 collecting data. The bulk of 2020 will be spent on writing and data analysis. I am excited that my project…

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Academic Culture and Peer Review

Academic Culture and Peer Review

After some recent experiences with peer review and conversations with colleagues who have had similar experiences, I’ve been reflecting on respect within academic culture. Scholarship is fundamentally dependent upon the critically important peer review process. However, I’ve recently seen several instances of disrespectful and unconstructive review that seems to reflect a focus on ego rather than on improving scholarship and expanding knowledge. To be clear, I am in no way arguing that critical or negative reviews are problematic by definition….

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A Semester of Experimenting with Active Learning

A Semester of Experimenting with Active Learning

Yesterday was my final day of Introduction to Sociology for this semester. My goal for this course was to incorporate student-centered and active learning in class. I decided to reduce the amount of lecturing and repetition of concepts from readings. Therefore, I did not go over all concepts discussed in readings, relying on students to complete reading assignments. Instead, I used most of my class time to help them to apply and understand central ideas. This was an experiment in…

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Sociology and Public Office

Sociology and Public Office

Last month, I was sworn in as a Councilmember for the Town of Berwyn Heights. This role has presented me with new opportunities and challenges. Serving in local government, and specifically working with the police department, has provided me several opportunities to apply my sociological knowledge. Local politicians are faced with considering the opinions of diverse populations and navigating complex histories and group dynamics. My community is racially and socioeconomically diverse. In addition, neighboring communities have different structural constraints and…

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2018 American Sociological Association Meetings

2018 American Sociological Association Meetings

The American Sociological Association’s 2018 Annual Meetings were a fantastic opportunity to network and share ideas with other scholars. The meetings took place in Philadelphia in early August. I was able to attend several sessions focusing on topics such as indigenous environmental issues, environmental justice, and public environmental sociology. I also attended a workshop on becoming a policy advocate as a sociologist, which included some really useful exercises and tips on how to use our positions as scholars to inform…

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With Wildlife Under Attack, What Can We Learn From Values?

With Wildlife Under Attack, What Can We Learn From Values?

Values influence all things. Values motivate behaviors directly and through possession of value-identities as people attempt to align their behavior with their perceived goals and identities. However, values can also serve as boundary-markers through which people can assert differences between themselves and members of other groups. For example, Lamont’s research on working class men highlights how her participants draw racial boundaries by defining the other group as deficient in characteristics that they value (Lamont 2009). For example, white participants defined…

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Emotions, Identity, and Social Movements

Emotions, Identity, and Social Movements

While working this summer, I have been thinking about how scholars can continue to apply social psychology to understand individual behavior, including participation in social movements. In my recent comprehensive exam, I argue that identity and emotion can help to explain differences in movement participation from initial involvement to variations in movement-related behaviors. The history and framing of particular social movements can interact with individuals’ social and personal identities and emotions to influence movement behavior. The environmental and environmental justice…

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