Current Research

Dr. Jill McCorkel's new book, Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment, presents a detailed, critical examination of "get tough" punishment policies in women's prisons. Drawing on extensive ethnographic data and interviews with prisoners, staff, and state officials, McCorkel analyzes how privatization and the racial politics of the War on Drugs collapsed the rehabilitative ideal and, in the process, transformed the logic, practice, and consequences of punishment in women's prisons. Learn more about Dr. McCorkel's new book.  In addition, she has begun collecting data for two new projects. The first is a study of juvenile lifers following the Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. Alabama.  The second is a comparative study of men's and women's experiences following release from prison.

Dr. Kelly Welch is co-authoring a paper on the degree to which racially exclusive conceptions of youth affect attitudes toward criminal and juvenile punishment using national survey data.

Drs. Allison Payne and Kelly Welch are working together to study ethnic threat in schools.  They are using the School Survey on Crime and Safety to explore whether the Hispanic composition of a student body determines the extent and type of student discipline used in a school. 

In addition, Dr. Allison Payne is working in collaboration with a few undergraduate students on a study examining the relationship between commitment to and involvement in various school activities and student delinquency and victimization.  Previous research is unclear about this relationship, suggesting that it may be dependent upon the type of activity in which a student engages, and we are using the National Educational Longitudinal Study to explore this. 

Dr. Satya Pattnayak is investigating how the rates of economic and political transformation create greater social vulnerabilities in developing societies.  In particular, he is investigating how the recent macro changes in the Indian economy and polity have made the society more vulnerable to social explosion from within.

Drs. Robert DeFina and Lance Hannon are currently working on two research projects.  The first is an assessment of the relationship between skin tone and school suspension using a national sample of African American youth.  The second project involves conducting a comparison of interviewer-assessed skin tone measures with those derived from scientific/medical instruments.

Dr. Donna Shai is in the process of completing a research article on women's homicides in Philadelphia.  Dr. Shai’s central aim is to check for media distortion bias by studying newspaper coverage of homicides by race and age. In addition, Dr. Shai is investigating fatal and non-fatal fire-related injuries in Anchorage, Alaska.

Dr. Peter Knapp is working on discontinuous processes of social mobilization such as Occupy Wall Street. He presented a version of this work at the American Sociological Association meeting this past August.

Drs. Tom Arvanites and Lance Hannon are investigating the effect of residential segregation on the incarceration rate of African Americans for drug offenses.

Dr. Rory Kramer is working on two research projects related to racial residential segregation. The first is an attempt to improve measures of evenness in multiracial contexts using a novel entropy-based index of segregation. The second uses spatial analysis to shift the focus of the study from the neighborhood itself to the impact of physical boundaries on the (im)permanence of local residential segregation in Philadelphia between 1990 and 2010.

Drs. Bernard Gallagher and Brian Jones have initiated a new stage of their long-term study of the causes of schizophrenia. They are presently examining the relative strength of the roles of genes and environmental stressors on the subtypes of schizophrenia. 

In addition, Dr. Brian Jones recently published Social Capital in America, an analysis of trends in work, voluntary association, social networks and family life. He is currently writing a second volume which incorporates key social-psychological attitudes--job satisfaction, trust, happiness and marital satisfaction--that accompany Americans' investments in social capital.

Dr. Joe McFalls is working on a monograph on mortality that will be entitled The Demography of Death.  Mortality is one of the three major processes in demography.  This monograph will advance knowledge concerning mortality in both the more-developed and less-developed worlds, improve population projections, and contribute to sounder social and demographic policy. 

Dr. Rick Eckstein is participating in a collaborative research project with students on sports’ role in students’ college selection process, the relationship between new sports stadiums and criminalizing homelessness, and the political economy of college athlete burnout.  In the near future, Dr. Eckstein will resume work on Sports Sucks, a book exploring the increasing commercialization, commodification, and corporatization of organized non-professional sports, with a special emphasis on the degradation of Ultimate Frisbee.