UBC Sociology graduate students presenting at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting



From left to right: Tom Einhorn, Allison Laing, Parker Muzzerall, and Rose Xueqing Zhang

UBC Sociology graduate students are traveling to Los Angeles this week to present their research at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting.

This conference provides an opportunity for sociologists to share knowledge and new directions in research and practice. Nearly 600 programmatic sessions are convened that provide a scholarly outlet for more than 3,000 research papers, over 4,500 presenters, and 5,000 attendees. The theme of this year’s Annual Meeting, which will run from August 5-9 in Los Angeles, is “Bureaucracies of Displacement.”

We are excited to share the research projects of Tom Einhorn, Allison Laing, Parker Muzzerall, and Rose Xueqing Zhang who are among the graduate students who will be headed to the ASA Annual Meeting this week.


Tom Einhorn

Tom Einhorn

Tom Einhorn is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. His work brings together social movement and collective action studies, sexualities and sexual identities, and an interest in advanced and mixed-method research design. Tom’s dissertation examines contemporary patterns of LGBTQ rights activism and organizing in the wake of same-sex marriage legalization. He is also working on research projects having to do with the intersection of LGBTQ rights, nationalism, and the state in his home country of Israel and with racial justice and anti-racist organizing in the United States.

What determines the sustainability of protest? Once protest beings, what determines how long it lasts for? This study uses census and protest data to what factors account for the sustainability of protest in a sample of 439 cities across the United States during the large BLM protest cycle of 2020. Using multilevel modeling and accounting for inequality, population size and composition, and political variability, the study shows that Black residential segregation accounts for more intense and more prolonged protest and that the impact of residential segregation is larger than that of any other factor. American cities with more heavily segregated Black populations saw more intense and prolonged protests during the 2020 cycle compared to cities with less segregated Black populations. I propose that the impact of residential segregation works through the fostering of stronger social network ties, making potential participants more readily available for social movement mobilization and thus contributing to more protests overall. In other words, at least in the case of large national protest waves, who people live next to and see on the street every day has a much larger impact on how likely they are to participate in protest than do other factors proposed by social movement theory. This study uses novel statistical methods in the study of larger protest waves and reintroduces social networks grounded in people’s everyday lived environments into the discussion about the role of social networks in social movement mobilization.


Allison Laing

Allison Lang

Allison Laing (she/her) is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, a research coordinator at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, and a fellow at the Consortium on Analytics for Data-Driven Decision-Making, McGill University, Montréal Québec. Her research centers on economic participation and financial management practices among marginalized people who use drugs, including informal credit structures within social networks and alternative financial service use, and how these practices impact drug use patterns, social connections, institutional engagement, and exposure to risk. Before returning to academia, Allison worked for many years with people who use drugs in housing and harm reduction service provision and community-based research using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Fronting, or purchasing unregulated drugs on credit from a dealer, may compound health and social harms associated with structural marginalization among people who use drugs (PWUD). While qualitative research has explored this issue, the scope and exposures associated with drug-related debt are poorly understood. Using data from two prospective cohorts of PWUD within a neighbourhood in Canada with pervasive marginalization and criminalization, we examined the prevalence of drug debt and its association with individual, social, structural, and environmental exposures. Secondary analyses explored exposures associated with higher-intensity debt; specifically, more frequent debt and higher amounts owed. Our findings demonstrate a high prevalence of fronting and identify linkages between higher-intensity drug use, prohibited income generation, exposure to violence, and higher-intensity drug debt. This research highlights the need for supports that mitigate the harms linked to obtaining drugs on credit among marginalized PWUDs.


Parker Muzzerall

Parker Muzzerall

Parker Muzzerall is a MA student in sociology at the University of British Columbia. His research examines the cultural and moral politics that condition and contour issues around the environment and climate change.

Existing attempts to explain social contention over climate change emphasize the political economy of counter-movements and the socio-demographic indicators of environmental opinion. Complimentary and consistent in their conclusions, these frameworks leave little room to think about this contention as anything but a derivative of political difference. I challenge this assumption by turning my analytic focus onto the fossil fuel industry in order to reveal the underlying cultural contours of this contention. To do so, I draw on 18 interviews with people working in the Canadian Oil Sands, the world’s third largest fossil fuel reserve. My findings show how those in the industry perceive their participation to be highly stigmatized along the axis of environmental harm and across the symbols, discourses, and institutions of public culture. However, participants are able to reject this stigma because of the localized conditions of morality under which they live, evidenced through the reproduction of cultural scripts organized around thick moral concepts of empowerment, wholesomeness, and stewardship. I use this to advance an alternative theory for environmental contention by demonstrating how culturally mediated forces of stigma and morality work respectively to sustain and entrench the division currently afflicting social responses to climate change.


Rose Xueqing Zhang

Rose Xueqing Zhang

Rose Xueqing Zhang is a second-year PhD student at the University of British Columbia department of sociology, whose recent publication centers on the quantitative study on the intersectionality between health and gender inequality under the intergenerational reproduction perspective. Her dissertation is about gender and health inequality and overwork issues in the workplace. Her research interests include social determinants of physical and mental health, women in the workplace, and gender & sexuality.

We used cross-sectional data from the 2017 Chinese General Social Survey to investigate whether and how Chinese parents utilize their socioeconomic resources to facilitate the acquisition of socioeconomic resources by their children that in turn affect the self-rated physical health of the adult children. We found that the father’s type of work unit (danwei) and the father’s membership in the Chinese Communist Party were not independently associated with the self-rated health of survey respondents. The father’s education was associated with the self-rated health of women, especially younger women, and self-reported childhood social class was associated with the self-rated health of men and older women, most strongly so for younger men. Two-thirds of the association between the father’s education and self-rated health among younger women was statistically explained by personal socioeconomic resources and almost a quarter of the association between self-reported childhood social class and self-rated health among younger men was statistically explained by personal socioeconomic resources. Our study illuminates the importance of intergenerational reproduction in fostering the good health of Chinese adults, especially for those who grew up after the Chinese economic reforms of the 1970s.

Research has consistently established that women experience greater fear of violence than men. However, the scholarship has tended to treat gender and sex as binary variables, thus obscuring how femininity and masculinity can act as a powerful mechanism that accounts for fear of violence. This study draws on theories of hegemonic masculinity and pariah femininity to demonstrate how gender normativity affects fear of sexual assault for males and females differently. From a sample of 1,522 adults in the U.S., we find that both femininity and masculinity are positively correlated with fear of violence for women, but men’s fear of violence decreases with masculinity and increases with femininity as expected. In addition, gender non-conformity is significant in increasing fear of violence for males but not females, pointing to a gendered implication of normativity. However, such an effect is only significant among heterosexual individuals. Through cross-fertilizing theories of fear with gender and sexuality scholarship, our research adds empirical evidence to theories of gender relation and advances a more nuanced understanding of the gendered gap in fear of crime.