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Spring 2017

 

February 2017

Thursday, February 14 | 3:30-5:00pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Ambivalent Kinship and the Production of Wellbeing: the Social Dynamics of Health Among Women in Indian Slums

Claire Snell-Rood,  Assistant Professor, Health and Social Behavior, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley

Contemporary advocates for health have endorsed widespread change through attention to the social conditions of health. Yet the large scale and policy orientation of this approach are unconcerned with how women negotiate their social relationships every day. Guided by new anthropological approaches to kinship, I examine women's relationships with family, community, state, and the environment through ethnography in a North Indian slum. While relationships were necessary channels to obtain the stuff of survival, women remarked on their hidden consequences. Haphazardly played, relationships yielded disastrous effects on social reputation, piled on long-term obligation, and whittled away one’s self-respect. Women could be left with no one to depend on and no moral reserve to sustain themselves. What was in their hands, they explained, were the boundaries they drew within relationships to maintain their independence and their capacity to define their meaning. This ethnographic approach re-appraises the social scientific and health literature on patron-client relationships, social support, and family exchange, while introducing a new social lens to approach wellness.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, Gender & Women's Studies and Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley

 

March 2017

Wednesday, March 15 | 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Seminar Series: 

Geographies of Activism: Cartographic Memory and Community Practices of Care

Juan Herrera, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, School of Language, Culture, and Society Oregon State University 

Chris Zepeda-Millán, Assistant Professor and Chair, Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley as a respondent

Less visible than 1960s Chicano Movement protest politics of sit-ins, marches, and boycotts are the Mexican American activists who created community-based organizations by enlisting residents in neighborhood improvement projects. Drawing from oral histories of 1960s activists from Oakland’s Fruitvale district, Professor Herrera shows how they consolidated a robust politics of place—establishing institutions that transformed the urban landscape and fashioned lasting commitments to social justice. He argues that the work of remembering 1960s activism is a cartographic process that draws attention to the social movement production of space. His concept of cartographic memory is a practice deployed by activists and an analytic to interpret how and why they defined their activities though the invocation and graphing of space. Activists’ cartographic recollections were fundamentally political claims to power that operated through space. Their memories served as a central device to bring into focus the transformative and experimental aspects of the Chicano movement, and its enduring impacts.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Ethnographic Research, Department of Ethnic Studies, Institute of Urban and Regional Development and Center for Latino Research Policy, UC Berkeley

 

April 2017

Friday, April 28 | 12:00 - 1:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Learning and Legislating Love: Family Inequality and U.S. Marriage Education Policy

Jennifer Randles, Assistant Professor, Sociology, CSU Fresno

with Jill Duerr Berrick, Zellerbach Family Foundation Professor, School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley, as respondent

The U.S. federal Healthy Marriage Initiative has spent almost $1 billion since 2002 to fund hundreds of relationship and marriage education programs across the country. Randles spent three years attending healthy marriage classes and interviewing the couples who took them to understand what marriage education policy reveals about political understandings of how romantic experiences, relationship behaviors, and marital choices are primary mechanisms of inequality. In this talk, she will take the audience inside the marriage education classroom to reveal how healthy marriage policy promotes the idea that preventing poverty depends on individuals’ abilities to learn about skilled love, a strategy that assumes individuals can learn to love in line with long-term marital commitment by developing rational romantic values, emotional competencies, and interpersonal habits. She will ultimately show how the teaching of skilled love is a misguided political strategy intended to prevent risky and financially costly relationship choices and to provide the ostensible link between marriage and financial stability. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race and Gender, Departent of Sociology and Gender & Women's Studies, UC Berkeley

 

Fall 2016

 

September 2016

Wednesday, September 21 | 4:00-5:30pm

CER Colloquia Series:

The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream

Steve Viscelli, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Long-haul trucks have been described as sweatshops on wheels. The typical long-haul trucker works the equivalent of two full-time jobs, often for little more than minimum wage. But it wasn’t always this way. Trucking used to be one of the best working-class jobs in the United States.  Deregulation and collective action by employers transformed trucking’s labor markets--once dominated by the largest and most powerful union in US history--into an important example of the costs of contemporary labor markets for workers and the general public.

This talk will explain how this massive degradation in the quality of work occurred, and how companies achieve a compliant and dedicated workforce despite it.  It is based on more than 100 in-depth interviews and years of extensive observation, including six months spent training and working as a long-haul trucker.  

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

**Steve Viscelli’s book, The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream, will be available for sale and signing at this event.

Co-sponsored by Center for Labor Research and Education

 

Thursday, September 29 | 4:00-5:30pm

CER Colloquia Series:

The Neighborhood Has Its Own Rules: Latinos and African Americans in South Los Angeles

Cid Martinez, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of San Diego

The talk highlights two key ideas from the book.  First, urban America can no longer be viewed in terms of black-white.   An alternative framework is introduced to begin to understand black and Latino interracial relations in urban poor neighborhoods.  Second, in the face of weak ties to the state (i.e., law enforcement and local government), alternative governance has arisen in black and Latino South Los Angeles in the response to high levels of violence.

South Los Angeles is often seen as ground zero for inter-racial conflict and violence in the United States. Since the 1940s, South LA has been predominantly a low-income African American neighborhood, and yet since the early 1990s Latino immigrants—mostly from Mexico and many undocumented—have moved in record numbers to the area. Given that more than a quarter million people live in South LA and that poverty rates exceed 30 percent, inter-racial conflict and violence surprises no one. The real question is: why hasn't there been more? Through vivid stories and interviews, The Neighborhood Has Its Own Rules provides an answer to this question.  

Based on in-depth ethnographic field work collected when the author, Cid Martinez, lived and worked in schools in South Central, this study reveals the day-to-day ways in which vibrant social institutions in South LA— its churches, its local politicians, and even its gangs—have reduced conflict and kept violence to a level that is manageable for its residents. Martinez argues that inter-racial conflict has not been managed through any coalition between different groups, but rather that these institutions have allowed established African Americans and newcomer Latinos to co-exist through avoidance—an under-appreciated strategy for managing conflict that plays a crucial role in America's low-income communities. Ultimately, this book proposes a different understanding of how neighborhood institutions are able to mitigate conflict and violence through several community dimensions of informal social controls.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology 

 

March 2016

Friday, March 4 | All Day

CER presents:

Innovations in Ethnographic Methodology Symposium

For more information, please visit the symposium website.

Shining a spotlight on ethnography as a method, this symposium brings together scholars from the US and the UK to show the possibilities of the ethnographic method and how it can be used in conjunction with other research methods. The presenters focus on various stages of ethnographic research, from field notes to data analysis to representing findings, and on different dimensions, from time to the digital domain.

Wildavsky Room, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley

 

April 2016

April 2-3 | 9:00–5:00pm

CER Workshop:

Practical Qualitative Data Analysis in ATLAS.ti

Corey Abramson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona 

This workshop will provide both a conceptual background and practical experience in computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) using ATLAS.ti. The workshop begins by examining the core elements common to all CAQDA, regardless of methodological orientation, discipline/profession, or platform. After instruction in the fundamental aspects of CAQDA, the course turns to the logic of the ATLAS.ti program, and how it functions as a tool for CAQDA. The workshop consists of both instruction and hands-on exercises in ATLAS.ti. By the end of the course, participants will have all the conceptual and practical tools necessary to employ ATLAS.ti in their current or future projects involving qualitative data. There is a fee for this workshop. For more information and registration, click here.

 

May 2016

Tuesday, May 3 | 4:00–5:30pm

ISSI Colloquia Series:

Through a Reparative Logic of Seizure: Crime and Citizenship in Jamaica

Jovan Scott Lewis, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Geography, UC Berkeley

This talk presents a complex interplay of colonial histories, class and race relations, and national interests through the recently popularized practices of “lottery” scamming in Jamaica.  The scam, which uses identity data and internet telephony to con middle-class, white Americans, functions as a reconfigured variant of call center work.  Scamming in this form demonstrates globalized, liberal capitalism in the developing world as a resource to be manipulated and exploited.  This assertion is explored by examining the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology used in the scam, and their wireless connections beyond Jamaica, and how the technology opens up a space in which transnational relations of capital and understandings of citizenship in Jamaica are reimagined through a virtual maneuvering of capital and identity.  This talk will show how that process illustrates a reparative logic of seizure that inverts the contours of social interaction between the United States and Jamaica, while seizing and catalyzing the long-defined flows of commerce.  

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

 

2015

 

September 2015

Thursday, September 17 | 12:00–1:30pm

CER Colloquia Series:

Wheelchair Politics: Disability and Violent Masculinities within a Gang

Laurence Ralph, Associate Professor, Anthropology and African and African American Studies, Harvard University

My paper argues that, while admirable, the focus on assuaging social difference within the disability right’s movement has served to obscure key distinctions within disabled communities along the axes of race, socioeconomic status, and gender. While the larger community of disabled activists tends to use the social model of disability, in which there is multiple ways to view ability and physical capacities are not devalued, disabled ex-gang members rely on a medical model of disability that highlights physical differences rather than diminishing them. Here we see what happens when several wheelchair-bound ex-gang members use their life stories to try and steer other young gang members away from a gang’s reliance on sacrifice and vengeance. The fact that they are willing to insist on the defectiveness of their own bodies as a way to deter gun violence is an example of the sheer magnitude of problems with which poor African Americans must contend, and the sheer burden that violence creates in urban Chicago.

Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and Department of Anthropology

 

September 19-20 | 9:00am–5:00pm

CER Workshop:

Practical Qualitative Data Analysis in ATLAS.ti

Corey Abramson, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Arizona 

This workshop will provide both a conceptual background and practical experience in computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) using ATLAS.ti. The workshop begins by examining the core elements common to all CAQDA, regardless of methodological orientation, discipline/profession, or platform. After instruction in the fundamental aspects of CAQDA, the course turns to the logic of the ATLAS.ti program, and how it functions as a tool for CAQDA. The workshop consists of both instruction and hands-on exercises in ATLAS.ti. By the end of the course, participants will have all the conceptual and practical tools necessary to employ ATLAS.ti in their current or future projects involving qualitative data. 

Space is limited, so register early. Learn more here.

 

October 2015

Thursday, October 8 | 4:00–5:30pm

CER Images from the Field Series:

Using Visual Methods to Learn about Human Rights Violations under Dictatorship

Jacqueline Adams, Senior Researcher, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Researchers can use a number of visual methods, in conjunction with other qualitative methods, to yield fruitful data and findings about human rights violations under dictatorship. This paper employs a case study to demonstrate how this may be done, focusing on research that formed the basis of the book Surviving Dictatorship: A Work of Visual Sociology by Jacqueline Adams (Routledge, 2012), on shantytown mothers’ experiences of state violence, exacerbated poverty, human rights activism, and collective, income-earning strategies during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. The methods discussed include the analysis of drawings and text in ephemera produced by shantytown inhabitants (flyers dropped in the street, posters advertising resistance-oriented cultural events, and the bulletins of groups formed to cope with poverty); the collection and analysis of photographs from human rights organization bulletins, exile organization newsletters, left-leaning magazines, memoirs, and academic books and articles; the photographing and thematic analysis of dissident art works produced by shantytown women, relatives of the disappeared, political prisoners, and Chilean exiles; photo elicitation (interviews based on photographs); and “art elicitation” (asking research subjects to explain the dissident art works that they are producing, and to talk about art by others). These five visual methods, together with semi-structured interviews and participant observation, produced rich data about shantytown experiences of dictatorship, human rights activism, and collective income-earning.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

 

Tuesday, October 13 | 4:00–5:30pm

ISSI Colloquia Series:

The End Game: How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years

Corey Abramson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona 

Growing old presents physical problems for everyone. However, when these problems occur and how people confront them are mediated by inequalities that reflect persistent socioeconomic, racial, and gender divides. The End Game (Harvard University Press 2015) shows how inequality structures social life in old age - and what examining old age can tell us about the mechanisms of inequality more generally. This talk explains how and why health disparities, unequal material resources, social networks, and culture extend inequality into seniors’ final years and ultimately shape the strategies that may or may not enable people to persevere.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethnographic Research

 

Wednesday, October 14 | 4:00–5:30pm

CER Images from the Field Series:

Motel Ethnography Revisited

Ann Swidler, Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley

The usual ideal for ethnographers is deep immersion for a long period in one place – a village, neighborhood, or street corner. In stories and pictures, I describe the advantages of a more fluid, accidental set of encounters, following deepening ties over years of shorter interludes, staying in motels, not villages. Motels in rural Malawi were an ideal location for understanding the encounters of AIDS NGOs with those they sought to transform through workshops and trainings. But the “motel” is also a metaphor for a certain way of doing ethnography, revisiting people and places over many years, seeing lives unfold in surprising ways. I also highlight what one learns when one is more than a neutral observer. Analysis focuses on the aid industry, local experiences of the AIDS epidemic, the role of malice and mistrust (as well as “miracles”) in Africans’ lives, and the pervasive role of patron-client ties in sub-Saharan African societies.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

 

March 2015

Wednesday, March 4 | 4:00–5:30pm

CER Colloquia Series:

Reflections on “Ground up” Ethnography

Ruth Horowitz, Professor of Sociology, New York University 

Although ethnographies require some use of the technique of participant observation to be “ethnographies,” several different ethnographic methods are possible. By “methods” I mean the way questions are constructed, how the research process evolves, where and when “theory” enters the process, what theory is, and how the written product is developed. Broadly speaking, methods have been characterized as hypothesis testing, theory reconstruction, or theory development. In practice, these variations in methods have less meaning when we try to employ them to construct a project. I will use some of my experiences in three different ethnographies to lay out the method that is often seen as affiliated with symbolic interactionism, the term coined by Herbert Blumer in 1937 based on the writings of George H. Mead. The method is frequently referred to as “grounded theory” proposed by Glaser and Strauss. The process of arriving at a written product is distinct from that envisioned by positivism or the extended case method. Nevertheless, in practice, the method often looks different than the discussion by Glaser and Strauss of what “grounded theory” should be.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology

 

March 14–15 | 9:00am–5:00pm

CER Workshop:

Practical Qualitative Data Analysis in ATLAS.ti

This workshop will provide both a conceptual background and practical experience in computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) using ATLAS.ti. The workshop begins by examining the core elements common to all CAQDA, regardless of methodological orientation, discipline/profession, or platform. After instruction in the fundamental aspects of CAQDA, the course turns to the logic of the ATLAS.ti program, and how it functions as a tool for CAQDA. The workshop consists of both instruction and hands-on exercises in ATLAS.ti. By the end of the course, participants will have all the conceptual and practical tools necessary to employ ATLAS.ti in their current or future projects involving qualitative data. 

Space is limited, so register early. Learn more here.

Co-sponsored by the D-Lab

 

April 2015

Thursday, April 9 | 4:00–5:30pm

CER Colloquia Series:

Loyalty Trumps Exit in Voice: How the Philippines became the World's Call Center Capital

Jeff Sallaz, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona

Voice offshoring is basically synonymous with Indian call centers. But in fact, the Philippines has supplanted India as the world's "call center capital." This paper draws on participant observation and in-depth interviews among Filipino call center agents to elucidate what differentiates the Philippines as a site of investment. Specifically, I show that the Filipino outsourcing industry boasts extraordinarily low attrition rates. But why do Filipino employees stay in these notoriously bad jobs? I argue that call center work represents a sensible labor market strategy: a "middle path" between poorly-paid local jobs and treacherous employment as a migrant contract laborer. Disadvantaged women and gay men have been especially savvy about taking advantage of this new labor market path.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Center for Research on Social Change

 

2013

 

November 2013

Wednesday, November 13 | 4:00-5:30pm

The Stickup Kids:  Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream

Randol Contreras, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, CSU Fullerton

Randol Contreras came of age in the South Bronx during the 1980s, a time when the community was devastated by cuts in social services, a rise in arson and abandonment, and the rise of crack-cocaine. For this riveting book, he returns to the South Bronx with a sociological eye and provides an unprecedented insider’s look at the workings of a group of Dominican drug robbers. Known on the streets as "Stickup Kids," these men raided and brutally tortured drug dealers storing large amounts of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and cash. As a participant observer, Randol Contreras offers both a personal and theoretical account for the rise of the Stickup Kids and their violence. He mainly focuses on the lives of neighborhood friends, who went from being crack dealers to drug robbers once their lucrative crack market opportunities disappeared. The result is a stunning, vivid, on-the-ground ethnographic description of a drug robbery’s violence, the drug market high life, the criminal life course, and the eventual pain and suffering experienced by the casualties of the Crack Era. Provocative and eye-opening, The Stickup Kids urges us to explore the ravages of the drug trade through weaving history, biography, social structure, and drug market forces. It offers a revelatory explanation for drug market violence by masterfully uncovering the hidden social forces that produce violent and self-destructive individuals. Part memoir, part penetrating analysis, this book is engaging, personal, deeply informed, and entirely absorbing.

 

April 2013

Thursday, April 18 | 4:00-5:30pm

Two Regimes of HIV/AIDS:  Black Americans' Exclusion and Inclusion in the Disease Discourse and Prevention Field

Kevin M. Moseby, UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow, UC San Francisco, Department of Social and Behavioral Studies

Today within the United States, HIV/AIDS is understood to disproportionally affect black Americans; and, over the course of the epidemic, black Americans slowly, but surely have become central objects of U.S. public health prevention efforts.  Additionally, black Americans are also now influential actors and advocates in the HIV/AIDS prevention field.  These facts contrast earlier moments of the epidemic when surveillance data, along with more general understandings and responses to the epidemic, centered on white gay males.  Moseby draws on the concept disease regimes and utilises a critical analysis of public health/biomedical publications, interviews with CDC officials and black American activists, and participant observation at HIV prevention conferences to anchor a socio-historical examination of the politics of race in the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic.  He argues, in regard to the discourse and prevention field’s interpellation of black Americans, we can analytically distinguish two temporal configurations: the “regime of exclusion” (1981-1992) and the “regime of inclusion” (1993-present day).  In this talk Moseby scrutinizes some of the institutional and discursive practices that constitute each regime, and—in opposition to explanations that center progress in the science of AIDS—highlight important socio-political factors that contributed to changing the color of HIV/AIDS.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley  

 

February 2013

Thursday, February 21 | 4:00-5:30pm

A Panel Discussion on David Montejano’s Recently Published Book “Sancho’s Journal: Exploring the Political Edge with the Brown Berets”

David Montejano, Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Discussants:

Bob Blauner, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, UC Berkeley

Waldo E. Martin, Professor of History, UC Berkeley

Gerano M. Padilla, Professor of English, UC Berkeley

In Sancho's Journal, David Montejano revists the experience that set him on his scholary quest - "hanging out" as a participant-observer with the South Side Berets of San Antonio as the chapter formed in 1974.  Sancho's Journal presents a rich ethnography of daily life among the "batos locos" (crazy guys) as they joined the Brown Berets and became associated with the greater Chicano movement.  Montejano describes the motivations that brought young men into the group and shows how they learned to link their individual troubles with the larger issues of social inequality and discrimination that the movement sought to redress.  He also recounts his own journey as a scholar who came to relize that, before he could tell this street-level story, he had to understand the larger history of Mexican Americans and their struggle for a place in U.S. society. Sancho's Journal completes that epic story. Anna Head Alumnae Hall, 2537 Haste Street

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley  

 

2012

 

November 2012

Thursday, November 8 | 4:00-5:30pm

Understanding Cancer Treatment Trajectories Using Arrays of Ethnographic Data: Approaches and Implications

Daniel Dohan, Associate Professor Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies Associate Director for Training and Development, PRL-IHPS

Identifying narrative clusters and causal mechanisms is a longstanding challenge in qualitative research, and systematic approaches for doing so remain underutilized by ethnographers. This talk will discuss how microarray analysis – a technique used in the biological sciences to display and discover regularities in large data sets – might be used to enhance ethnographic causal analysis. Data are from the Patient Deliberation study, an NIH-funded ethnographic study of treatment choices by patients with advanced cancer that includes patient and family interviews, clinic observations, provider interviews, and observations of provider meetings. The patient deliberation study experiences analytical challenges common in ethnography: voluminous unstructured data, a desire to preserve longitudinal and narrative continuity, and a need to identify causation within and across analytic levels. The talk will demonstrate how to construct and interpret an array and will discuss some of the implications of using this approach in ethnographic and other kinds of qualitative or mixed-methods research.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley

 

October 2012

Wednesday, October 31 | 4:00-5:30pm

Human Hardware: How Everyday Prosthetic Legs Become Legitimate Human Body Parts

Cynthia Schairer, Doctoral Candidate, University of California, San Diego

During the London Olympic Games this summer, Oscar Pistorius attracted much attention when he became the first double amputee to compete in Olympic Track and Field. Commentary about Pistorius’ accomplishments and the controversy surrounding the possible advantage of his running prostheses represent a contemporary fascination with users of artificial legs who challenge the meaning of disability and bodily normality. Advances in prosthetics have also inspired academics to question the role of bodies – and their relations to technologies – in the constitution of human identities in contemporary culture. Some scholars write with excitement about the possibilities of a new age of cyborgs and hybrids, while others see bodily technologies as simply extending the modern mandate for control over self-identity. 

This talk addresses if and how these new interpretations of disability, bodies, and identity are reflected in the experiences of everyday people who use artificial legs.  Using data from interviews and ethnographic observation of adults who use artificial legs, Schairer will discuss the conditions under which prosthetic legs come to be accepted as legitimate body parts. Artificial legs need not resemble organic legs in order to be credible, but they do need to conform to standards of function and appearance that vary depending on the identity of the user. While ordinary amputees do appear to enjoy greater acceptance much as celebrity-amputees do, this comes at a price; Users interviewed for this study related instances where they faced pressure to demonstrate athletic interest and ability that would have never been expected of amputees 30 years ago. Thus, an increasing social acceptance of amputations and prostheses does allow amputees to present their artificial limbs with pride, but also, paradoxically, obscures the work of living with disability.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley

 

Wednesday, October 10 | 4:00-5:30pm

The Unequal End-Game: How Culture and Structure Shape Our Final Years

Corey M. Abramson, Ph.D.  

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco; Research Associate, Center for Ethnographic Research, University of California, Berkeley

Growing old presents physical problems for everyone. However, when these problems occur and how people confront them are mediated by inequalities that reflect persistent socioeconomic, racial, and gender divides. Some people respond to the challenges of old age, such as declining health or the death of loved ones, by deploying their wealth, social ties, and education. Others face the same problems with many fewer resources. Consequently, old age reflects inequalities both past and present. Drawing on three years of participant observation in four urban neighborhoods and 60 in-depth interviews with seniors from diverse backgrounds, Abramson’s study shows how inequality structures social life in old age—and what examining old age can tell us about inequality more generally. This talk explains how and why unequal resources, social networks, and culture extend inequality into seniors’ final years and ultimately shape the strategies they use to persevere.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley

 
Center for Ethnographic Research
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University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-5670
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