With more than 500 million users, Facebook is the dominant force in the relatively new and rapidly evolving field of online social networking.  If you’re one of the few who have managed to abstain from the online craze that consumes more than 700 billion minutes of users time each month, don’t assume you’re out of social networking’s grasp. 

“Social media sites like Facebook have made many people more aware of how their relationships are linked to others by making invisible ties visible,” says Carter Butts, UCI sociology associate professor.  "But the study of social networks is about much more than Facebook.  It's about uncovering the social fabric that structures our everyday lives." 

For the past 11 years, he has studied how social networks operate and their effects in both the real and virtual worlds.  Over the course of his research, he has uncovered some surprising findings on topics ranging from  how leaders emerge in times of crisis to the role of timing on the spread of information and infectious diseases

At the 2010 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), Butts was recognized for his research accomplishments with the Leo Goodman Award.  The honor, awarded by the association’s Section on Methodology, is their highest for researchers no more than 15 years past Ph.D. completion.  

Joining Butts in receiving recognition at the four-day August meeting in Atlanta were several of his UCI colleagues including:

  • Elizabeth Chiarello, sociology graduate student, received an honorable mention for the James D. Thompson Award for Graduate Student Paper, awarded by ASA’s Section on Organizations, Occupations, and Work, for her paper titled  "Challenging Professional Self-Regulation: Social Movement Influence on Pharmacy Rulemaking in Washington State."
  • Valerie Jenness, criminology, law & society professor, affiliated sociology professor, and School of Social Ecology dean, received the American Sociological Association Public Understanding of Sociology Award in recognition of her scholarly work documenting the social movement behind hate crimes laws, and her growing expertise and participation in policy-making. 
  • Rubén Rumbaut, sociology professor, received the Inaugural Claude S. Fisher Award for Excellence in the ASA journal Contexts for his article “Immigration’s Complexities, Assimilation’s Discontents” in which he addresses the gaps between public perception and facts on immigration.
  • Judith Treas, sociology professor, received the ASA Section on Aging and Life Course's highest honor, the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award, for her work in the field of aging and life course.

The national meeting was attended by many UCI sociology faculty and graduate students, several of whom presented research, presided over committees and were elected into new positions within the association.  Click here for a full list of award winners and new office holders. 

“Through their tenure and leadership positions with ASA and on-going research in the field of sociology, UCI scholars are guiding the future of sociological teaching and research,” says David John Frank, sociology professor and newly appointed department chair.

Want to learn more about interesting sociological research happening at UCI?  Check out UCI sociology online to learn how professionally successful couples balance marriage and careers , whether current economic and social conditions might be ripe for a new labor movement , and which current factors are having the biggest impact on diversity in the U.S.  


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