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Sociology Majors Awarded All Three Prizes in Midwest Sociological Society Paper Competitions

February 07, 2012

CATEGORY: College News
RELATED STORIES: Macalester Sociology Majors Sweep Prizes in Midwest Sociological Society Paper Competitions, Intimacy and Belonging: The Association between Sexual Activity and Depression among Older Adults, Go-go Dancers, Arabic, and YouTube
RELATED PROGRAMS: Sociology

Kate Lanning, Jeremy Carp, and Chloe Souza
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St. Paul, Minn. - Senior sociology majors Jeremy Carp, Kate Lanning, and Chloe Souza have won the top three prizes at the 48th Annual Midwest Sociological Society Student Paper Competition.  Carp received first prize, Lanning placed second, and Souza was awarded third prize by the Midwest Sociological Society.

In his first-prize paper “Fermented Origins: The Emergence of State-Level Alcoholic Beverage Regulation in the Post-Prohibition Era, 1933-1935,” Carp examined why different states adopted one of two models for regulating alcohol after the repeal of prohibition. Carp’s paper drew on a range of data that he collected about state-level characteristics, including prevalence of the alcohol industry, previous enforcement efforts, and demographic, religious, and voting characteristics. Using fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, Carp, from Portland, Ore., found that state-level variation reflected population characteristics and institutional-level experiences with regulation. In addition, the paper used in-depth information to put these changes in context. This analysis offered new insights into the relationship between national and state-level power structures, suggesting that elite-generated agendas at the national level constrained state-level decision-making, and that subnational choices of regulatory models, although superficially adapted to various local characteristics, reinforced the power and interests of capitalist elites.

Lanning completed a series of in-depth interviews to gather the data for her second-prize winning paper “Time for Myself, Time for Others: Gender Differences in the Meaning of Retirement.” Lanning, from Stillwater, Minn., built on prior research that demonstrated the importance of work for self-identity and the influence of gendered processes on how people experience work. She interviewed retired and working older adults and found that most participants had great satisfaction in retirement and that leaving behind a workplace-based identity typically was not a significant barrier to satisfaction. Rather, in retrospect, work had become an intrusion on other valued activities. Despite this overall pattern, however, Lanning found gender differences between older men and women for the types of activities in retirement that fostered happiness and identity. Older women often found these benefits in the context of meeting family obligations that they felt often had to take second priority to work, while older men emphasized that they had time for individual interests that they had to de-emphasize while working. 

Souza’s paper “‘Because this is not the End:’ Motivation and Change in People Living with HIV/AIDS” was awarded third prize.  It examined how people living with HIV/AIDS sought to pursue health promotion through behavioral changes. Drawing on data from in-depth semi-structured interviews, Souza, from Los Angeles, Calif., found that people’s perceptions of social support and the importance of an HIV/AIDS diagnosis to their status had great influence on their subsequent behavior in relation to diet, exercise, medical treatment, and interpersonal relationships. As individuals became more proactive for their own health, they also came to view their status as an important asset in helping others or improving public policy. Souza’s analysis helped to inform service providers and policymakers about how to allocate resources to support people living with HIV/AIDS.

Carp, Lanning, and Souza will receive their prizes and present their papers at the Annual Meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society in Minneapolis in March.

The Midwest Sociological Society (MSS), founded in 1936, is a professional organization of academic and applied sociologists as well as students of the discipline. While the MSS membership area formally includes nine states - Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, South Dakota and North Dakota - more than one-third of the members are from other parts of the nation and the world.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,978 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement.  Learn more at macalester.edu