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Sociology Research

Seeking the Moral Community: Religion, Deviance, and Well-Being Among American University Students

PI: Dr. Jerry Koch, Professor
Co-PI for Data Management and Analysis:
Dr. Al Roberts, Professor

Project Dates: On-going, 2010–2013.
Project Funding:  E.A. Franklin Charitable Trust, $107,965

Summary: The objective of this research is to survey approximately 5,000–6,000 American university students at 12 different schools in order to compare trends and tendencies regarding their religious beliefs and practices, deviant behavior, and measures of their emotional well-being. Initial findings and analyses may be found on the Moral Community Project Web Page.



The Body Art Team

Co-PIs: Dr. Jerry Koch, Professor and Dr. Al Roberts, Professor

Project Dates: On-going, 1999 to present.

Summary: The Body Art Team is a small group of scholars that, in the Fall of 1999, began gathering data regarding college students' attitudes toward, and experiences with tattoos and body piercing.  The team’s work is interdisciplinary.  The research has been published in journals for sociologists, psychologists, nurses, and physicians, and has been quoted or cited by Time, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and National Geographic Magazine.  More information about the project is available on the Body Art Team’s website.


Body Art

US Skilled Immigrants: Education and the Life Course

PI: Dr. Cristina Bradatan, Assistant Professor

Project Dates: On-going, September 1, 2008 to present.
Project Funding: Research Enhancement Fund, TTU, $29,126 (REF funding 1 September 2008 through 31 August 2009)

Summary: While Canada and Australia choose their immigrants based on the job market needs, the great majority of US immigrants are accepted based on family connections. It has been argued that the US immigration law needs to change by limiting the number of poorly educated immigrants and promoting the entry of the skilled ones, which have fewer chances to fell below poverty level, contribute more through their taxes to the federal, state and local budgets and integrate better in the American society.

This study intends to research the effects of education level on the life course of immigrants. The question behind this project is a policy related one: are indeed the skilled immigrants likely to do better than the low skilled immigrants on the US job market? Do they achieve similar incomes and status as the natives? Are they less exposed to spells of unemployment? Or is rather that the US market more in need of unskilled immigrants, who would do the jobs Americans no longer want to do?

This project has resulted in the development of two articles, one forthcoming (Cristina Brãdãţan, A. Popan, R. Melton.2010. “Trans-nationality as a fluid social identity”, Social Identities, 16(2)) and one accepted as a book chapter (Cristina Brãdãţan, László J. Kulcsár. “When the educated leave the East: Romanian and Hungarian immigration to the United States”, in C. Armbruster (ed). Graduating as a Migrant? Professional and Labour Mobility since 1989, Amsterdam University Press).



Gülen Movement in Southeast Turkey

Co-PIs: Dr. Paul Johnson, Professor and Dr. Mark Webb, Professor (Philosophy)

Project Dates: On-going, May 2008–present.
Project Funding: Institute of Interfaith Dialogue, Houston, Texas

Summary: The Gülen movement is a religiously inspired Turkish social movement oriented toward scientific and moral education, intercultural and interfaith dialogue, and various forms of service in Turkey and in other countries. These goals are implemented through a system of private schools in Turkey and elsewhere, sponsorship of goodwill tours of Turkey for visitors invited from other countries, assistance to poor families, and numerous other projects. During the summer of 2008, Paul Johnson and Mark Webb conducted interviews with major financial sponsors and with teachers, administators, and students in movement schools in three cities in southeastern Turkey. Results from the project have been presented at the 2009 annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society, the Southwestern Sociological Society, and the Religious Research Assocication, and data analysis is continuing.



Urban Network: Global and Local

Co-PIs: Dr. Yung-mei Tsai, Professor

Project Dates: On-going, 2008–present.

Summary: This research project in collaboration with colleagues from the Academia Sinica (a sociologist and a geographer) and National Taiwan University (an engineer) in Taiwan is a large project that includes several sub-subjects. Included among these are: (1) Effects of National Highway System on Urban and Regional Development in Taiwan; (2) Stratification and mobility of the top 50 cities in the US in the post War era; (3) Dynamic urban hierarchy in four nations: a vacancy chain analysis; (4) Tokyo, Taipei and Seoul : The patterns of domination of the primate cities in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea; and (5) Global urban networks: Measures and stratification.