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Sociology and Criminology & Law

Sociology Grads

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Julia Arroyo

Degrees Earned:
  • B.A. Sociology, Bowling Green State University
  • M.A. Sociology, University of Florida

Research  and Teaching Interests: 
  • Children and Youth
  • Families
  • Race and Ethnicity

  • Dissertation Title: Raising grandchildren: Navigating paths, mitigating costs, and managing presence.

    Abstract: At any given time, about 2% of children in the United States reside in a household with grandparents and no coresiding biological parents, commonly labeled as grandparents raising grandchildren (Dunifon, Ziol‐Guest, and Kopko, 2014). Evidence shows that most households in which grandparents raise grandchildren come about through a transition in household membership (i.e., a parent, child, or grandchild enters or exits a household), and that further household transitions beyond the initial one are common (Pilkauskas & Dunifon, 2015). In other words, grandparents don’t often have primary care responsibilities for their grandchildren at their birth, and they don’t always retain primary care responsibilities upon assuming them. Yet, little research asks how grandparents raising grandchildren care arrangements come about or how they dissolve once they do. Given the relevance of these care pathways for caregiver and child well-being, I set out to address this gap. To do so, I gathered two types of data. For several months, I observed interactions among grandparents and practitioners at organizations which provide services and supports to current and prospective relative caregivers (predominantly grandparents). In addition, I interviewed 20 grandmothers who were raising or who had raised grandchildren in Central Florida. Using interpretive analytic techniques, I find that the evolution and dissolution of grandparents raising grandchildren care arrangements is driven by grandmothers’ negotiations in their formal and informal networks. Further, grandchildren’s biological parents hold symbolic and, in most cases, legal power, making them key stakeholders in care negotiations. As such, grandmothers’ ability to negotiate parental authority with grandchildren’s parents and parent-facing systems largely sets the tempo of care transitions. Given this, entrances into raising grandchildren can be more or less extended and exits can be prompted despite grandmothers’ perceptions that this is not in grandchildren’s best interest. In some cases, grandmothers negotiate cooperatively with grandchildren’s parents and provide temporary care while parents manage adversities or fulfill conflicting responsibilities. In other cases, grandmothers slide into primary care without explicit negotiations, only coming to realize they are raising grandchildren after they have been doing so for quite some time. In many cases, grandmothers enter into primary care over an extended period during which they come to perceive grandchildren to be at risk of harm while in parents’ care, but are unsuccessful in negotiating with grandchildren’s parents to assume care. On this pathway, many grandmothers attempt to activate a child protective system response, but find that the system’s child safety standards and care strategies are misaligned with their own. Across pathways, when grandmothers’ fail to acquire or maintain parental authority through informal or formal negotiations, care entrances are tenuous and care arrangements remain open to undesired churning and dissolution. Despite feeling considerable strain, many grandmothers develop strategies to protect grandchildren’s well-being in the context of extended entrances, repeated care transitions, and abrupt dissolutions. These findings provide an in-depth portrait of grandmothers’ diverse pathways into and out of raising grandchildren and point to a need to move beyond using household membership status to proxy the accomplishment of family care and understand its impacts. Future research should examine the impact of care pathways on individual and family well-being in the context of grandparents raising grandchildren.
    CV (PDF)

    Kim Fleming Wingard

    Degrees Earned
    • M.A., 2011, Sociology, Middle Tennessee State University
    • B.S., 2009, Double Major in Sociology and Psychology.Magna cum Laude. Jacksonville State University, Alabama
    Research and Teaching Interests
    • Sociological Theory
    • Marriage and Family
    • Health and Aging
    • Medical Sociology
    • Sociology of Religion

    Dissertation TitleInterpersonal Relationship History and Pre-Death Grief among Hospice Families: A Mixed Methods Study

    Dissertation Abstract: The miracle of modern medicine has made it possible for people to live longer than any other time in recorded history. It has also led to fewer sudden deaths and more chronic illness with greater warning periods prior to death (Lynn 2005). When a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness, their lives and those of their loved ones undergo a drastic and permanent change. Individuals struggle to understand the implications of the news and the finality of its outcome. During this critical time, the diagnosed and their family members alike experience physical, emotional, and social symptoms of grief. This study suggests that there is a correlation between interpersonal relationship history and the ability of family members to grieve in a healthy way while supporting the dying and contributing to their ability to ‘die well.’ Employing a mixed methods approach, the current study aims to use personal interview data along with a previously proven grief inventory to determine whether strong relationship history leads to healthier grieving during the period at the end-of-life. The target sample for this study will be all volunteer and will include hospice patients (50+) and their loved ones (18+) and will focus on dyadic relationships more than family units. Being able to determine a connection between interpersonal relationship history and pre-death grief can assist future care workers in determining whether certain patients and/or loved ones may be susceptible to acute grieving processes.
    CV (DOC)
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    John Blasing

    Degrees Earned:
    • B.A. International Affairs, University of Colorado at Boulder 2008
    • M.A. Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin 2011

    Research and Teaching Interests:
    • Sociological Theory
    • Sociology of Sport
    • Political Sociology
    • Nationalism
    • Globalization
    • Turkey

    Dissertation Title:
    Nationalism and Civil Society in Globalizing Turkey: A Study of Soccer as a Sphere of Political Contestation

    Abstract: My dissertation research focuses on Turkish sport—in particular soccer—in the age of globalization. I specifically focus on the relationship between sports and nationalism in the context of the changing social dynamics in Turkey caused by the acceptance of—and wholesale entrance into—the globalized neoliberal system. The connection between sports and nationalism is central to this analysis because both simultaneously reflect and reject the discourse of modernity (which, in the current age, manifests itself in neoliberal globalism). Organized sport—with its rationalist emphasis on rules and statistics—reflects modernity while, at the same time, offering an escape from the rationalized world by offering an opportunity for the unrestrained display of emotion. The concept of nationalism is similar in that it is both a modern phenomenon, yet it also developed in response the dislocations created by modernity, including the destruction of traditional communities and other forms of social organization. This analysis is extremely pertinent at the current juncture, as the postmodern world is one characterized by a trend towards micro-politics. In this respect, sport is a space where the dichotomies of nationalism and globalism clash, along with related dichotomies including historical/modern, emotion/rational, individualism/communitarianism, and tradition-based ways of life versus consumption-based ways of life. In order to study the relationship between these aforementioned dichotomies, I focus on fan culture so as to better understand the role that football clubs play in civil society specifically and wider culture more generally. My research employs qualitative methods such as interviews with fans and participant observation at various sporting events in stadiums across Turkey.

    Stephanie Dhuman Giron

    Degrees Earned:
    • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, University of Florida, 2014
    • Master of Arts in Sociology, University of Florida, 2016

    Research Interests:
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Latinx Sociology
    • Immigration
    • Gender and Sexuality
    • Qualitative Methods

    Dissertation Title: Parallels and Paradoxes: Puerto Rican Migrant Experiences in Poinciana, Florida.

    Abstract: My current research focuses on migration and racial-ethnic identities and relations, particularly the experience of Puerto Rican migrants to Central Florida. My dissertation, Parallels and Paradoxes: Puerto Rican Migrant Experiences, is based in Poinciana, Florida, one of the communities with the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans outside of the island (37.7%). As an ethnic enclave in the suburban South, my dissertation sheds light on important distinctions between this new type of enclave and experiences within. This research draws on two years of fieldwork, archival research, and in-depth interviews with Puerto Rican and Black community members, to explore stratification, representation, and group relations within this emerging Puerto Rican ethnic enclave. I address how Puerto Ricans living in Poinciana experience racial-ethnic discrimination, intragroup relations amongst Puerto Ricans in the community, and cohesion or contestation between Puerto Rican and Black community members. As one of the country’s largest homeowner’s associations, I also explore racial-ethnic minority feelings of belonging and representation in this HOA of approximately 60,000 residents.