My sociological research is about EMPOWERMENT...
As a Sociology professor, my scholarly inquiries address broad questions on how social institutions play a pivotal role in how we construct our self-identities. My approach to designing and disseminating research imbues my expertise in social movements and social psychology to empower and equip communities with knowledge and create a more educated, critically-thinking, vibrant and respectful civil society.
My most recent research analyzes how tobacco advertisements operate under-the-radar and, through the social media app Instagram, creates a vulnerability that public health professional and policymakers need to be aware of if we want to minimize tobacco addiction in young adults. This article is forthcoming from Social Media and Society, and a link will be available when the article is in proof.
My other recent publications show how and why the tobacco industry creates cigarette brand identities in symmetry with target market identities so that the cigarette brand is linked so closely with young adult lifestyles and identities that it is almost as addictive as the nicotine. My research goals are to empower the reader to make meaningful changes in their lives as we seek alternative ways for corporations to transform positively the lives of stakeholders, instead of just stockholders.
(Accurate as of August 2018)
Additional Select Publications
In addition to the articles I provide in the section above, I provide some select research publications found on my Curriculum Vita.
Feel free to use the Contact Me if you have questions on sourcing my other articles and professional presentations.
Smoking Selfies (2018)
Our research provides social scientists with areas of inquiry in tobacco-related health disparities in young adult women and opportunities for intervention, as Instagram may be a powerful tool for the public health surveillance of smoking behavior and social norms among young women. We conducted a content analysis of a sample of smoking imagery drawn from Instagram’s public API from August 2014 – July 2015. The “cool” images of smoking and vaping may counteract public health efforts to denormalize smoking, and young women are bearing the brunt of this under-the-radar tobacco advertising. Social media further normalizes tobacco use because positive images and brand messaging are easily seen and shared, operating as unpaid advertising on image-based platforms like Instagram. These findings portend a dangerous trend for young women in the absence of effective public health intervention strategies.
Enticing the New Lad (2011)
In “Enticing the New Lad…,” as lead-author, I demonstrated how an industry promoted and defined masculinity as a product of consumption by linking tobacco use with the lifestyles of young men in the 1990s. I analyzed previously-secret tobacco industry documents and the content and semiotic analyzes of two tobacco-industry produced magazines that were distributed to millions of young adult men from the late 1990s and early 2000s to promote their tobacco brands. These magazines exhibited similar themes previously reported to typify ‘new lad’ magazines, with risky behaviors in the forefront. I built upon the existing masculinity literature by providing insight into how corporations study and interpret cultural constructions of masculinity, and then use masculinity as both a vehicle and product of consumption. By linking cigarette brand identities with social constructions of masculinity, the tobacco industry can make the tobacco product as much a part of a man as his masculinity, so that to quit smoking means to “quit himself.”
Lifestyle Magazines (2009)
As lead-author, I was the first to describe the tobacco industry’s objectives developing and publishing men’s lifestyle magazines, linking them to tobacco marketing strategies, and how these magazines use cultural symbols and brand imagery to encourage smoking in young adult men—despite there being a lack of tobacco product and smoking imagery in the magazines. This work integrated my analysis of thousands of pages of previously-secret tobacco industry documents, and both semiotic (the analysis of messages in advertising and textual imagery) and content analyses of tobacco industry-produced lifestyle magazines targeting young adult men to uncover the strategic use of gender in brand development and marketing.