On the Market

Allison Gorga

Allison Gorga is a PhD candidate with plans to graduate in May of 2018 with a Certificate in College Teaching. Her main area of specialty is gender and punishment and is also interested in research on masculinities, gendered organizations, and penal reform. For her dissertation, Allison sought to understand how cultural attitudes about women, and prisoners more generally, become infused into penal practices. She discovered that rehabilitative ideologies were normative throughout the Iowa Department of Corrections and administrators actively promoted “evidence-based practices,” but what constituted rehabilitation was still contested. Due to severe fiscal constraints, criminal justice actors competed with one another for their “brand” of rehabilitative programming. When women prisoners were to be the recipients of this treatment, evidence based practices were more heavily disputed due in part to the male-centered nature of corrections, and gendered language about women offenders were evoked in attempts to secure funding and reduce punitive strategies.

Allison’s past research examined gender and relationships among individuals in a women’s prisons, and is also currently working on several projects examining the interpretation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. One such project is forthcoming in Advances in Gender Research that analyzed how the gendered organization of the prison, along with individuals’ gendered conceptualizations of rape and sexual assault, produced different interpretations of the Act in men's and women’s prisons.

In the future, Allison plans to continue conducting research on prison organizational practices, varied efforts to reduce recidivism, and penal reform. 

Hye Won Kwon

Hye Won Kwon is a Ph.D. candidate who anticipates fulfilling all of the degree requirements by May 2018. Hye Won studies how stratification is reproduced through psychological functioning, too often treated as idiosyncratic and too rarely tied to social structures. She is interested in exploring the social antecedents and consequences of how people see themselves, the social world, and the relationship between the two, with a special interest on its important role in maintaining or even solidifying social stratification across cultures.

Bridging social stratification, social psychology, and cross-cultural studies, Hye Won’s dissertation, titled “The Sociology of Grit: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Social Stratification,” examines the psychological concept of ‘grit’ across cultures and unveils the potential role of grit for understanding social stratification over and above other influential subjective measures. In the first empirical chapter of her dissertation, Hye Won analyzed data from four nations (the U.S., France, South Korea, and Turkey) and demonstrated grit’s linkage to the sense of control, the traditional measure of agency that is well-linked to a person’s structural position and life achievement. With this project, she has been selected as an associate researcher at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the Higher School of Economics in Russia.

Hye Won is currently completing data collection in the U.S. and Korea to demonstrate (a) the utility of a novel measure of grit that she developed to better measure a “behavioral” component of grit, (b) the potential role of parental socioeconomic status on the development of grit, and (c) an important role of the social valuation of grit in understanding cultural and structural variance, placing grit in the proper structural and cultural contexts. Her dissertation has received research funding from several sources, including The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and UIowa CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship.

In the future, Hye Won will continue collecting and analyzing survey data from different nations, aiming at empirically testing the basic proposition motivating her research; national culture sets a baseline for individual psychological functioning while stratification produces within-culture variance.