On the Market

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.