sociology

Yossef, Arie & Gustavo S. Mesch: The Spatial and Social Network Dimensions of Mobile Communication

Forthcoming, Communication Research 

A Test of the Social Stratification and Social Diversification Hypotheses

Abstract

ariemeschpdf

Studies have shown that ethnic segregation is conducive to social segregation. With the advent of information and communication technologies, mobile communication can support non-local social interactions and reconfigure the network composition of ethnic groups. This study focused on the similarities and differences between ethno-national groups in the structure of their cell phone communications. Data for this study includes a sample of 9,099 business customers’ mobile phone calls from an  Israeli mobile operator and tested two theoretical explanations. The social stratification approach predicts that mobile communication will reflect the patterns of spatial and social stratification that exist in society. On the other hand, the social diversification hypothesis expects that residentially and socially segregated minority groups will take advantage of mobile communication to diversify their social contacts and to engage in mobile communications with non-local and out-group ties. The findings suggest that in the information society both structural conditions (the stratification approach) and social incentives (the diversification approach) are relevant for the understanding of inter-ethnic mobile communication and structural conditions reduced inter-group mobile communication patterns. Nevertheless, the Arab Israeli minority was more likely than the Jewish Israeli majority to engage in mobile communication with non-local ties and out-group members.

The Arab Israeli minority was more likely than the Jewish Israeli majority to engage in mobile communication with non-local ties and out-group members. Yet, structural conditions reduced inter-group mobile communication patterns. The theoretical implications of the findings for inter-group mobile communication are discussed.

Keywords: mobile communication, ethnic social segregation, minority status and ICT, network diversification

Hagit Sasson, Gustavo Mesch. Parental Mediation, Peer Norms and Risky Online Behavior. Computers in Human Behavior 33 (2014) 32–38

Parental mediation, peer norms and risky online behavior among adolescents

Abstract

                                                                                                                      sassonmeschpdf

Previous studies have shown that parental mediation of adolescents online is associated with the latter’s participation in risky behavior online and being a victim of online harassment and bullying.  However, there is a paucity of studies investigating the differential contribution of peers’ norms and parental mediation on adolescents’ engagement in risky online behavior. To fill this gap in the literature, we collected data from a representative sample of 495 sixth to eleventh grade students in a large city in Israel. Participants responded to an online survey measuring three types of parental mediation: active guidance, restrictive supervision and non-intervention.  We measured risky behavior online with items indicating the frequency of posting personal details, sending an insulting massage and meeting face-to-face with a stranger met online. In addition, respondents reported their perceptions about their peers’ attitudes toward various risky online behaviors. Multivariate findings show that after controlling for age, gender, time spent online and online activities, only restrictive parental supervision had a significant effect. However, such supervision actually increased adolescents’ risky behavior online. Perceptions that one’s peers approve of such behavior reduced the effect of restrictive parental supervision, leading to increased risky actions online. The results emphasize the importance of peer networks in youngsters’ engagement in risky online activities.

New Paper Published in First Monday : Changes in the discourse of online hate blogs: The effect of Barack Obama’s election in 2008

This study examines the narrative strategies that the blogs of hate groups adopted before and after a central political event, namely, the 2008 election of President Obama in the U.S. Using data from a large number of hate blogs (N=600), and sentiment analysis and data mining, we tested two alternative hypotheses derived from social identification theory. We found that there were major differences between the content of these blogs before the election and immediately after the 2008 election, with the latter evincing an increase in the advocacy of violence and hostility. We also determined that faced with this new change, the hate groups adopted a social competition strategy rather than a creativity strategy to manage their identity. Our findings imply that since the election of Barack Obama as President, the worldview of online hate groups has become more violent. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Access the full manuscript at  http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4154/3354

 

Attention to the Media and Worry over Becoming Infected: The Case of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 2009

Attention to the Media and Worry over Becoming Infected: The Case of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 2009

Gustavo S. Mesch, Kent P. Schwirian & Tanya Kolobov

Accepted for Publication, Sociology of Health and Illness

Attention to the Media and Worry over Becoming Infected: The Case of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 2009

 This paper examines the relationship between attention to the mass media and concern about becoming infected with H1N1 in two nation-wide random samples interviewed during the flu epidemic of 2009. The first sample (N=1004) was taken at the end of the first wave of the outbreak and the second sample (N=1006) was taken as the second wave was accelerating. The data were gathered by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Over the period studied, almost all social categories of respondents increased in the percentage worried about becoming infected. With social category membership taken into account, both those who followed the H1N1 outbreak closely and those who were more interested in reports about it were more likely to be worried about becoming infected than did others. As time went on, interest in media reports declined but worry over infection continued to increase.  Our findings imply that despite the decrease in the percentage of the population expressing interest and following the news, media exposure was the most important factor explaining the likelihood of being concerned with being infected over and above risks factors and demographic profiles.


 

 

New Paper:Minority status and Health Information search: A test of the Social Diversification hypothesis

pdfssm

Minority status and Health Information search: A test of the Social Diversification hypothesis

Forthcoming; Social Science and Medicine, 

Gustavo Mesch, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Haifa,

Rita Mano, Department of Human Services, University of Haifa,

Yeudit Tsamir, Department of Evaluation & Research, Maccabi Health Services,

Group differences in the search of health information were investigated, to test the
diversification hypothesis that argues that disadvantaged groups in society will be
more likely to use the Internet and computer mediated communication to access
health information to compensate for their lack of social capital. Data were gathered
from a sample of Internet users representative of the percentage of minorities in the
general population in Israel (n=1371). The results provide partial support for the
hypothesis, indicating that in multicultural societies disadvantaged groups show
greater motivation to use the Internet to access medical information than the majority
group. We interpreted our findings as suggesting that minority groups that do not
have access to specialized networks use the Internet to overcome their lack of access
to specialized information. Implications of the finding are discussed

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953612002912?v=s5

Mesch, GS & Talmud, I. (in Press) Ethnic Differences in Internet Access

Ethnic Differences in Internet Access: The Role of Occupation and Exposure

 Gustavo Mesch & Ilan Talmud (In press). Information, Communication & Society

Internet adoption expanded rapidly in recent years and its use is been associated with the formation of social networks, the accumulation of social capital and a wage premium. Thus, lack of Internet access might reflect past social inequalities and lead to its amplification. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the sources of ethnic differential access to the Internet. The central assumption is that in deeply divided societies, where there is a partial, but significant, overlap between ethnicity and the occupational structure, disadvantaged minorities lack digital access, as they are concentrated in occupations that are not exposed to computers and the Internet. The hypotheses were tested with a representative sample of the Israeli population, a deeply divided society according to ethnic lines. The findings indicate that Arab Israelis are less likely to have access to the Internet because they are concentrated in blue-collar occupations that are not exposed at work to computers and the Internet. Furthermore, lack of exposure foments the development of negative attitudes to technology that presumably defer them from adopting the Internet. The implications of the findings for the replication of digital inequalities in society are discussed.

An earlier version of the study can be downloaded at

http://soc.haifa.ac.il/~gustavo/mesch&talmudDD.pdf

February 2011 Vol 44, Issue 1 SOCIOLOGICAL FOCUS

February 2011 Vol 44, Issue 1 SOCIOLOGICAL FOCUS

Edited and published at the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Haifa, in association with Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, Colorado ISSN 0038-0237

Editor: Gustavo S. Mesch

The Three Cultures of Postindustrial societies Ralph Schroeder

 From Obama to Osama: Image of God and Trust in Muslims among the Highly Religious in the United States Wesley M. Hinze, F. Carson Mencken, & Charles M. Tolbert

Coexistence in the Urban Economy: Native Whites, European Immigrants, and the Retail Trade in the Late-Nineteenth-Century United States Robert L. Boyd

 Investigating the Biasing Effect of Identity in Self-Reports of Socially Desirable Behavior Philip S. Brenner

for submissions

http://www.sociologicalfocus.net

Minority status and the use of CMC A test of the Social Diversification hypothesis

http://soc.haifa.ac.il/~gustavo/socialdivesification.pdf

Taking advantage of Israel’s multi-ethnic society, divided along ethnic and immigrant lines, I tested the diversification hypothesis with a large sample of Internet users that resemble the country’s population of Internet users. According to the diversification hypothesis, in socially segregated societies disadvantaged groups have deficits in social capital, particularly bridging social capital. Their use of channels of online communication will be motivated by an attempt to compensate for their disadvantage, and will direct the use of IT to expand their occupational and business ties. From this argument two hypothesis were derived. First, minority and immigrants will be more likely to choose the use of the IT best suited to this task. The findings of the study mostly support this hypothesis. Controlling for socio-demographic and minority status, it was found that people who are motivated to use the Internet to expand business and professional contacts are more likely to use Chat rooms and weblogs. At the same time those motivated to use the Internet to maintain ties with families and friends are more likely to use social networking sites. This finding indicates that each IT application is perceived by users to be suited to a different task.As for the specific hypothesis that minorities and immigrants will be more likely than Israeli Jews to use chat rooms and weblogs to expand their social ties, the results  are mixed. Regarding chat rooms, there is only support for immigrants being more likely than Arab Israelis to use chat rooms. Regarding weblogs, the latter proved more likely to use them than immigrants and Israeli Jews. The three groups did not differ from their use of social networking sites.

Second, a more direct test of the diversification hypothesis was conducted. The hypothesis that Arab Israelis and Immigrants have different motivations for the use of IT was tested by means of OLS regression multivariate analysis. The findings here indicated that the main difference was between Israeli Jews and Immigrants on the one hand and Arab Israelis on the other. Immigrants and Israeli Jews proved more likely than Arab Israelis to use IT for maintaining family ties and to sustaining ties with existing friends. At the same time Arab Israelis were shown as more likely to use IT to make new contacts and to expand their business contacts.

Taking the results together the strongest support of the diversification hypothesis seems to apply to the Arab Israeli population than to the immigrants. This difference might be explained through the differences existing between the two groups in society. As shown in the descriptive analysis, the Arab population of Israel is more disadvantaged in human capital than the immigrant population. Furthermore, the Arab population, perceived as part of the Arab world with which Israel is in a constant state of war, faces more discrimination than the new immigrants. This difference in social standing might be reflected in the more consistent pattern of motivations and usage by the Arab population than by the immigrant groups.

Midwest book review on Wired Youth (2010) Mesch & Talmud

Most Helpful Customer Reviews 5.0 out of 5 stars

A work of impressive and painstaking scholarship, September 9, 2010 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) – .Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age (Adolescence and Society Series) (Paperback) The latest addition to the outstanding ‘Adolescence and Society’ series from Routledge, “Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age” is the collaborative work of Gustavo S. Mesch (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Haifa) and Ilan Talmud (Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Haifa). This 184-page compendium presents a seminal introduction and description of the literature on youth sociability and relationship formation in this era of personal electronic communications. Of special interest is the attention paid to the negative and positive consequences of adolescent usage (and contemporary dependence upon) online communication. A work of impressive and painstaking scholarship, enhanced with twenty pages of references and a comprehensive index, “Wired Youth” is a strongly recommended addition to academic library Contemporary Sociology reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Wired Youth (2010) Mesch & Talmud

The Prevention Researcher,
Volume 17, Number 5, 2010, Pages 17
http://www.tpronline.org/book-review.cfm/Wired_Youth

“thought-provoking discussions about the fundamental nature of internet-based social interaction.” 

The Prevention Researcher is a quarterly journal that uses a straightforward and easy-to-read approach to present the most current research and developments in adolescent behavioral research.

Reviewed by John de Miranda, Ed.M.
 Part of the series “Adolescence and Society” published by Routledge, Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age is aimed at undergraduates in education and the social sciences, as well as professionals in the same fields. The reviewer, John de Miranda, found that the authors (Gustavo Mesch and Ilan Talmud) present “thought-provoking discussions about the fundamental nature of internet-based social interaction.”

Contemporary Sociology, March 2011 Issue

Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age

Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age, by Gustavo S. Mesch, Ilan Talmud . New York, NY: Routledge, 2010. $34.95 paper. 176pp. ISBN: 9780415459945.

This book provides a broad interdisciplinary review of literature on youth involvement with digital social technologies. The authors consider research and theory from the perspectives of technological determinism and social constructivism. Although drawing conclusions from both, they ultimately take a sociological approach, viewing digital socializing as an embedded feature of the social structure. They are optimistic about the effects on young people of digital social technologies such as the Internet and cell phones, noting that online social networks tend to increase friendship networks for both introverted and extroverted youth. The highest Internet users tend to be the most social, even when off the Internet. The authors also consider the dangers, including findings that connect Internet use and decreased well-being for introverted youth. Cyberbullying, the act of bullying through online communications such as Instant Messengers, or social networking sites such as Facebook, is on the rise and appears to be magnifying traditional instances of bullying within schools. They also report that youth who use the Internet for socializing tend to spend less time with their families and more time with peer groups. This suggests new technologies may be giving peer groups more influence over youth, which may be a concern for some parents. The authors cover a lot of ground, making this a valuable resource for those interested in examining the prevailing research into digital social technologies and their effect on youth culture. ֲ© American Sociologi cal Association 2011

New Book Wright, Kevin B. / Webb, Lynne M. (eds.)Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships

 This collection of readings  analyze communication issues of ongoing importance in relationships including deception, disclosure, identity, influence, perception, privacy, sexual fidelity, and social support. The book examines subjects that attract intense student interest – including online performance of gender, online dating, and using computer-mediated communication to achieve family/work life balance – and will inspire further research and course development in the area of computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. Because it provides a synthesis of ideas at the nexus of interpersonal communication theory and computer-mediated communication theory, the book can serve as a textbook for advanced undergraduate as well as graduate courses.

 CONTENTS 

 

Preface. Kevin B. Wright & Lynne M. Webb

 

PART 1: The Influence of Technology on How Relational PartnersCommunicate Online

1. A Functional Approach to Social Networking Sites 3 

Erin M. Bryant, Jennifer Marmo, & Artemio Ramirez, Jr.

Jeffrey T. Child & Sandra Petronio

3. A New Twist on Love’s Labor: Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles 41

Catalina L. Toma & Jeffrey T. Hancock

4. Microchannels and CMC: Short Paths to Developing, 56

Maintaining, and Dissolving Relationships

Deborah Ballard-Reisch, Bobby Rozzell, Lou Heldman, & David Kamerer

PART 2: Processes and Goals in Computer-Mediated Communication

in Personal Relationships

in Online and Face-to-face Relationships

W. Scott Sanders & Patricia Amason

6. Relational Maintenance and CMC 98

Stephanie Tom Tong & Joseph B. Walther

7. Locating Computer-Mediated Social Support 119

Within Online Communication Environments

Andrew C. High & Denise H. Solomon

8. Personal Relationships and Computer-Mediated Support Groups 137

Kevin B. Wright & Ahlam Muhtaseb

9. Online Self-Disclosure: A Review of Research 156

Jinsuk Kim & Kathryn Dindia

10. Multicommunicating and Episodic Presence: 181

Developing New Constructs for Studying New Phenomena

Jeanine Warisse Turner & N. Lamar Reinsch, Jr

 .11. The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same:

 

The Role of ICTs in Work and Family Connections 194

 

Paige P. Edley & Renée Houston PART 3: Influences of CMC on Relational Contexts

12. CMC and the Conceptualization of “Friendship”:

How Friendships Have Changed with the Advent

of New Methods of Interpersonal Communication 225

Amy Janan Johnson & Jennifer A. H. Becker

13. A Cross-Contextual Examination of Technologically Mediated

Communication and Social Presence in Long-Distance Relationships 244

Katheryn C. Maguire & Stacey L. Connaughton

14. Healthcare Provider-Recipient Interactions:

Is “Online” Interaction the Next Best Thing to Being There? 266

Theodore A. Avtgis, E. Phillips Polack, Sydney M. Staggers,

& Susan M. Wieczorek

PART 4: The Dark Side of Computer-Mediated Communication

in Personal Relationships

15. Family Imbalance and Adjustment to Information 285

16. Online Performances of Gender: Blogs, Gender-Bending,

and Cybersex as Relational Exemplars 302

Mark L. Hans, Brittney D. Selvidge, Katie A. Tinker, & Lynne M. Webb

17. Digital Deception in Personal Relationships 324

Norah E. Dunbar & Matthew Jensen

18. Speculating about Spying on MySpace and Beyond:

Social Network Surveillance and Obsessive Relational Intrusion 344

Makenzie Phillips & Brian H. Spitzberg

19. Problematic Youth Interactions Online:

Solicitation, Harassment, and Cyberbullying 368

Andrew R. Schrock & danah boyd

 

Kevin B. Wright (PhD, University of Oklahoma) is Professor in Communication at the University of Oklahoma. His research examines interpersonal communication, social support related to health outcomes, and computer-mediated relationships. He coauthored Health Communication in the 21st Century, and his research appears in over 45 book chapters and journal articles, including the Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Lynne M. Webb (PhD, University of Oregon) is Professor in Communication at the University of Arkansas. She previously served as a tenured faculty member at the Universities of Florida and Memphis. Her research examines young adults’ interpersonal communication in romantic and family contexts. Her research appears in over 50 essays published in scholarly journals and edited volumes, including Computers in Human Behavior, Communication Education, Health Communication, and Journal of Family Communication.

2. Unpacking the Paradoxes of Privacy in CMC Relationships