CUSS Digest (July 2020)

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Please find the July Community and Urban Sociology Section Digest below.

Contents include:

A. CUSS Contribution to ASA Minority Fellowship Program

B.  ASA Virtual Engagement Section Conference Sessions

C.  Postdoctoral Opportunity

A.  Community and Urban Sociology Section Contribution to ASA Minority Fellowship Program

I am pleased to report that our section has joined many ASA sections in donating the funds we would have devoted to our 2020 annual reception to the ASA Minority Fellowship Program.  The Community and Urban Sociology Section Council voted unanimously to transfer $1800 to support the program. 


B.  Annual Conference – Virtual Engagement

As you know, the 2020 ASA meeting in San Francisco has been cancelled.  Instead, ASA has organized a virtual engagement event that you may participate in.  Please see the ASA website to register and for additional information. 

Below, please find a preliminary list of section sessions and meetings, as well as of other relevant panels that section members have sent to me.  I will update the list later in July.  If you would like to include a panel that may be of interest to our members, please email me at  

I hope to see many of you (virtually) at our sessions, as well as at our annual business meeting, where we will report on section news and celebrate our award winners. 

Work, Community, and City

Sat, August 8, 2:30 to 4:10pm (PDT)


This session brings together the subjects of work and community and answers questions about how employees, freelancers, and even more precarious workers find community in the city. With the high cost of living in cities, stagnating wages, and long hours, many urban workers struggle to find like-minded and meaningful community. Papers in this session will address the following questions: How does the culture of creative class cities promote or harm a sense of community? What kinds of spaces facilitate connections, engage people in community-building, and bring people together? How do urban workers experience quality of life in cities and communities?

Cities and Big Data

Sun, August 9, 8:30 to 10:10am (PDT)


The use of ‘big data’ for social sciences is on the rise. Social media and other location-based services provide an abundance of fine-grained data to a high geographical resolution. New computational methods allow researchers to analyze high volumes of user-generated location points, travels, tweets, reviews, among others. This context poses an opportunity for urban sociologists to expand traditional quantitative and qualitative methods in researching people’s dynamics in the city, and the impact of new technologies on the urban experience. This panel provides a space for discussion among researchers interested in exploring the possibilities of ‘big data’ analysis for urban sociology.

New Forms of Precarious Urban Labor

Sun, August 9, 10:30am to 12:10pm (PDT)


The rise of platform based gig work, such as driving an Uber or finding short stints on Taskrabbit, is often linked back to the Great Recession as workers attempted to make do with less and diversify their income sources. But as platform-based gig work enters its second decade, the question arises, how has gig work given rise to new forms of urban precarity? More broadly, what is the impact of the new urban economy on workers, their careers, and life chances? This session invites papers that explore new forms of precarious labor by considering some of the following: What is the relationship of different types of platform-based gig work to urban place-making, e.g. the experience of “eyes on the street”, as workers are increasingly found in co-working spaces, coffee shops, and parks? In what ways do new forms of labor shape precarity for urban workers, as they encounter increased and outsourced risk in the workplace? Alternatively, has the reported flexibility of the work allowed for improved financial security through a side hustle for those with in-demand skills and high levels of social and financial capital? And finally, how do we theorize the forms of precarious labor and platform-based gig work within the study of urban inequality and racial segregation?

Community and Urban Sociology Section Business Meeting

Sun, August 9, 12:30 to 1:10pm (PDT)

Community and Urban Sociology Section Roundtables

Sun, August 9, 1:10 to 2:10pm (PDT)

Theorizing Renters and Rental Housing in the United States

Sun, August 9, 2:30 to 4:10pm (PDT)


In U.S. cities, the percentage of residents renting units versus owning homes has reached a historic high. Given the growing share of renters and increasing rental costs across the country’s largest metropolitan areas, this session invites papers that explore various facets of rental markets in the United States, particularly as they relate to urban inequality. Potential topics of interest could examine how residents navigate unaffordable housing markets to find adequate housing; the role of landlords, property managers, real estate investors, and city officials vis-à-vis rental markets; or dynamics within subgroups of renters. Papers may also explore topics such as: cost-saving measures such as doubling up; the emergence of multi-tenant homes and short-term rental services; the global circuits of finance capital and how they relate to the rental market; and social movements mobilizing for greater tenant protections and dignified housing. Overall, this session seeks submissions that broadly theorize various aspects of rental markets. It will examine rental relationships as engines of inequality in the United States, as well as the resistance that it engenders in the process.

2020 ASA Special Session

Color, Race and Ethnicity: Where/How Do Space and Place Matter?

Sun, August 9, 10:30am to 12:10pm (PDT)

Session Description:

The analysis of space traces back to the beginnings of American Sociology with The Philadelphia Negro (1899). Since then, sociologists have claimed it causes a wide variety of social outcomes, but we still do not understand if space and place are cause or consequence of the social. This panel discussion treats racial matters as spatial matters that implicate a variety of social phenomena. Panelists explore space as a social product and consider how place-making shapes the experience of inequality. They discuss the relationship between agency, culture and structural constraints in the urban environment to generate new ways of thinking about urban potentialities and possibility.


C. Postdoctoral Fellowship 

Postdoctoral fellowship opportunity in culture and corruption

Professor Chitu Okoli of the PRISM Research Centre at SKEMA Business School, Paris, is seeking applicants to prepare a proposal for the postdoctoral Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions International Fellowship (Standard European Fellowship) funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union. The application deadline is September 9, 2020, for a start date as early as March 2021. (For more about Chitu Okoli, you may see his LinkedIn and Google Scholar profiles.)

The subject of the fellowship is quantitative statistical analyses of national-level cultural variables, particularly related to the relationship between national culture and corruption. (“Corruption” here means illegally misappropriating official or public powers to acquire personal gain.) This involves both the supervisor’s projects on culture and corruption, and the research fellow’s own self-directed research agenda.

Applicants must have a doctoral degree or at least four years of full-time employment in research. The fellowship will be conducted in France, but applicants must not be current residents of France. For full details on this fellowship opportunity, refer to the attached description (also available at

If you are interested in this postdoctoral fellowship opportunity, please email Professor Chitu Okoli at <> following the submission instructions. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please forward this announcement to them.

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