Researcher Ezra

Research interests: My specialization is in social stratification; within that I am specializing in political sociology. I am interested in social (in)justice, particularly through the lenses of power, representation, civic health, democracy, popular politics, and cultural cognition. I am committed to applied and public sociology.

Works in progress:

  • Moving beyond the structure-agency debate: Power and the interplay of structure and agency
    Within sociological theories of power, the most recent iteration of the structure-agency debate can be found in Clarissa Hayward and Steven Lukes’ critiques of the others’ theory on power. The two theorists engage in direct dialogue, with Hayward critiquing Lukes’ “three-dimensional power” for being focused on agents, and thus failing to the institutional boundaries that constrain even ‘powerful’ agents, and Lukes critiquing Hayward’s “de-faced power” for succumbing to a structural determinism that abdicates powerful agents from responsibility for their actions. While Lukes and Hayward set up their theoretical vantage points as in competition, empirical reality can be better understood when power is analyzed from a both/and approach, considering both structural and agential power, as well as their particular roles and interplay as they manifest in a particular situation. I am currently writing this paper. The paper presents qualitative field data from participant-observation I conducted in an elementary school in Spring 2016. It demonstrates the necessity of integrating Lukes and Hayward’s theoretical approaches for explaining how power operates to impact inclusion and equity for students. Educators and students at the school were structurally constrained and enabled, but they also exercised agency in how they navigated these institutional boundaries.

    I will be presenting this paper at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociology Society in a paper session on Power and Influence in Politics: Theoretical and Applied Analyses.

  • Utilizing Stakeholders in Policy Development and Administration: Utility, Power, Legitimacy
    Public policy are laws and programs instituted to benefit society. Those affected by specific policies are said to have a stake in the policy and are therefore called stakeholders. (Stakeholder actually comes from business literature and is presented in contrast to stockholders). As policymakers develop and implement policies, they sometimes engage stakeholders in the policy making process.  There are different techniques for stakeholder management, some of which include determining which stakeholders are “legitimate” stakeholders as well as their level of “power.”Knowing the extent to which stakeholder techniques are used in public policy is important to understanding how policies and regulations are created.  The extent to which and method within which notions of legitimacy and power are incorporated into a stakeholder analysis can also have important implications for policy outcomes. The purpose of this study is to roughly ascertain the extent to which state policy makers and deliberative democracy policy practitioners are using stakeholder techniques, as well as to get a general picture of how they are using these techniques. The study is also intended to identify thoughtful practices regarding how to address stakeholders with high levels of legitimacy but low levels of power and stakeholders with low levels of legitimacy but high levels of power. I am currently collecting survey responses from policy staff from all 50 states and major municipalities across the United States, in the areas of: gubernatorial/mayoral offices, environmental departments, transportation departments, health departments, education departments, and land use departments.

    I received a UNH Summer Teaching Assistant Fellowship to work on this project during Summer 2016.

    I am still receiving survey responses.

  • Who cares about public investment in childcare?: With no Million Mom March on the horizon for childcare advocacy efforts, where will support come from?
    For the majority of U.S.-American children five and under, all available parents are employed, yet childcare is often lacking in quality, affordability, and accessibility, particularly for disadvantaged parents. Who supports public investment in childcare will impact its political success. This paper uses General Social Survey data to explore demographic variation in support for increased public investment in childcare, and whether this variation is attributable to ideological and/or positional determinants. Childcare is often thought of as a women’s issue. Women are more likely than men to favor increased childcare assistance spending, though they are not more likely to support childcare being funded primarily by the government/public funds or employers. Through multivariate logistic regression analysis, I demonstrate that variation based on gender, as well as parent status, are explained by age, family income, and race in a reduced positional model, as well as ideology in the full model. Childcare support variation is positional, primarily due to class. Women and single parents’ increased support for childcare investment is fully explained by their comparative disadvantage. Liberals and black respondents, regardless of class, are more likely to support public investment. This lends support to ideological determinism, though both demographic groups still primarily support family being the main source of childcare funding. Structural disadvantage entails experiences that can challenge dominant ideologies; support for public investment in childcare comes most from those who need childcare assistance. These individuals have the least resources, including political capital; this in turn privileges the status quo and reproduces structural inequality.

    This paper has been submitted to a journal and is currently under review.

    I presented a version of this work, under the title, “What family-friendly agenda?: Why it’s never about the parents and how that could change”, in a critical dialogue session, Scholarship Grounded in the Community-Scholarship, Activism, and Community Research, at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

  • Missing the structural story: a critical content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
    Dominant conceptions of school bullying are infused with an individualistic ideology, resulting in only a partial understanding of school bullying as a social phenomenon. This conception has been challenged by research revealing the sociocultural production of school bullying. This structural understanding of bullying has direct implications for effectively addressing bullying. A critical ethnographic content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program reveals that this popular program is dominated by an individualistic understanding of school bullying. The program labels students as bullies and victims, ascribes these groups particular character traits, sidelines issues of bias, and at times reproduces norms that foster bullying. The program hyperfocuses on real-time manifestations of bullying incidents, attempting to end bullying through universal monitoring of students and student compliance with anti-bullying rules. The Olweus program insufficiently addresses the sociostructural environment that creates and maintains school bullying. School efforts to reduce peer aggression would benefit from incorporating both individualistic and structural determinants of school bullying. Effectively addressing school bullying necessarily entails sociological work – recognizing the role of broad social context in everyday phenomena and acting on that knowledge to confront structural power.

    I received funding support from the Kidder Fund to purchase materials for the content analysis.

    This paper has been submitted to a journal and is currently under review.

    I presented versions of this work in the following ways:

    • under the title “Addressing structural power for bullying prevention: a critical content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program”, in a paper session, Practicing Public Sociology, at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
    • under the title “Missing the Structural Story: a critical content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program”, in a paper session, Educational Problems: Policy, Curriculum, and Reform, at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems
    • under the title “Missing the Structural Story: a critical content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program”, in the Sociology oral session at the 2016 UNH Graduate Research Conference
    • under the title “Missing the Structural Story: a critical content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program”, in a paper session, Bullying and Victimization, at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society
    • under the title “How the Sociological Imagination Could End Queer/Trans* School Bullying: a critical content analysis of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program”, as a presenter at the 2015 Transecting Society Conference
    • under the title “The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: Missing the Bigger Picture” as a competitor in the 2016 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge. I was a finalist in the 3MT challenge.

Past work:

  • Research assistant for Ken Johnson
    In Fall 2015 I worked supplemental hours as a research assistant for Ken Johnson. During this time my primary work was contributing to the Winter 2016 Carsey Research National Issue Brief #96 “First in the Nation: New Hampshire’s Changing Electorate.” I was acknowledged in the brief for my research assistance. My primary contribution for this brief involved preparing and analyzing data from the New Hampshire Granite State Poll, using SPSS.
  • Advocacy work: federal tax policy, state redistricting reform, Ban the Box
  • Temko, Ezra. 2009. Democratic Institutions Create Civic Health: How local jurisdictions can enhance their problem-solving capacities through inclusive governance, including a case study of Newark, Delaware. Analytical Paper Submitted to the Public Management Faculty of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Public AdministrationWrite one-paragraph abstract summarizing the two-page executive summaryThis was my capstone research paper for my MPA dgree in State & Local Management.
    • Temko, Ezra. 2010. “Democratic governance and civic health in Newark, Delaware: A case study.” National Civic Review. 99(4):52–59.This article is based on my analytical paper.
    • I presented my findings to the Newark City Council. Here’s a newspaper article about my study:
  • Agricultural model zoning ordinance – state planning
  • Mix, Troy, Manoj Doss, Ezra Temko, Amanda Tolino, and Matthias Wendt. 2008. “Greater Georgetown Area Comprehensive Market Analysis.” Institute for Public Administration, University of Delaware.
    In cooperation with the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Georgetown The Greater Georgetown Area Comprehensive Market Analysis was prepared for the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Georgetown to identify current and future opportunities for business expansion in the Georgetown area.The purpose of this project was to investigate regional market conditions in order to identify current and future opportunities for business expansion in the Greater Georgetown area. In that regard, this report contains a demographic and economic analysis of the population most likely to frequent Georgetown businesses, the results of a customer-intercept survey aimed at gathering opinions about shopping in the Georgetown area, an inventory of businesses within the 19947 zip code, and a comparative analysis of existing and potential retail and food-services sales within the area. Based on these data and analysis, a recommended path forward was prepared with an eye toward capitalizing on existing and emerging market opportunities and preserving those market advantages that the Greater Georgetown area currently enjoys.

    My primary contribution to this research was physically taking an inventory of commercial uses within Georgetown and organizing this information using ARC GIS.

  • Research Assistant work – TOD, etc. as Public Admin Fellow in Planning Services Group
  • City of Newark updates to design guidelines, etc.? downtown inventory stuff?
  • Winter Term project on energy conversation policy
  • Oberlin Research Group
  • Criminological theory and structure
    I am looking at whether data about victimization and its correlates can tell us different things when analyzed at the individual-level and country-level
  • Gender and student leadership
    I looked at who is likely to be a student officer


Potential future work:

  • Dissertation topic: What makes communities (people?) undergo cognitive shifts relating to social problems? How can social movements change people’s minds about policy issues that tap into people’s worldviews? What leads people to change their minds, and how can these processes be operationalized by social movements? What is the best way for social movements to engage in cultural work relating to cognition? How can communities successfully confront systemic oppression when facing symbolic oppression that includes internalized unconscious biases?
  • Navy kids – disadvnatages, experiences, resiliency

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