Wesley Shrum

Wesley Shrum
Louisiana State University | LSU · Department of Sociology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

136
Publications
10,345
Reads
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3,155
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 1982 - present
Louisiana State University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • I have had only one job in my life--as a Professor of Sociology at LSU. It is, actually, the best job on the planet!
Education
September 1977 - August 1982
Princeton University
Field of study
  • Sociology

Publications

Publications (136)
Article
Prior research has shown that mental health in urban slums is associated with the a share number of older individuals in personal networks. This presentation will examine the extent to which that association is mediated through Internet and social media use. We conducted face to face interviews with residents (minimum 18 years) in two high density,...
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Published in Great Plains Sociologist This article examines the relationship between sex and sector of employment and perceptions of the research climate among a sample of researchers in three low-income areas: Ghana, Kenya, and Kerala India. Using data gathered in 2010 from scientists working in universities and national research institutes, we ad...
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In the context of the 2020 world pandemic of covid-19, many professional and scientific associations have had to change the way they gather and reorganize their scholarly conferences. For many of them, conferences are the main source of income and important occasions for business meetings and managerial decisions. Yet, with trips and face-to-face e...
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Although anxiety and depression have been central topics for scholars and clinicians in the United States, few studies have examined their correlates in sub-Saharan Africa and none have examined large urban slums. Using face-to-face interviews in two African cities, we analyze self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression in a community-based sa...
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Epidemics have traditionally been viewed as the widespread occurrence of infectious disease within a community, or a sudden increase above what is typical. But modern epidemics are both more and less than the diffusion of viral entities. We argue that epidemics are ‘fire objects’, using a term coined by Law and Singleton: They generate locative fea...
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We examine whether the widespread adoption of mobile technology is associated with changes in core social networks over the main decade of mobile diffusion in India. We focus primarily on network size, as well as the type and location of relationships. Grounded in interaction ritual theory, Ling’s bounded solidarity thesis suggests that mobile comm...
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Vaccine trials for infectious diseases take place in a milieu of trust in which scientists, regulatory institutions, and volunteers trust each other to play traditional roles. This milieu of trust emerges from a combination of preexisting linkages embedded in the local and national political context. Using the case of failed vaccine trials in Hohoe...
Chapter
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This paper reports the methodology used by an interdisciplinary (Sociology, Civil Engineering, Transportation, Architecture and Urban Planning) group at Princeton University in a personal interview survey of upper-level offi- cials in regional, state, county, town- ship and municipal government in New Jersey. One central purpose of the study is to...
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After the World Health Organization declared a state of emergency due to the zika virus between February and November 2016, a great deal of research has been done to analyze it. Nevertheless, this research displays two significant gaps. First, these projects are carried out in epidemiological and public health frameworks, but lacking a perspective...
Article
https://vimeo.com/199461317 Illicit brewers, greedy landlords, and cheating recipients of aid. Chick takes up the challenges of a young American woman who starts a self-help group for disabled persons. In the Kenyan context, where a hundred years of missionary work has led some to “wait for donations from America,” even the simple task of building...
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Mobile devices have spread throughout the developing world at a rate unparalleled by other communications technologies. Yet surprisingly, little is known about their impact on social networks. This study analyzes three waves of pooled survey data in Nairobi (2002, 2007, 2013). We focus on the size, composition, and location of important personal re...
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Has the Internet changed the pattern of social relations? More specifically, have social relations undergone any systematic change during the recent widespread diffusion of new communications technology? This question is addressed using a unique longitudinal survey that bookends the entire period of Internet diffusion in two African nations and one...
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Two main perspectives characterize current research on Internet cafés in the developing world. The “inclusionary” perspective represents these public digital spaces as the most important source of connectivity and inclusion for the global population. The “transitional” perspective represents Internet cafés as a dying business whose obituary is long...
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Agricultural researchers work at universities and research institutes. This paper examines how institutional context has affected Kenyan agricultural scientists’ professional lives along several dimensions: Access and use of emerging ICT technologies, professional activities, and scholarly output. It draws upon a unique longitudinal data set in whi...
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Has the size of personal networks changed since the invention of the Internet? We use a unique longitudinal survey during the primary period of Internet diffusion in Africa and Asia to address three questions. First, has the overall size of professional networks changed? Second, has there been a shift in the kinds of relationships people maintain?...
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Aimed at a contemporary view of science and development that takes into account changes brought about by information and communication technologies, this article examines why low-income countries are in pursuit of the ‘Western way of knowing’ known as science. Toward this aim, several perspectives are reviewed: modernization, dependency and world s...
Article
“Perceptions of the Research Climate in Universities and National Research Institutes: The Role of Gender and Bureaucracy in Three Low-Income Countries.” 2015. Miller, Paige, Heather Rackin,W. Shrum, Mark Schafer, and Antony Palackal. Great Plains Sociologist 25: 6-35.
Research
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Overview of academic or scholarly cinema.
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“Visionary Sociology and Academic Recognition.” 2015. Footnotes (Newsletter of the American Sociological Association.) June 2015.
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This essay introduces a new journal and film festival, designed to legitimate academic filmmaking through the process of peer review. The Journal of Video Ethnography is the first peer-reviewed journal of academic movies. The Ethnografilm festival, held each April in Paris, is a nonfiction film festival that focuses on bringing academic filmmakers...
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“Public sociology” has flourished as an idea with limited success in practice. We argue that movement towards the consensual goal of public engagement is more likely using audiovisual than text-based communication. We briefly review the history of the idea with a focus on the post-Burawoy era and its central debates. We argue that such disputes ove...
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This decade long study (2000-2010) examines the social structure of a Kerala scientific network, using data on organizations in the field of agricultural and environmental research. Our analysis addresses the extent to which this community experienced stability or change, using the first longitudinal data on changes in inter-organizational scientif...
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“Gendered Assessments of the Research Climate in Ghana, Kenya, and Kerala India: Does Organizational Structure make a Difference?” 2014. Miller, B. Paige, Antony Palackal, Mark Schafer, and Wesley Shrum. Sociological Imagination 50(2): 80-104.
Article
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This ten year study suggests that the digital divide in connectivity may have largely closed for the scientific community in parts of the world that were previously unconnected. Almost a decade ago Ynalvez et al. (2005) examined the diffusion of information and communication technologies (icts) in the knowledge production sectors of three developin...
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Two decades ago, I was preparing to leave for my first research experience in Africa. En route to Kenya, I asked an international relations scholar what to call these ‘‘developing countries.’’ I knew better than to say ‘‘Third World,’’ but wasn’t so sure it was developing. ‘‘Why not just call it Kenya?’’ she asked. My parachute deployed for a soft...
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Causal attribution for one of the largest disasters in American history has undergone three major shifts. From August 2005 through November 2009, the principal explanation of the flooding of New Orleans was characterized by three distinguishable phases - reactive, organizational, and legal - as the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina were ascr...
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In the developing world, many advocate the benefits of collaboration as the primary driver of research productivity. One of the crucial conditions that support, and help overcome problems in, distributed work is consistent access and use of Internet technologies. But it is argued that the collaborative benefits of Internet technologies are not symm...
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Using panel data gathered across two waves (2001 and 2005) from researchers in Ghana, Kenya, and Kerala, India, we examine three questions: (1) To what extent do gender differences exist in the core professional networks of scientists in low-income areas? (2) How do gender differences shift over time? (3) Does use of information and communication t...
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This essay presents the first analysis of gender differences in productivity using panel data on scientists in low-income countries. About 540 researchers in Ghana, Kenya, and Kerala (India) were studied using the same survey instrument in 2001 and 2005. Results indicate very few gender disparities in outcomes at either period of the study with one...
Chapter
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In the following paragraphs, we outline the changing technology scene in the state of Kerala over approximately the last 20 years. We seek to describe the shifts that have taken place in the diffusion of technology by first placing the discussion within the appropriate context highlighting the concept of the digital divide and the unique features o...
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This article uses panel data gathered in 2001 and 2005 to assess the gendered digital divide among researchers employed in three developing countries: Ghana, Kenya, and India (the state of Kerala). We move the digital divide discussion from an early focus on differentials in adoption and access to an assessment of use as measured by the diversity a...
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Mobile telephony has diffused more rapidly than any Indian technology in recent memory, yet systematic studies of its impact are rare, focusing on technological rather than social change. We employ network surveys of separate groups of Kerala residents in 2002 and again in 2007 to examine recent shifts in mobile usage patterns and social relationsh...
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We test the hypothesis that scientific collaboration is associated with increased publication productivity. We differentiate our approach from other studies by (a) incorporating professional networks in the productivity model, (b) casting productivity and collaboration as distinct phenomena, and (c) examining these phenomena in the context of resou...
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In contrast to recent US studies showing a decrease in core network size, our Kenyan data reveals substantial network growth. We attribute this to the diffusion of mobile telephones. Results from pooled survey data from Nairobi professionals and entrepreneurs in 2002 and 2007 as well as qualitative interviews from 2007 to 2009 show virtual saturati...
Conference Paper
In Western countries the recent debate over the impact of the mobile phone centers on whether it has had a positive or negative impact on social integration. Longitudinal studies of cell phones in India and Kenya show opposite results on the size of core networks. We view resource infrastructure as mediating this effect, with locations having fewer...
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This essay argues for a renewed commitment to impartiality and neutrality in scholarly research. These values are understood as the accomplishment of non-alignment in the interest of understanding the social world. This ethnographic study of the role of engineering in Hurricane Katrina provides an overview of two pivotal events in the public analys...
Chapter
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This article focuses on the nature of scientific research in less developed areas in the context of new information and communication technologies (ICTs). We examine the notion that the internet will globalize the practice of science by creating connections between researchers from geographically dispersed areas. By altering the spatial and tempora...
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This chapter examines the global implications of e-Research for developing countries and regions by focusing on knowledge production, drawing on survey research and case studies in India, Ghana, Kenya, Chile, and the Philippines. It assesses the impact of the Internet on scientific collaboration and research productivity in those countries, and arg...
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From the late 1980s, research on NGOs had a normative focus and was vulnerable to changing donor preoccupations. This article contributes a new conceptual approach, analysing the practices through which relationships and resources are translated into programmes and projects. The theoretical justification for this move combines the new ethnography o...
Chapter
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In May 2007, the month before the Heidelberg conference entitled “Geographies of Science,” there appeared two bits of news, little-read stories beneath the notice of the regular press, apart from a few local papers. The irrelevance of the articles owed partly to their subject matter—science and technology in Africa, which is rarely reported on to b...
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Graduate training abroad is typical for scientists in developing countries. Owing to resource scarcities, collaboration is a common form of research for these same individuals. Yet few studies have examined the linkage between graduate education and scientific collaboration. This article examines this question in a population of scientists who have...
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The conventional view depicts scientific communities in the developing world as globally isolated and dependent. Recent studies suggest that individual scientists tend to favor either local or international ties. Yet there are good reasons to believe that both kinds of ties are beneficial for knowledge production. Since they allow for the more effi...
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Among the communication technologies introduced in the developing world during the past century, none has grown more rapidly than mobile telephony.Yet the impact of mobile phone use on social relationships has received limited systematic study. This article examines the factors associated with mobile phone usage in the south Indian state of Kerala...
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Based on a face-to-face survey of 312 scientists from government research institutes and state universities in two Philippine locations — Los Baños, Laguna and Muñoz, Nueva Ecija — we examine how graduate training and digital factors shape the professional network of scientists at the “Global South.” Results suggest that scientists prefer face-to-f...
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Three general arguments on the role of the Internet in developing areas have been suggested. The "elixir" argument holds that the Internet does not represent a potential problem but only an opportunity. Information technologies are a developmental tool on a par with educational and agricultural programs. The "affliction" argument holds that Interne...
Chapter
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Film and Video in Qualitative Research
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become the panacea for development for many developing countries in the modern, knowledge-based world. Kerala, a state in India known for its model of development, has not only joined this bandwagon but has also selected ICTs as a means to pull the state out of its present crisis. The paper exa...
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This essay draws on ten years of work in south India to develop an interpretation of empowerment based on the concept of circumvention. In light of the physical and social restrictions placed on many Indian women, a case for the positive impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on gender equality is difficult to build. We show ho...
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Gender and connectivity initiatives intended to promote development assume that the Internet can have a significant impact on the careers and lives of women. It is important to test this assumption, given the prior research that establishes the educational and organisational limitations on women in professional careers, which increase the likelihoo...
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This essay is an account of use and advocacy of video ethnography as a social research method. We focus on the contemporary technology of digital video in contrast to prior methods of ethnographic data collection, using the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to describe the capture of an infrastructural context. The importance...
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Contemporary views on the nature of science and technology describe them as symmetrically interdependent subcultures, in contrast to the older view of technology as applied science. On closer inspection, however, these accounts provide two distinct descriptions. The first, that of “distinct subcultures,” sees science and technology as distinguishab...
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International collaboration among scientists has been passionately advocated by many in the developing world. Among the several conditions that support collaboration among members of a dispersed scientific community, Internet technology is crucial. We examine the relationships among electronic communication, collaboration, and productivity in South...
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One of the key objectives of the “Past, Present and Future” conference was to inject a note of realism in the run up to phase two of the World Summit on the Information Society. This might seem strange, given that the original sponsor of the event, the Society for Social Studies of Science, is an international, professional association whose member...
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The event summarized in this volume was one of four official side events that occurred in conjunction with the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. Both events were held in Tunisia, near the Mediterranean coast of Tunis, during mid-November 2005. “Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society” (PPF) took pl...
Book
Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society examines the role of research and the production of knowledge in the information society, with special emphasis on developing areas of the world. Core issues of the book lie at the intersection of computer science and engineering, information and communication technologies, the World W...
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We describe digital technology utilization among knowledge producers who have experienced the alternative training structures. Using data from a face-to-face survey of Filipino scientists, we measure email utilization by scientists in terms of five aspects of access and use, and examine how they vary across place of graduate education. Our question...
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This article examines the impact of the Internet on the research careers of female scientists in three developing areas: Ghana, Kenya, and Kerala, India. Most empirical studies of gender and science focus on the developed world, yet theoretical accounts emphasize more extreme differences in developing areas. Limited evidence from Africa and Asia sh...
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“Has the Internet Globalised Science? Friendship Works Better” Science and Public Affairs 2006 March 9.
Book
Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society examines the role of research and the production of knowledge in the information society, with special emphasis on developing areas of the world. Core issues of the book lie at the intersection of computer science and engineering, information and communication technologies, the World W...
Article
Full-text available
Can the internet improve the lot of women in the developing world? This study investigates the degree to which the internet affects the constraints on women pursuing scientific careers. We address this question in the context of the scientific community of Kerala, India, developing a "circumvention" argument that fundamentally implicates informatio...
Chapter
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Can the internet improve the lot of women in the developing world? This study investigates the degree to which the internet affects the constraints on women pursuing scientific careers. We address this question in the context of the scientific community of Kerala, India, developing a “circumvention” argument that fundamentally implicates informatio...
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This essay is a call for research on the role of information and communication technology in distant lands. I address the globalization of science as a process by replacing the concept of development with the idea of reagency, a process of redirection involving a contingent reaction between identities. I focus on the Guest, an identity that assumes...
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We examine the ways in which the research process differs in developed and developing areas by focusing on two questions. First, is collaboration associated with productivity? Second, is access to the Internet (specifically use of email) associated with reduced problems of collaboration? Recent analyses by Lee & Bozeman (2005) and Walsh & Maloney (...
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This essay outlines two approaches to Internet research as an area of scholarship, the disciplined and the “indisciplined.” The former approach involves departments and curricula and is more stable in the long term but the chances of success are low. The latter approach is more flexible, emphasizing interaction between scholars and innovation witho...
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Summary We examine the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the knowledge production sectors of three developing areas. Using interviews with 918 scientists in one South Asian and two African locations, we address three fundamental questions: (1) To what degree has the research community in the developing world adopted...
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This essay has its origin in a project on the globalization of science that rediscovered the wisdom of past research practices through the technology of the future. The main argument of this essay is that a convergence of digital video technologies with practices of social surveillance portends a methodological shift towards a new variety of qualit...
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Communication among researchers is fundamental to the development of knowledge in both developed and developing areas. Internet connectivity is now a precondition for participation in research communication. Establishing reliable and efficient connectivity at reasonable bandwidth is a task that is assumed to be relatively easy and straightforward i...
Chapter
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Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras. History, development, and major paradigms.
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Most studies of the relationship between race and crime employ data aggregated at the city or SMSA level to show that high proportions of Blacks indicate high levels of crime. However, theoretical accounts of underlying criminogenic processes do not imply an effect for race, but rather involve explicit or implicit reference to the neighborhood as t...
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When knowledge becomes the key for progress and development its generation assumes great significance. Who generates it and how it is done become important issues, and particularly so in developing societies. We attempt to understand both the players and the system of knowledge generation using data from a longitudinal study of 404 scientists in Ke...
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Why do women have more difficulty pursuing research careers than men? Although this topic has been extensively investigated in industrialized countries, prior studies provide little comparative evidence from less-developed areas. Based on a survey of 293 scien- tists in Ghana, Kenya, and the Indian state of Kerala, this article examines gender diff...
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