Ph.D. date: May 2024 (expected)
Reid Ralston is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Cornell University. His research examines the social dynamics of media use and the ways in which media use intersects with social movements, consumers & consumption, and inequality & representation. He draws on text data from various news sources and reviews of cultural objects to engage with these topics. Methodologically, he employs quantitative and mixed methods approaches using text & content analysis, network analysis, and event history analysis.
Media Sociology; Social Movements; Economic Sociology; Organizations; Culture; Consumers and Consumption
Analyzing the Cultural Impact of the #MeToo Movement
Ralston’s dissertation project takes the #MeToo movement as an empirical site for examining the broader cultural impacts of a social movement. Through an analysis of the public discourse around the individual scandals and the broader framing of the movement, this research engages with the question of where we observe cultural changes as a response to the scandals generated through the #MeToo movement. Given the episodic nature of these events, this is analyzed over time and across industries.
The first paper uses the text of news coverage during the #MeToo movement to identify and construct a timeline of accusations and consequences for the individuals accused of sexual misconduct. Using event history analysis, the timing and rate of consequences faced by those accused is analyzed for differences across industries.
Utilizing the same dataset, the second paper analyzes the media framing of the broader cultural context to identify how the media present scandals differentially, when they are framed as isolated scandals, and when they are tied directly to movement activities, as well as the framing of the allegations and resulting consequences.
The third paper utilizes text analysis of online movie reviews to identify changes in attitudes towards films that contain sexual assault as content in the film. User attitudes towards these films are traced across time to compare reception of these films before and during the #MeToo movement.
David Strang (chair), Malte Ziewitz (Science & Technology Studies), Filiz Garip (Princeton University)
Evaluation and Society
This line of research focuses on the causes and consequences of evaluative practices in society. Within this area the three main topics of interest are: 1) how consumers navigate ethical dilemmas in their purchasing decisions and the relevance and conceptualization of expertise in their decision making; 2) institutional differences in the development and proliferation of awards culture along with variations in the symbolic significance of awards across industries; and 3) the development, maintenance, and transformation of reputations through the social evaluations of individuals who have been marked as deviant in society.
At Cornell University, Ralston has served as a teaching assistant for a variety of course including Introduction to Sociology, Urban Inequality, and American Society through Film. He has also developed and taught his own course, Media and Society, during the summer session in 2022 and 2023. Through these courses, he has experience with both in-person and online instruction. His work as a teaching assistant was recognized by the department with the “Citation for Excellence in Teaching” award for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Ralston, Reid. 2022. “Separating the Art from its Artist: Film Reviews in the Era of #MeToo” Poetics 92(A). doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2022.101653.