Santa Claus is Coming to Town

At the end of the year, two academic rewards came in – two articles I contributed to are accepted for publication. In the first article – “The Inevitable Deservingness Gap. A Study into the Insurmountable Immigrant Penalty in Perceived Welfare Deservingness” – Tom van der Meer and I continue on the study of the welfare deservingness of immigrants. A link to the paper will follow as soon as it’s in press at the Journal of European Social Policy, but from the abstract, we read:

Albeit studies on welfare deservingness show that immigrants are deemed least entitled to welfare compared to other target groups, such studies have fallen short to isolate welfare claimants’ identity (i.e. foreign origin) to rivaling deservingness criteria that might explain the immigrant deservingness gap. This paper studies the importance of welfare claimants’ foreign origin relative to other theoretically relevant deservingness criteria via a unique vignette experiment among 23,000 Dutch respondents about their preferred levels of unemployment benefits. We show that foreign origin is among the three most important conditions for reduced solidarity, after labor-market reintegration behavior (reciprocity) and culpability for unemployment (control). Further, favorable criteria do not close the gap between immigrants and natives in perceived deservingness, emphasizing the difficulty to overcome the immigrant penalty in perceived welfare deservingness.

The second paper is titled “Imagining Class: A Study into Material Social Class Position, Subjective Identification, and Voting Behavior across Europe” and flows from the upcoming dissertation of Peter Achterberg and my PhD-student, Lorenzo D’Hooge. In his dissertation, Lorenzo focuses on the sources as well as consequences of the discordance between material or ‘objective’ class positions (i.e. the social classes sociologists classify people in according to occupational information, among other characteristics), and ‘subjective’ class identification. From existing research it is known that only half of the people correctly identifies with the social class they according to their material status belong to, making that half either inflates or deflates his/her class position. In this paper, published in Social Science Research, Lorenzo, Peter and I look at the consequences of class discordance on voting behavior.



Going Fast!

Four months since my last update, yet life has been going fast. I decided to take a well-deserved summer holiday and I spent one month in Colombia. It will take many more blog posts to summarize how amazing this trip actually was. Several great memories that simply cannot condensely be written out in an academic blog.

Many things have happened in the past four months. First of all, it is important that the Dutch fieldwork of the European Values Study is in the field. After a long trajectory of writing out a tender for fieldwork companies (and selecting the one with the best qualifications), translating the questionnaire, interviewer training, sampling designs, and so on, it’s with pleasure that I can add that the fieldwork has started about a month ago. The fieldwork is proceeding well, and response figures are heading in the right direction.

In addition, Edward Elgar publishing has worked hard to print an edited volume I have contributed to. Together with Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, and Bart Meuleman, I brought together seminal authors working on welfare deservingness. After quite some time reviewing and revising chapters, it is with pleasure to see the end product on the shelf. “The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare. Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness” is out!

At Tilburg University, the new academic year has started. For our Department, it’s an important transition, as we created an English track in the Bachelor program. We are pleased to host 16 students in the Bachelor International Sociology. The first bloc of the year started well: I’m teaching on social capital for 16 bright new students in the first year of the Research Master in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Next to that, I also teach the course “Diversity and Community” for about 30 students at University College Tilburg. In the Education Committee of Sociology, I made ‘promotion’ from staff member to chair. Apart of that, also the first Faculty Board with the new Dean has taken place, as well as the first meeting of the Dutch Sociological Association of the new academic year.

Least to say things are moving fast!