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Trenton Mize

Please join me in congratulating Trenton Mize, assistant professor of sociology, for winning the Outstanding Recent Contribution in Social Psychology Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Social Psychology

Co-written with Bianca Manago, assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, Trenton’s paper, Precarious Sexuality: How Men and Women Are Differentially Categorized for Similar Sexual Behavior, “investigates perceptions of sexual orientation [and] raises novel and exciting questions about the policing of high-status identities,” according to the award committee’s summary. Included in their findings is that a man is less likely to be viewed as heterosexual – a “privileged and socially valued identity compared to women’s heterosexuality” – if he has had even one same-sex sexual encounter. He would potentially instead be removed from the advantageous social group and relabeled as bisexual or gay.

The committee complimented Trenton and Bianca’s work as a “superb contribution to the field’s understanding of status beliefs,” noting that “in the case of heterosexuality, it is men who must navigate more narrow boundaries of acceptable behavior to avoid losing their high-status label; in contrast, for women, the boundaries of sexual orientation are found to be more fluid, presumably because women’s heterosexuality is associated with less privilege. More broadly then, this study opens the door to future research on (1) the counterintuitive idea that members of privileged status groups face greater constraints on behavior and (2) that observers punish members of high-status groups for category inconsistent behavior by re-categorizing them with lower status labels.”

The ASA will present Trenton and Bianca with the award at its annual conference in August.

Congratulations, Dr. Mize!

David's Signature

David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean
College of Liberal Arts