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Cobb, Jessica. 2017. “Inequality Frames: How Teachers Inhabit Colorblind Ideology.” Sociology of Education 90(4):315-332.

Abstract: This paper examines how public school teachers take up, modify, or resist the dominant ideology of colorblind racism. This examination is based on in-depth interviews with sixty teachers at three segregated schools: one was race-class privileged and two were disadvantaged. Inductive coding revealed that teachers at each school articulated a shared frame to talk about race and class: Legitimated Advantage at Heritage High School, Trickle-Down Dysfunction at Bunker High School, and Anti-Racist Dignity at Solidarity High School. Each represents an “inequality frame”: local meaning systems that mediate the dominant racial/class ideology, arising from teachers’ shared experiences of inequality in the school-as-workplace. The frames I observed responded to three organizational conditions that affected teachers’ experiences of inequality: school demographics, material resources, and professional culture. Variations in these conditions across schools provided opportunity spaces for teachers to either accept race/class domination as common sense or to critique it.

Carlson, Jennifer and Jessica Cobb. 2017. “From Play to Peril: A Historical Examination of Media Coverage of Accidental Shootings Involving Children.” Social Science Quarterly, Special Issue on “Gun Politics” 98(2): 397-412.

Abstract: Objectives – To examine how firearms-related incidents are defined as social problems versus personal tragedies. This is achieved by examining a case of gun violence where the actors immediately involved are apparently blameless: child-involved accidental firearms deaths and injuries. Specifically, we examine changing narratives of these incidents from the mid-19th century to the present.  Methods – A database of 314 New York Times articles on child-involved accidental shootings from the mid-1800s to the present day was compiled and analyzed using Atlas.ti.    Results – Our content analysis shows that despite declining prevalence and coverage over time, these incidents were increasingly framed as social problems through narratives of criminalization and responsibilization. These discursive frameworks differ in how they allocate blame and advance appropriate social responses to child-involved shootings. First, “criminalization” involves a police response to both the child shooter and, especially after the 1911 promulgation of New York’s Sullivan Act requiring a license for concealable firearms, to adult custodians. Second, “responsibilization” allocates responsibility for the proper management of guns to adults at home (since the 1970s) as well as to society at large (since the 1980s) within a discourse that frames child-involved accidental shootings as indicative of broader social disorder. Conclusions – Narratives of child-involved shootings reflect a broader social transformation of accidents into public problems that occurred in the 20th century. As such, the results provide insight into both the contemporary gun debate and the moral valuation of children.

Cobb, Jessica and Kimberly Hoang. 2015. “Protagonist-Driven Urban Ethnography.” City and Community 14(4): 348-51.