Humboldt State University

Humboldt Journal of Social Relations

Table of Contents - Volume 32:1 (2009)

  1. Perlstadt, Harry. Translational Research: Enabling the Biomedical and Social Behavioral Sicences to Benefit Society.
  2. Krause, Jerrald D. Taking it into the Interactional Field: Toward Translational Applied Sociology.

  3. Forte, James A. Translating Theory and Research for Interactionist Practice: A Signs, Symbols, and Social Worlds Approach.

  4. Picou, J. Steven. Disaster Recovery as Translational Applied Sociology: Transforming Chronic Community Distress.

  5. Hanson, Richard R. and Sandra J. Woodside. Optimizing Marital Success: The Conscious Couple Uniting Process.

  6. Powers, Charles H. Blueprint for Detecting, Diagnosing, and Repairing Organizational Problems: A Toolkit for Success in Work as an Applied Sociologist.

Abstracts of Articles

  1. Perlstadt, Harry. Translational Research: Enabling the Biomedical and Social Behavioral Sicences to Benefit Society.
  2. Abstract

    Translational research has become a funding priority in both the biomedical and social behavioral sciences. Originating in cancer research it quickly spread to related health science fields, triggering a conflict between PhD and physician researchers. This is explored as a jurisdictional dispute between professions as well as the expansion of medical dominance into clinical research. Meanwhile social scientists encouraged both the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue to fund basic behavioral science research while including them in this new division of scientific labor. This lead to the funding of training programs for translational research in areas ranging from cancer to aging featuring sociologists in a variety of roles. Interactionist and applied sociologists have historically linked theory and practice. The new challenge is to create a two-way street to facilitate the implementation of interventions into the community while bringing community and patient views back to the biomedical researchers. Sociology must acknowledge this new role and reward those who move into it.

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  3. Krause, Jerrald D. Taking it into the Interactional Field: Toward Translational Applied Sociology.

  4. Abstract

    This article provides a referential framework for the rest of the articles in this special issue of HJSR devoted to translational applied sociology. The article argues that the rise of the translational research movement calls for development of a translational approach to practicing or applying sociology. There is a widespread “bottom-up” demand in today’s society, expressed by the voices of ordinary constituents and their governmental representatives in many different societal sectors, that knowledge should be made useful. New knowledge for its own sake or only for advancing the careers of knowledge-generating experts is no longer sufficient. The translational research movement has developed in response to this demand for useful knowledge. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), in response to the demand is redirecting funding towards research and implementation strategies that enhance a two-way flow of knowledge from “bench-to-bedside-to-community-and-back.” This article suggests that the demand for useful knowledge in today’s society, especially in the NIH translational research format of research that furthers the two-way flow from “bench to bedside to community and back” signals an opportunity for a practice-oriented sociology to rise to prominence in today’s society. The article recommends an approach that draws from the traditions of participatory research and participatory action that Chicago-style interactionist sociology has spawned, starting with William Whyte’s work. The article recommends developing from that base participatory problem solving approaches that are useful within the interactional fields forming the natural contexts in which the members of society are imbedded.

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  5. Forte, James A. Translating Theory and Research for Interactionist Practice: A Signs, Symbols, and Social Worlds Approach.

  6. Abstract

    In this paper, I propose that semiotic interactionism, a synthesis of systematic functional linguistics theory and social worlds theory, can enhance the work of translators mediating between basic science, applied science, and science users (patients, clients, and citizens). After introducing semiotics and symbolic interactionism, I make a case for their merged use for translational sociology. I review their complementary conceptions of the major obstacles faced by those communicating and cooperating across disciplinary, professional, theoretical, or role boundaries. I describe the similar conceptions of science and summarize the methodological directives offered by semioticians and interactionists. My own work using translation tools-- comparing, displaying, identifying equivalents, mapping, modeling, and profiling---informs classroom interaction designed to enhance theory mastery by novice practitioners. I close with a call for the institutionalization of the role of translator. (Keywords: Semiotics, Symbolic Interactionism, Translational Science)

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  7. Picou, J. Steven. Disaster Recovery as Translational Applied Sociology: Transforming Chronic Community Distress.

  8. Abstract

    The chronic social impacts of disasters will increasingly plague communities, families and individuals in the twenty-first century. Programs for mitigating chronic impacts are non-existent. This article describes the implementation of a translational, applied intervention strategy for survivors of the largest and most ecologically destructive technological disaster in the history of North America – the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The translational character of the program allowed for maximum “return flows” from residents of the target community and the “invention” and application of innovative program components. Evaluation data suggest that the program was relatively successful and the development of portable translational tools have allowed for continuous applications to other communities impacted by disasters over the last decade.

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  9. Hanson, Richard R. and Sandra J. Woodside. Optimizing Marital Success: The Conscious Couple Uniting Process.

  10. Abstract

    In the context of contemporary American society many experts, laypersons, and the media focus upon marital dissatisfaction and divorce as a major social problem. This research project has shifted the emphasis from the problems of marital dissatisfaction and divorce to the social construction of a successful conscious couple uniting process. Coming together and staying together in high degrees of unity is a common concern for couples across time and cultures. Our grounded theory analysis demonstrates how couples in the United States have constructed a love driven basic couple uniting process to resolve this concern. This theoretical construct provides an increased awareness that marriage is a holistic process with multiple stages, pathways, uniting, disuniting, and reuniting conditions. Additionally, the collaborative grounded theory student-teaching-research model is demonstrated. Also, experts who counsel couples could apply this theoretical construction and its applications to fit and enrich their counseling programs. Behavioral and Social scientists could translate and integrate this process analysis in their own models of marriage and the family. Finally, for the future, we propose creating a couple-consensus-building tool that will further optimize this grounded theory analysis into action.

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  11. Powers, Charles H. Blueprint for Detecting, Diagnosing, and Repairing Organizational Problems: A Toolkit for Success in Work as an Applied Sociologist.

  12. Abstract

    This paper offers a succinct blueprint for identifying and staying focused on some of the most vexing organizational problems faced by applied sociologists. Five key problems which in the author’s experience frequently hinder pursuit of excellence by organizations are: (a) Organizational goals are sometimes unclear or poorly conceived in light of organizational resources or circumstances in the competitive environment; (b) Improperly targeted outcomes assessment and performance evaluation can distort feedback, subverting the self-correction mechanisms which might otherwise operate to improve performance relative to organizational goals; (c) Organizational structure and culture can be poorly matched to each other or to organizational goals; (d) Competing agendas can deflect focus from mission critical activity; And (e) those interested in promoting change often underestimate the resistance their efforts at change will encounter.

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