My work shows how crucial relational processes are for answering pressing questions about gender, family, and health in a dynamic and changing world. I organize my research around three core questions
How do peer groups reinforce or challenge established gender norms within a social setting?
Gender is a fundamental stratifying system that permeates social life. How gender matters, and what gender means, depends on social contexts. Adolescent peer groups are one important social context where gender acquires social significance. My work on adolescent friendship data shows how social networks punish or protect adolescents whose actions or identities do not conform to traditional gender norms. This work has been applied to substantive problems of adolescent sexual behavior, science identity maintenance, and emotional attachment.
How do patterns of social connections facilitate or constrain access to resources and exposure to risk for health outcomes?
Network theories share the fundamental premise that individual behaviors and outcomes cannot be fully understood without reference to the social context facilitates and constrains access to resources and support. I have applied this insight to several substantive problems including domestic violence support, epidemic potential, and intervention evaluation.
Can network models uncover emergent roles in everyday life?
My work on contemporary families uses a positional approach to derive social roles from network data. People enact the same social role if they have a similar relational pattern. I have used positional ideas in two substantive areas. In my work on defining the family I use patterns of interactions derived from time use data to discover family roles e.g. occupants of a “mother” role communicate with, care for, and discipline a child. In my work on cultural patterns I use a positional approach to understand patterns of morality in a community setting. My co-authors and I ask whether people who are connected to the same people, across the same networks (in other words, people who share a social role within the community) are more likely to share attitudes about who is ultimately responsible for alcohol problems in the community.
I am looking for graduate students who are interested in social networks and who want to develop their technical skills and theoretical imagination. I am interested in working with students with a wide range of substantive interests as long as they are interested in taking a relational approach.
I am also interested in working with undergraduate students who want to research current literature in family dynamics.
I teach undergraduate theory (SOCI355) and I taught the graduate seminar in social networks (SOCI902) this fall.
G. Robin Gauthier, Sara Francisco, Kirk Dombrowski. 2018. “Social integration and domestic violence support in an Indigenous community: Women’s recommendations of formal versus informal sources of support.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. DOI: 10.1177.0886260518768567
Gauthier, G. Robin, Patricia Wonch Hill, Julia McQuillan, Amy Spiegel and Judy Diamond. 2017. “The potential scientist’s dilemma: How the Masculinization of Science Shapes Friendships and Science Job Aspirations” Social Sciences, 6(1):14. DOI: 10.3390/socsci6010014
Dombrowski, Kirk, Patrick Habecker, G. Robin Gauthier, Bilal Khan, Joshua Moses. 2016. “Relocation Redux: Labrador Inuit Population Movements and Inequalities in the Land Claims Era.” Current Anthropology. 57(6). DOI: 10.1086/689210