Areas: social change; law and organizations; gender and sexualities; political sociology; comparative and historical sociology; U.S. higher education; multiple methods.
I am a PhD candidate with research and teaching interest in social change, law and organizations, and gender and sexualities.
My current research centers on understanding why antidiscrimination law is used and interpreted differently in organizations over time. My dissertation project and book manuscript examine this question using the case of Title IX, the 1972 U.S. civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. For decades, Title IX was known as the law that encouraged women’s participation in athletics. Today, it is increasingly used to combat sexual harassment, including assault, on college campuses. Drawing on new data and multiple methods, I explain this striking change. I take a comprehensive approach that traces how the law has been used across the organizational settings responsible for enforcement: the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the courts, and colleges and universities. Prevailing explanations of how law takes shape in organizations emphasize either external pressures or endogenous processes whereby the regulated give meaning to the regulation. Instead, I argue, cooperative and contentious interactions between two stakeholder groups—those protected by the law and professionals capable of enforcing it—transformed Title IX and, in turn, the concept of gender inequality itself.
The project has received support from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. A related article recently won the ASA Sex and Gender Section Sally Hacker Graduate Student Paper Award. I have published in Social Problems, Organization, Qualitative Sociology, and Socius.
Celene Reynolds. Forthcoming. “The Mobilization of Title IX across U.S. Colleges and Universities, 1994-2014.” Social Problems. Available OnlineFirst.
Celene Reynolds. 2017. “From Transgression to Tradition: Relationality, Organizational Absorption, and the Lascivious Costume Ball, 1970-1984.” Organization 24(6):916-37.
Celene Reynolds and Emily Erikson. 2017. “Agency, Identity, and the Emergence of Ritual Experience.” Socius 3: 1-14.
Celene Reynolds. 2017. “How Sexual Identities Change: Pragmatism, Habit, and Creativity in the ’Situation’ of the Lascivious Costume Ball.” Qualitative Sociology 40(2):215-35.