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Department ofSociology


Laura Robinson Honored with National Career Achievement Award

Robinson Receives National Award

Robinson Receives National Award

By Noah McClain


Our colleague Professor Laura Robinson has just been awarded the 2023 William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award. This national award is conferred by the American Sociological Association’s Communication, Information Technology, and Media Sociology Section (CITAMS) to recognize: “a sustained body of research by a scholar who has provided an outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the areas relevant to the section.” The award recognizes Professor Robinson’s status as a luminary in her field.

Dr. Robinson has long been in the vanguard of the emerging field of digital sociology. Her work has brought Bourdieusian insights to the digital realm, has thought through the adaptation of ethnographic methods to online domains, and used innovative offline qualitative methods to examine how the digital realm fits in negotiations within families, and how its information is leveraged by disadvantaged youth. Robinson’s dozens of articles, chapters and volumes have examined how events are marked, debated and remembered in and through online settings and across national contexts; the problem of selfhood and online social interaction; the digital mediation of trauma; and have spoken to problems in the sociologies of work, youth, health, and even sound.

Dr. Robinson continues to lead global collaborations that have built digital inequalities as an emerging subfield in sociology on the one hand, and a growing interdisciplinary social science field on the other. Laura’s achievements include leading consensus-driven endeavors to evaluate the state of research on “legacy inequalities in the information age” and to establish a research agenda for “digital inequalities 3.0”. The projects were prescient for the outbreak of the pandemic, when Professor Robinson led scholars from across the globe in an even broader effort to reckon with the problem of digital inequalities, dilemmas and articulations under new global circumstances, through consensus statements of emerging questions and problems, and a series of special journal volumes which sought a new model in which the often-slow pace of sociological production might be expedited in a moment when it stood to matter most. Indeed, Laura’s work has done much to embed the field of digital inequalities into the larger study of inequality writ large in fields including sociology, communication, and internet studies.

Dr. Robinson’s collaborations in these and other projects have enlisted researchers across career stages and continents. An important achievement of her career has been to produce new outlets and new opportunities for scholarly participation for senior and emerging scholars alike, as well as many of our SCU undergraduates.

Laura’s intellectual leadership is reflected by Google Scholar’s ranking of her citations in her areas of expertise (digital inequality, digital divide, digital sociology, symbolic interactionism, and societal studies of the pandemic). Robinson is one of the top 25 most-cited scholars at SCU.

Laura’s long history of service includes serving as past chair of her American Sociological Association section, editor of two book series, editorial board member of leading international journals in multiple languages, North American Coordinator of the Brazil-U.S. Colloquium on Communication Research, Steering Committee Member of the Digital Sociology Thematic Group of the International Sociological Association, and Lead Organizer of the Media Sociology Symposium.

More prone to give credit to others than to take it for herself, Robinson’s important and prolific output, development of her colleagues, and leadership in the profession and field all culminate in her selection for the 2023 William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award.