Korver-Glenn, Elizabeth. Forthcoming. "Brokering Ties and Inequality: How White Real Estate Agents Recreate Advantage and Exclusion in Urban Housing Markets." Social Currentsdoi.org/10.1177/2329496517748333

The real estate brokerage industry has long perpetuated overt discrimination against minority housing consumers, but we know little about how it may reproduce inequality through less overt means. In this paper, I highlight real estate agents’ reliance on social networks as key to how this ‘new inequality’ happens. Specifically, I investigate the contextual factors that enable White agents to maintain predominantly White networks and how disparate-impact consequences for minority home buyers and sellers emerge when White agents deploy their networks in ordinary housing situations. My examination relies on one year of ethnographic research with 10 real estate agents and 49 in-depth interviews with real estate agents, home buyers, and home sellers in the Houston housing market. I begin my analysis by documenting agents’ racially stratified networks. I then unpack how agent pay structure and status as market gatekeepers supported the persistence of White agents’ White networks and constrained minority agents’ business opportunities. Finally, I show how White agents’ reliance on White networks came together with other widely-shared practices to negatively affect minority home buyers and sellers, excluding them from for-sale homes and competitive customer service. I conclude by discussing the implications of my findings for mitigating housing market inequality.

Howell, Junia and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn.* Forthcoming. "Neighborhoods, Race, and the 21st-Century Housing Appraisal Industry." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.

The history of the U.S. housing market is bound up in systemic, explicit racism. However, little research has investigated whether racial inequality also persists in the contemporary appraisal industry and, if present, how it happens. The present paper addresses this gap by centering the appraisal industry as a key housing market player in the reproduction of racial inequality. Using a census of all single-family tax-appraised homes in Harris County (Houston), Texas, we examine the influence of neighborhood racial composition on home values independent of home characteristics and quality; neighborhood housing stock, socioeconomic status, and amenities; and consumer housing demand. Noting substantial neighborhood racial inequality in home values persists even when these variables are accounted for, we then use ethnographic and interview data to investigate the appraisal processes that enable this inequality to continue. Our findings suggest variation in the appraisal process coupled with appraisers’ racialized perceptions of neighborhoods perpetuate racialized evaluations of neighborhood quality. We conclude with suggestions for future research and policy interventions aimed at standardizing the appraisal process.

Elliott, James R., Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, and Dan Bolger. Forthcoming. "The Successive Nature of City Parks: Making and Remaking Unequal Access Over Time." City & Community.

This study examines the historical establishment and shifting residential access to city parks over time.  It begins by engaging and extending a theory of urbanization as socio-environmental succession.  It then assembles and analyzes longitudinal data on city park creation and neighborhood change in Houston from 1947 to 2015.  Results reveal how socially privileged residents have long enjoyed unequal access to city parks as well as strong influence over where new ones are established.  At the same time, growing minority populations have managed to gain more equitable access not by having new parks come to them so much as by moving into neighborhoods where Whites once lived.  These dynamics obscure past processes and patterns of inequality while allowing newer, unexpected ones to emerge.  We conclude with a discussion of what these findings imply for understanding not just unequal access to city parks but broader processes of urbanization.

Chávez, Sergio, Heather B. Edelblute, and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn. 2016. "Life on the Edge: Balancing Gendered and Occupational Identities among Unauthorized Mexican Migrant Roofers." Qualitative Sociology 39(2):125-146. doi.org/10.1007/s11133-016-9326-7

Scholars have addressed the economic, gendered, and emotional dimensions of migration, especially as migrants move from origin to destination. However, scholarship on return migration and the subjective experiences of reintegrating to origin communities is poorly understood. In this paper, we examine the return migration of formerly unauthorized migrants who labored as roofers in the United States. We argue that the migration process redefines men’s masculinity as they attempt to balance family life in Mexico and their occupational lives in the U.S., all of which are essential for their identity but remain separated by an international border. We draw on 40 in-depth interviews with return migrant men in a small city in Guanajuato, Mexico to examine the emotional tensions men experience regarding the decision to remain in close proximity to family in Mexico and a desire to return again to their economically and emotionally fulfilling occupations in the U.S. We find that migrants’ nostalgia for prior U.S. labor market experience, in juxtaposition to reentry into the Mexican labor market, competes with current feelings of happiness and contentment obtained through family reintegration. These competing feelings, together with economic need, help explain the complex meaning of migration for return migrant men. We conclude by suggesting that once men have been exposed to U.S. life, the occupational identity becomes a “pull” that encourages future migration trips.

Korver-Glenn, Elizabeth. 2015. "(Collective) Memory of Racial Violence and the Social Construction of the Hispanic Category among Houston Hispanics." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1(3):424-438. doi.org/10.1177/2332649215576757

Prior U.S.-based research examining the collective remembrance of racially charged events has focused on the black-white binary, largely bypassing such remembrance among U.S. Hispanics. In this article, I ask how a group of Mexican-origin Hispanics in an historic Houston barrio remember two racially charged events as well as whether and how these events are publicly commemorated. Additionally, race and collective memory research has often highlighted the role of collective memory in shaping race relations. I argue that collective memory can also be an institution, structuring macro- and micro-level representations of race. Thus, I ask whether and how respondents’ memories shape the social construction of the Hispanic category. I find strong memory convergence with respect to one event—the case of Jose Campos Torres—and divergence in three directions with respect to the Moody Park riot. The former corresponds to a collective understanding of what Hispanic meant in the past while the latter corresponds to a fractured understanding of what Hispanic means in the present. I also explore how respondents’ racial self-perceptions coincide with their various interpretations of the riot. Overall, I theorize that a fractured collective memory of a racially charged event suggests a fractured collective identity and contributes to an ambiguous Hispanic category. I conclude by discussing suggestions for future research.

Emerson, Michael O., Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, and Kiara W. Douds. 2015. "Studying Race and Religion: A Critical Assessment." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1(3):349-359. doi.org/10.1177/2332649215584759

The authors provide an analytical review of the past 115 years of scholarship on race, ethnicity, and religion. Too often work in the study of race and ethnicity has not taken the influence of religion seriously enough, with the consequence being an incomplete understanding of racialization, racial and ethnic identity, and racial inequality. The authors examine key works in the field; conduct an assessment of articles published on race, ethnicity, and religion in six journals over a five-year period; and outline where scholarship should head in future years. Most notably, until the mutual influences of race, ethnicity and religion are better understood, the power of each is underestimated.

Korver-Glenn, Elizabeth, Esther Chan, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2015. “Perceptions of Science Education Among African American and White Evangelicals: A Texas Case Study.” Review of Religious Research 57(1):131-148. doi.org/10.1007/s13644-014-0194-x

Evangelicals have been highlighted at the intersections of religion, science, and education, yet little is known about how evangelicals perceive public science education and how these perceptions compare across racial lines. Here we analyze how African American and white evangelicals view science education through 40 in-depth interviews collected from two evangelical congregations in Texas. Without raising the topic of evolution, we find that African American leaders, white leaders, and white laity engaged in faith-based, evolution-contesting discourse, but African American laity rarely framed science education in faith-based ways. For them, science education was often linked to educational resources or was distant from their lived experiences. Our findings clarify disjuncture and overlap among African American and white evangelicals by exploring perceptions that challenge and affirm the public institution of science education in different ways. Our conclusion stresses the need to examine perceptions of science and education among religious subgroups differentiated along social and historical lines.

Korver-Glenn, Elizabeth. 2014. “Middle-Class Mexican Americans, Neighborhood Affect, and Redevelopment in Houston’s Northside Barrio.” City & Community 13(4):381-402. dx.doi.org/10.1111/cico.12089

Prior research has illuminated the destructive impact of redevelopment in racially marginalized U.S. barrios, but we know little about middle-class Mexican Americans’ perceptions of barrio redevelopment, why they may perceive redevelopment in different ways, and what the implications of their perceptions are. Using ethnographic- and interview-based methods, I ask how middle-class Mexican Americans in Houston's Northside barrio perceive recent redevelopment efforts underway in the neighborhood. I also ask why respondents perceive redevelopment in different ways, with some viewing redevelopment as progress and others viewing it as destructive. Not finding systematic differences across categories of generation-since-immigration, race, residence, class, or class background, I argue respondents’ sentimental and behavioral attachment to barrio places, institutions, people, and culture is the best explanation for their differing perceptions of redevelopment. Finally, I ask what the implications of their perceptions may be, as a fractured middle-class Mexican American response may facilitate destructive redevelopment processes in the future.