About

Greetings!a-tierney-bio-pic

I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. I hold advanced degrees in Political Science and Policy Analysis. My research interests include: social movements, immigration, race/ethnicity, law and legal mobilization, policy, political sociology, media, minority and American Indian political representation, and technology.


My work
has appeared in academic journals, such as Mobilization, Research in Social Movements, Conflict, and Change, Sociology Compass (forthcoming) and in edited volumes, such as Players and Arenas: The Interactive Dynamics of Protest and in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Social Policy. Currently, I am working on intersection of technology, higher education, and social movements as a researcher with the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub for the Connected Learning Research Network, with Mimi Ito. In this capacity, I evaluate and assess how technology is used in multiple pedagogical environments.

My dissertation work examines how citizenship policies leave lasting path-dependent effects which create systems of inequality/stratification, bind future collective action attempts, and influence political and cultural outcomes. I use mixed methods, including comparative-historical strategies and discourse analysis, to examine why four immigrant and indigenous social movement organizations achieved varying political influence and mass media coverage. To do so, I construct an original dataset of television nightly news segments (1968-present), federal legislation, and Supreme Court rulings to conclude that citizenship policies altered the course of collective action for these organizations through two central mechanisms: contraction of institutional channels and the racialization/politicization of media frames.

More broadly, my work takes a mixed-methods approach, ranging from applications of innovative mixed-methods strategies, such as: qualitative comparative analysis (QCA; Ragin 2008) to comparative-historical research design strategies. During my tenure as a doctoral student I have worked on multiple NSF funded-initiatives: first, with my advisor, Edwin Amenta, to explore how social movements are covered in national newspapers and second, to conduct nationally-implemented panel surveys, designed to assess the role of optimism and pessimism in shaping racial perceptions and political beliefs of Americans.

CONTACT: actierne@uci.edu