Sociologist to discuss identity construction, “16 and Pregnant” in April 10 lecture

Mary ErdmansOn April 10, new faculty member Mary Erdmans will give a talk titled “That’s Not Who I Am.” Erdmans, associate professor in the Department of Sociology, will discuss ways in which study participants construct their identities in life-story interviews.

Erdmans will draw from three of her studies, each of which focuses on how participants construct a representation of their lives for the interviewer. The first study is based on five women who were co-authors, the second involves life-story interviews with 108 teen mothers and the third is a content analysis of the reality-television show 16 and Pregnant. For the latter two, Erdmans illustrates how the stories told are part of an effort to manage the stigma of teen motherhood.

In all three studies, the women construct an image of themselves that is in conflict with the image constructed of them by others. Erdman will examine how these conflicts get negotiated in the process of doing research.

The lecture, which will be in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Community Studies Center room 108, will begin at 4:30 p.m., following a 4 p.m. meet-and-greet reception. Food and refreshments will be provided.