Friday, March 30, 2018

URSP Student Elizabeth Portaluppi Researches the Cultural Differences between States with Varying Rates of Inward Queer Migration

This continuation project is based on my previous research on internal queer migration. Last semester, with the support of an OSCAR research grant, I conducted a quantitative study that examined the patterns of queer migration across U.S. states from the years 2000 to 2010. In addition, I was able to identify some possible push and pull factors that influence these patterns, including state politics. This semester, I am taking a more qualitative approach in order to learn about the apparent or perceived cultural differences between the states with the highest and lowest rates of inward queer migration.

To do this, I have created a sample (n=500) of news publications from a sample of ten U.S. states. Through a content analysis of the themes and language used in the various publications, I will increase our understanding of the social, cultural, and political push and pull factors. This research will add to my previous work, providing a mixed methods approach to examining and explaining migratory patterns of same-sex couples.

Both my previous and current projects have allowed me to apply what I’ve learned in my coursework at George Mason. I am able to combine elements of queer theory with various sociological methods, to design a study that is more inclusive and intentionally intersectional. This opportunity forced me to rely on my wealth of knowledge, while simultaneously seeking out new concepts and methods that have only strengthened my sociological skill set.

While I will not be attending graduate school directly following graduation, it is a long-term goal. I hope to continue this project, as well as utilize what I’ve learned to create and conduct new studies. My research interests are constantly growing and having an outlet to explore new topics is extremely liberating. I look forward to sharing my process and findings with my peers in the sociology community at this year’s annual Southern Sociological Society conference this April. Being a URSP recipient has been a great honor and continues to be an amazing academic and professional resource.