Publications by Author: Hamilton, Laura

Hamilton, Laura, et al. Forthcoming. ““Hegemonic Femininities and Intersectional Domination.””. Sociological Theory.
Lerma, Veronica, Laura Hamilton, and Kelly Nielsen. 2019. ““Racialized Equity Labor, University Appropriation, and Student Resistance.””. Social Problems
Hamilton, Laura, Josipa Roksa, and Kelly Nielsen. 2018. ““Providing a “Leg Up”: Parental Involvement and Opportunity Hoarding in College.””. Sociology of Education 91 : 111-131.
Hamilton, Laura, and Simon Cheng. 2018. ““Going Greek: The Organization of Campus Life and Class-Based Graduation Gaps.””. Social Forces 96 : 977-1008.
Powell, Brian, et al. 2016. ““Implications of Changing Family Forms for Children.””. Annual Review of Sociology 42 : 10.1-10.22.
Hamilton, Laura. 2016. Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for College Women’s Success. University of Chicago Press.
Hamilton, Laura. 2014. ““The Revised MRS: Gender Complementarity at College.””. Gender & Society 28 : 236-264.
Armstrong, Elizabeth A., et al. 2014. ““‘Good Girls:’ Social Class and Sexual Privilege.””. Social Psychology Quarterly 77 : 100-122.
Hamilton, Laura. 2013. “More is More or More is Less? Parental Financial Investments during College?”. American Sociological Review 78 (1) : 70–95.
Armstrong, Elizabeth A, and Laura Hamilton. 2013. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality. Harvard University Press.
Hamilton, Laura, and Elizabeth A Armstrong. 2012. “"The (Mis)Education of Monica and Karen.””. Contexts 11 : 22-27.
Hamilton, Laura, Claudia Geist, and Brian Powell. 2011. “Marital Name Change as a Window into Gender Attitudes”. Gender & Society 25 (2) : 145–175. Abstract
The need to revise scholars' approach to the measurement of gender attitudes — long dominated by the separate-spheres paradigm — is growing increasingly timely as women's share of the labor force approaches parity with men's. Recent years have seen revived interest in marital name change as a gendered practice with the potential to aid in this task; however, scholars have yet to test its effectiveness as one possible indicator of gender attitudes. In this article we present views toward marital name change as a potential window into contemporary gender attitudes and most centrally as an illustration of the types of measures that hold great potential for attitudinal research. Using quantitative analyses from a national survey, we show that views on name change reflect expected sociodemographic cleavages and are more strongly linked to a wide array of other gender-related attitudes than are views regarding gendered separate spheres — even net of sociodemographic factors. We then turn to interlinked qualitative data to illustrate three reasons why name-change measures so effectively capture broader beliefs about gender. We conclude by looking at what attitudes about name change can tell us about future directions for the conceptualization and measurement of gender attitudes.
Armstrong, Elizabeth A, Laura Hamilton, and Paula England. 2010. “Is Hooking up Bad for Young Women? Compared to What?”. Contexts 9 (3) : 22–27. Abstract
Like others, Stepp, the author of Unhooked, suggests that restricting sex to relationships is the way to challenge gender inequality in youth sex…. However, research suggests two reasons why Stepp's strategy won't work: first, relationships are also plagued by inequality. Second, valorizing relationships as the ideal context for women's sexual activity reinforces the notion that women shouldn't want sex outside of relationships and stigmatizes women who do. A better approach would challenge gender inequality in both relationships and hookups. It is critical to attack the tenacious sexual double standard that leads men to disrespect their hookup partners. Ironically, this could improve relationships because women would be less likely to tolerate "greedy" or abusive relationships if they were treated better in hookups. Fostering relationships among young adults should go hand-in-hand with efforts to decrease intimate partner violence and to build egalitarian relationships that allow more space for other aspects of life such as school, work, and friendship.
Hamilton, Laura, and Elizabeth A Armstrong. 2009. “Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood: Double Binds and Flawed Options”. Gender & Society 23 (5) : 589–616. Abstract
Current work on hooking up — or casual sexual activity on college campuses — takes an individualistic, "battle of the sexes" approach and underestimates the importance of college as a classed location. The authors employ an interactional, intersectional approach using longitudinal ethnographic and interview data on a group of college women's sexual and romantic careers. They find that heterosexual college women contend with public gender beliefs about women's sexuality that reinforce male dominance across both hookups and committed relationships. The four-year university, however, also reflects a privileged path to adulthood. The authors show that it is characterized by a classed self-development imperative that discourages relationships but makes hooking up appealing. Experiences of this structural conflict vary. More privileged women struggle to meet gender and class guidelines for sexual behavior, placing them in double binds. Less privileged women find the class beliefs of the university foreign and hostile to their sexual and romantic logics.
Hamilton, Laura, Simon Cheng, and Brian Powell. 2007. “Adoptive Parents, Adaptive Parents: Evaluating the Importance of Biological Ties for Parental Investment”. American Sociological Review 72 (1) : 95–116. Abstract
Contemporary legal and scholarly debates emphasize the importance of biological parents for children's well-being. Scholarship in this vein often relies on stepparent families even though adoptive families provide an ideal opportunity to explore the role of biology in family life. In this study, we compare two-adoptive-parent families with other families on one key characteristic — parental investment. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten-First Grade Waves (ECLS-K), basic group comparisons reveal an adoptive advantage over all family types. This advantage is due in part to the socioeconomic differences between adoptive and other families. Once we control for these factors, two-adoptive-parent families invest at similar levels as two biological-parent families but still at significantly higher levels in most resources than other types of families. These findings are inconsistent with the expectations of sociological family structure explanations, which highlight barriers to parental investment in nontraditional families, and volutionary science's kin selection theory, which maintains that parents are genetically predisposed to invest in biological children. Instead, these patterns suggest that adoptive parents enrich their children's lives to compensate for the lack of biological ties and the extra challenges of adoption.
Hamilton, Laura. 2007. “Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women's Gender Strategies and Homophobia”. Gender & Society 21 (2) : 145–172. Abstract

In this study, the author uses ethnographic and interview data from a women's floor in a university residence hall to examine how some heterosexual women's gender strategies contribute to their homophobia. The author describes a prevailing heterosexual erotic market on campus — the Greek party scene — and the status hierarchy linked to it. Within this hierarchy, heterosexual women assign lesbians low rank because of their assumed disinterest in the erotic market and perceived inability to acquire men's erotic attention. Active partiers invest more in this social world and prefer higher levels of social distance from lesbians than do others. These women also engage in same-sex eroticism primarily designated for a male audience. They define their behaviors as heterosexual, reducing the spaces in which lesbians can be comfortable. Finally, the author concludes by discussing the unique nature of women's homophobia and the links between sexism and heterosexism.

Armstrong, Elizabeth A, Laura Hamilton, and Brian Sweeney. 2006. “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape”. Social problems 53 (4) : 483–499. Abstract
This article explains why rates of sexual assault remain high on college campuses. Data are from a study of college life at a large midwestern university involving nine months of ethnographic observation of a women's floor in a "party dorm," in-depth interviews with 42 of the floor residents, and 16 group interviews with other students. We show that sexual assault is a predictable outcome of a synergistic intersection of processes operating at individual, organizational, and interactional levels. Some processes are explicitly gendered, while others appear to be gender neutral. We discuss student homogeneity, expectations that partiers drink heavily and trust their party-mates, and residential arrangements. We explain how these factors intersect with more obviously gendered processes such as gender differences in sexual agendas, fraternity control of parties, and expectations that women be nice and defer to men. We show that partying produces fun as well as sexual assault, generating student resistance to criticizing the party scene or menís behavior in it. We conclude with implications for policy.