Department of Sociology

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    Narcissistic sexual predation: Keith Raniere’s grooming practices in NXIVM
    (2021) Raine, Susan
    The 2019 trial of NXIVM founder and leader, Keith Raniere, detailed various forms and aspects of his exploitative practices, including those of a sexual nature. In this article I address a particular component of the sexual abuse process: the grooming of women for sexual exploitation. Many of Raniere’s teachings and behaviors prepared—or groomed—female members of NXIVM for his increasingly coercive and humiliating sexual demands. In addition to forms of grooming directed through group teachings, Raniere also established personal relationships with numerous women, during which he groomed them on an individual basis. Using Grant Sinnamon’s (2017) research on the grooming of adults for sexual abuse, in conjunction with Janja Lalich’s (1997) work on the psychosexual exploitation of women in cults, I analyze the many ways that Raniere groomed women in NXIVM. Furthermore, I integrate Sinnamon’s (2017) specific observations regarding narcissistic sexual predators to explore Raniere’s probable narcissism and how this manifested in his grooming practices.
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    Reinventing the self: NXIVM’s promises, secrets and lies
    (2021) Raine, Susan
    In this article, I examine the multilevel cultic organization NXIVM, using Susie Scott’s (2011) reinventive institution thesis—an update of Erving Goffman’s (1961) work on total institutions. Scott’s (2011) work addresses some of the broader sociocultural shifts that have fostered a turn inward toward self-improvement in the quest for new, transformative identities. Such shifts have created a proliferation of movements, organisations, and groups— including NXIVM—that offer ideologies and practices that promise to fulfill these reinventive goals. Offering opportunities for macrolevel and microlevel analyses, I employ Scott’s model not only to situate NXIVM within this cultural milieu, but also to examine some of the specifics of its structure, the nature of interpersonal relationships, and the promises that the movement and its founder, Keith Raniere, made. Moreover, as Scott’s (2011) work reveals, attractive as they may be, reinventive institutions incorporate structures of power that render them far from benign. Hence, by drawing on Scott’s postulations, I examine features of NXIVM that illustrate both the promises and problems of reinventive institutions. Moreover, I discuss those aspects of NXIVM that have more in common with total institutions than reinventive ones, demonstrating that, at least in this case, the two types of institution may operate within one organisation. To explore both reinventive and totalistic characteristics, I discuss some of the key features of the following NXIVM organisations: Executive Success Programs (ESP), Jness, the Society of Protectors (SOP), and Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS).
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    Hashtag boycott sur Twitter en 2020 et 2021
    (2022) Boulianne, Shelley; Mullin, Samantha; Stevens, Leanne; López, José Gonzalo Peña; Sleptcov, Nikita
    Les données ont été recueillies sur Twitter en utilisant une interface de programmation d’application (API). Nous avons cherché pour le hashtag #boycott. Nous avons rassemblé 173,129 tweets du 1er Janvier, 2020 jusqu’au 29 Décembre, 2020. Nous avons aussi rassemblé 150,272 tweets du 1er Janvier, 2021 jusqu’au 30 Décembre, 2021. Pour compléter le codage du contenu, nous avons supprimé les copies double et sélectionné les tweets qui avaient reçu 20 ou plus de ‘‘j’aime’’. En 2020, le processus de sélection a conclu le codage avec 1,295 publications/tweets (comparé à 173,129 au total) et en 2021, avec 1,167 publications/tweets (comparé à 150,272 au total). Pour les données de 2020, les deuxième et quatrième auteures de ce rapport ont codées les publications Twitter. Pour les données de 2021, les deuxième et troisième auteures de ce rapport ont codées les publications Twitter. En fonction de la concordance interjuges, veuillez contacter la première auteure de ce rapport.
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    Hashtag boycott on Twitter in 2020 and 2021
    (2022) Boulianne, Shelley; Mullin, Samantha; Stevens, Leanne; López, José Gonzalo Peña; Sleptcov, Nikita
    The data were gathered using the Twitter application programming interface (API). We searched for #boycott. We gathered 173,129 tweets from January 1, 2020 to December 29, 2020. We also gathered 150,272 tweets from January 1, 2021 to December 30, 2021. To complete coding of content, we removed duplicates, then selected tweets that received 20 or more likes. In 2020, the selection process resulted in the coding of 1,295 posts (from 173,129) and in 2021, 1,167 posts (from 150,272). For the 2020 data, the second and fourth authors of this report coded the posts. For the 2021 data, the second and third authors of this report coded the posts. In terms of intercoder reliability, please contact the first author.
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    Complicating the resilience model: a four‐country study about misinformation
    (2022) Boulianne, Shelley; Tenove, Chris; Buffie, Jordan
    The resilience model to disinformation (Humprecht et al., 2020, 2021) suggests that countries will differ in exposure and reactions to disinformation due to their distinct media, economic, and political environments. In this model, higher media trust and the use of public service broadcasters are expected to build resilience to disinformation, while social media use and political polarization undermine resilience. To further test and develop the resilience model, we draw on a four-country (the US, Canada, the UK, and France) survey conducted in February 2021. We focus on three individual-level indicators of a lack of resilience: awareness of, exposure to, and sharing of misinformation. We find that social media use is associated with higher levels of all three measures, which is consistent with the resilience model. Social media use decreases resilience to misinformation. Contrary to the expectations of the resilience model, trust in national news media does not build resilience. Finally, we consider the use of public broadcasting media (BBC, France Télévisions, and CBC). The use of these sources does not build resilience in the short term. Moving forward, we suggest that awareness of, exposure to, and reactions to misinformation are best understood in terms of social media use and left–right ideology. Furthermore, instead of focusing on the US as the exceptional case of low resilience, we should consider the UK as the exceptional case of high resilience to misinformation. Finally, we identify potential avenues to further develop frameworks to understand and measure resilience to misinformation.