Ikee Gibson co-authors article in the American Sociological Review

March 13, 2024 by Juanita Lam

Congratulations to PhD student Ikee Gibson on a new publication in the American Sociological Review. The article, “Tokenism and Its Long-Term Consequences: Evidence from the Literary Field,” is co-authored with Clayton Childress (UBC) and University of Toronto Sociology alum Jaishree Nayyar. Studying tokenism at the macro- and meso- levels, the authors go beyond exploring its effects on individuals to understand the cultural and structural environments that lead to the creation of tokenism. Childress, Nayyar, and Gibson argue that tokenism emerges when members of nondominant groups experience different constraints for attaining success than do those belonging to non-tokenized groups; the authors demonstrate these conditions in the creative industries broadly, and the realm of the literary Booker Prize specifically. Examining the Booker Prize, they find that for non-white authors, there is “(1) evidence of tokenism, (2) unequal treatment of those under consideration for tokenization, and (3) long-term retention consequences for those who were not chosen”. While tokenism leads to the accelerated success of a limited number of tokenized non-white authors, it pits non-white authors against each other, ultimately reducing the long-term retention (in citations, library holdings, and attention, among other measures) of nondominant group authors who did not receive the prize.

The authors discuss the implications of these findings for addressing inequality in their article, available open access in the American Sociological Review.

Ikee Gibson is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research is on culture and networks, work, social groups, identity, and inequality.