Matthew Matsaganis

Project ReBOUND: Mental Health and Urban Communities during Economic Crises

This project, launched in collaboration with Dr. Mihye Seo, is a multilevel investigation into how economic crises impact the mental health of residents in urban communities. Key issues and questions driving the project include: (a) how communication resources – interpersonal channels, new and ‘old,’ mainstream, local, and ethnic media – people connect to in their everyday lives help them make sense of, cope with, and resolve problems related to volatile and adverse economic environs; (b) what individual and community -level social support mechanisms can buffer individuals’ mental health from the negative impact of economic crises (and under what conditions); and (c) what roles community structural characteristics (such as unemployment, poverty, residential tenure) play in mental health.

Understanding Ethnic Media: Producers, Consumers, and Societies

This ongoing project examines how media produced by ethnic communities, for ethnic communities affect ongoing negotiations of identity, perceived lines of division between ‘us’ and ‘others,’ and how the production and consumption of ethnic media affects the character of the larger media and societal landscapes. Historical, policy, cultural, organizational, professional, social relations, community, migration, and globalization dimensions of the study of ethnic media are addressed. Now, more than ever, marketing professionals and advertisers alike are paying close attention to ethnic media, as they promise access to a larger, more diverse, and very vibrant market. The need for research on ethnic media is increasingly clear in fields as diverse as media studies, ethnicity and race, political science, sociology, urban anthropology, communication, and journalism. The book I co-authored (with Drs. Vikki S. Katz and Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach),Understanding ethnic media: Producers, consumers and societies(SAGE Publications, 2011), and several journal articles (published and in preparation) reflect the work done as part of this project.

Digital Divide and The Social Impact of New Communication Technologies

This project has focused on two particular topics. In both cases, my research has been driven by the need to continue to seek ways to bridge digital divides. The first topic I have been investigating is the social uses of Voice-over-IP technology and related applications, especially among ethnic minority populations. A study and publication on this topic was supported by funding from Zero Divide. The second topic I have been exploring is the barriers to broadband adoption among ethnic minority populations. In 2010-2011, under the auspices of the University of Southern California’s Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, I led a study on broadband Internet adoption and use among Latinos in four major U.S. metropolitan areas (Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York).

Updated August 2012