Sandra J.Ball-Rokeach

Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach


Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach is a Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She also is a Principal Investigator with The Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center located in the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles. Ball-Rokeach received her doctorate in sociology from the University of Washington. For most of her career, she has been conducting research on the mass media.

She joined the faculty of the Annenberg School For Communication in 1986. She is author of three books -- Violence and The Media with R. K. Baker,Theories of Mass Communication with M. L. DeFleur, The Great American Values Test: Influencing Behavior and Belief Through Television with M. Rokeach and J. W. Grube -- and editor of a fourth, Media, Audience and Social Structure with M. G. Cantor. In addition to more than seventy-five papers and journal articles. Journals in which she has published scholarly research include The American Sociological Review, Social Problems, Communication Research, Public Opinion Quarterly, Journalism Quarterly, and Social Psychology Quarterly. A Fulbright Scholar and Rockefeller Fellow, Ball-Rokeach has been invited to give lectures in many different parts of the world, including Hungary, France, Egypt, India, Slovenia, Vietnam, Israel, the Czech Republic, Japan, and Poland.

The major questions that have guided Ball-Rokeach's theory-building and research are: why, when, and how do media production processes matter in the lives of people and their societies? how is violence, collective and interpersonal, best understood? what do people and groups do when they experience ambiguous social environments? under what conditions will people, individually and collectively, change their beliefs? how do we understand the persistence of ethnocentrism and prejudice? and why are some social movements successful change agents when most are not?

At present, Ball-Rokeach is involved in a number of scholarly and research activities, including: co-editing Communication Research with C. R. Berger, completing five papers for publication (A Theory of Media Power, A Scale for the Measurement of Individuals' Relations with the Media, Subcultural Media in the Persistence of Ethnocentrism in Central Europe, Choosing Equality: Value-Framing and Behavioral Choice, and The Measurement of Belief); conducting a funded research project designed to alter a media production process to integrate injury prevention and commercial goals; over-seeing evaluation research vis a vis USC's academic programs for special-admit athletes; and development of Mexico-US project to study the formation "alluvial" culture in the political economy of the frontera.

Current university service activities include serving as Chair of the Annenberg School's Doctoral Program and serving as a member of the Provost's Oversight Committee on Academic Athletic Affairs, the Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure Committee for Social Sciences and Professional Schools, the Academic Senate Library Committee, and the Steering Committee for the Study of Women and Men In Society Program and its Graduate Studies Committee.

Ball-Rokeach launched the Media and Injury Prevention Program in 1991. Returning to the Southern California area in the late 80s, she noticed a number of changes in the driving experience since her days as a college student. Traffic reports had become a prominent feature of the commuting with radio experience, Southern California drivers had become much more aggressive, and the sights and delays of traffic crashes had become all too common. One morning caught in traffic en route to USC, she wondered if traffic reports might be an effective way to communicate with drivers -- to remind them of their mortality and that there are more important things than "beating someone out" or getting someplace a few seconds quicker. As a media effects specialist, she knew that traffic reports could be particularly good communication vehicles, because they are frequent, relevant, and received by a captive audience. From that morning commute idea, came the development of the Media and Injury Prevention Program.

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