Tony Silva is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Oregon. His research and teaching interests include gender, sexuality, rural sociology, qualitative and quantitative methods, and race/ethnicity.
His research examines how individuals negotiate and understand social categories that—while often perceived as natural—are actually socially constructed. Specifically, he examines gender and sexual identities, including their intersections with race, space, class, and age, and investigates diversity within them. As a mixed-methods researcher, he conducts research using interviews and secondary data analysis of nationally representative surveys. Doing so allows him to detail complex, nuanced themes and to uncover broad social relationships at the national level. Examinations of meaning-making processes are usually the focus of qualitative research, but he seeks to bring this focus to quantitative research as he utilizes nationally representative data to examine sexual identities.
Through in-depth interviews, his dissertation takes an intersectional approach to understand how whiteness, rurality, class, and age influence the gender and sexual identities of straight-identified men who have sex with men.
His projects help highlight the differences between sexual orientation and sexual identity. Sexual orientation refers to how individuals experience their attractions, fantasies, and desires, as well as their sexual practices. Sexual identity refers to how individuals understand their sexuality in context of other aspects of their lives, especially cultural groups (like gay or straight communities) and institutions (like marriage).
You can see details about his papers published in Sociological Perspectives, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Gender & Society, and Sexualities under the "publications" tab.