Research and Interest Areas

Aging and the Life Course
AgroFood Systems
Class Analysis and Historical Change
Communities and Urban Sociology
Comparative-Historical Sociology
Culture
Demography and Ecology
Deviance, Law, and Social Control
Economic Change and Development
Economic Sociology
Education
Environmental Sociology
Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
Family
Gender
General Social Theory
History of Sociology
Knowledge
Law and Society
Medical Sociology
Methods and Statistics
Organizational and Occupational Analysis
Peace, War, and Social Conflict
Political Sociology
Qualitative Methods
Race and Ethnic Studies
Religion
Rural Sociology
Science and Technology
Social Movements and Collective Behavior
Social Psychology and Microsociology
Social Stratification

Aging and the Life Course
Sociology of Aging and the Life Course provides an analytical framework for understanding the interplay between human lives and changing social structures. Its mission is to examine the interdependence between (a) aging over the life course as a social process and (b) societies and groups as stratified by age, with succession of cohorts as the link connecting the two. This special field of age draws on sociology as a whole and contributes to it through reformulation of traditional emphases on process and change, on the multiple interdependent levels of the system, and on the multidimensionality of sociological concerns as they touch on related aspects of other disciplines. The field is concerned with both basic sociological research on age and its implications for public policy and professional practice.
Faculty: DeLamater, Elwert, Engelman, Fletcher, Grant, Herd, Massoglia, Palloni, Raymo, Schwartz

AgroFood Systems
The concentration in the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Systems presents students with both classic sociological and contemporary approaches to the study of agriculture. Research areas include the social structure of agriculture, debates over the "family farm" and the industrialization of agriculture, farm labor, environmental-agricultural interactions, farm population dynamics, agrarian gender relations, state institutions and policies, farmer social movements, agriculture and rural communities, the globalization of agriculture, and agricultural science, technology, and research. Several courses and seminars are offered. Most students in this area also participate in the STARE (Science, Technology, Agriculture, Resources, and the Environment) seminar. The Sociology of Agriculture and Food systems also has a strong applied or policy dimension. The Applied Population Laboratory, housed in Rural Sociology, is an excellent source for census data on farmers, farm households, and agriculture. The Program on Agricultural Technology Studies conducts research and outreach on technological change, land use dynamics, and the structure of agriculture in Wisconsin.
Faculty: Bell, Gilbert, Kleinman, Kloppenburg, White

Class Analysis and Historical Change
The CAHC program offers the opportunity to develop a rigorous and systematic understanding of Marxist and other radical frameworks within sociology. The unity of the program lies less in a specific set of substantive areas than in a general commitment to engaging the core questions posed by radical traditions of social theory, challenging the theoretical orientation of mainstream sociology and developing critical alternatives. The program is built around two core courses (given each year), several core seminars (each given at least once every three years) and a number of specialized seminars (given on an irregular basis). Students also participate in the Havens Center Visiting Scholar's Program seminar, in which they have an opportunity to meet with prominent critical scholars from around the world.
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Emirbayer, Ermakoff, Ferree, Gilbert, Oliver, Palloni, Rogers, Seidman, Wright

Communities and Urban Sociology
The Sociology of Communities focuses broadly on communities as systems of social relationships, with regard to their structure, function, relations with larger systems, and the processes that lead to change. The teaching and research interests of faculty in this area cover a wide range of subjects. In focusing on various issues, emphasis is placed on the application of a variety of theoretical perspectives, some of which are interdisciplinary in character.
Faculty: Bell, Curtis, Friedland, Garoon, Goffman, Green, Kleinman, Rogers, Stoecker, Thornton, Vargas, White

Comparative-Historical Sociology
Comparative sociology generally refers to sociological analysis that involves comparison of social processes between nation-states, or across different types of society (for example capitalist and socialist).
Faculty: Bell, Emirbayer, Ermakoff, Ferree, Gilbert, Goldberg, Kleinman, Liu

Culture
Cultural sociology is a methodology that incorporates cultural analysis into interpretations of social life. Cultural sociologists are influenced by many social and cultural theories. More than other fields of sociology, cultural sociologists tend to explore interdisciplinary social and cultural theories including, but not limited to, postmodern and poststructural theory. Scientific investigation and the production of empirically verifiable analysis (especially in terms of testable theories) is considered taboo among many, but not all self proclaimed cultural sociologists.
Faculty: Bell, Collins, Emirbayer, Ferree, Friedland, Fujimura, Goldberg, Vargas

Demography and Ecology
Research and graduate training activities in demography and human ecology are coordinated by the Center for Demography and Ecology (CDE). About 30 predoctoral students each year receive financial aid from the Center. Traineeships are funded by a grant from the NIH, and research assistantships are funded by many research grants. The training program includes advanced theoretical and methodological training in demography and human ecology, an apprenticeship in the art and practice of research, and specialized research for the master's thesis and doctoral dissertation. Center faculty and students carry out research on many aspects of population composition, distribution, and change, and on demographic methodology.
Faculty: Carlson, Curtis, DeLamater, Elwert, Engelman, Fletcher, Gerber, Grant, Massoglia, Montgomery, Nobles, Palloni, Raymo, Schaeffer, Schwartz, Seidman

Deviance, Law, and Social Control
This specialty area covers a wide range of topics in the study of crime, law, and deviance-including the fields of law and society, criminology, criminal justice, and deviant behavior. Wisconsin's DLSC program is distinguished both by its strong emphasis on law and society scholarship and by its commitment to linking the study of crime and deviance with more general issues in social and legal theory. Through a combination of classroom instruction, independent directed study, and teaching and research apprenticeships, the program fosters a sound background in general sociology, a thorough understanding of theoretical and empirical issues in the study of law and deviance, and a solid set of technical skills for conducting scholarly research. DLSC faculty and students maintain strong ties with the Law School, the Institute for Legal Studies, the School of Social Work, and the Departments of Political Science and Psychology. The DLSC program features a weekly training seminar.
Faculty: DeLamater, Goffman, Liu, Massoglia, Oliver, Vargas

Economic Change and Development
The program in SECD studies the political economy of global uneven development. examining the interaction of firms, states, interstate institutions, social movements, and environment in the process of uneven development. Linkages between SECD and other programs within the Sociology Department are therefore very important. Many students have obtained grants for preparatory and dissertation fieldwork from organizations such as the Social Science Research Council and private foundations. Core courses provide an overview of the study of uneven development, its social and demographic bases, and basic methodologies for its study. Core seminars cover basic theoretical approaches to global political economy and the central debates in the field. Seminars allow pursuit of specialized aspects of the field, including specific area studies. Faculty participate in many area centers at the University of Wisconsin (Latin American and Iberian Studies, African Studies, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Southeast Asian Studies, East Asian Studies, European Studies, the Land Tenure Center and Development Studies, International Industrial Relations, and the Global Studies Research Program).
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Collins, Conti, Curtis, Elder, Garoon, Grant, Liu, Nobles, Palloni, Rogers, Seidman

Economic Sociology
The core problem of economic sociology is the way in which rational-individualistic-economic action is related to collective social commitments, norms and structures. This is explored from a variety of perspectives, employing both traditionally sociological and economic approaches. Particular attention is paid to analyses of the four main social structures and constructs in which economic action occurs: markets, contracts, "networks," and firms. The program includes general and conceptual as well as empirical approaches, and also covers policy-oriented material. As one of its central concerns, the program focuses on the institutional conditions of a virtuous development of advanced industrial economies.
Faculty: Bell, Conti, Ermakoff, Freeland, Green, Kleinman, Liu, Montgomery, Rogers, Tigges, White, Wright

Education
The department offers a core course in this area which examines education in its social context, including the relation between education and political and economic systems, the role of education in social and cultural reproduction, and the production of learning and other outcomes in schools. In addition, recent topics in the Seminar in Sociology of Education have included the micro-macro relationship in sociology of education, and the complementary use of qualitative and quantitative methods. In addition, recent topics in the Seminar in Sociology of Education have included the multilevel analysis of the effects of schools, policy analysis in education, the sociology of teaching, and race differences in educational achievement. These courses are complemented by courses in complex organizations, social stratification, and quantitative methods, among other offerings. Related courses can be taken in the Departments of Educational Policy Studies, Educational Administration, and Curriculum and Instruction. Faculty cover a wide range of interests in the field, ranging from the role of education in stratification, to the sociology of classrooms and school organization, as well as school desegregation, curriculum, and more. An informal student-faculty seminar provides opportunities to present ongoing work and to discuss current issues in the field.
Faculty: Elder, Fletcher, Gamoran, Gerber, Goldrick-Rab, Grant, Grodsky

Environmental Sociology
This program stresses the analysis of the political ecology and political economy of environmental processes, particularly those involving natural resource extraction and use. Environmental and resource sociology students and faculty focus on topics that range from technological risks to the broader institutional influences that shape the processes of resource exploitation and conservation. The environmental and resource sociology training program also delves into individual-level variables such as environmental attitudes and values and the ways in which these variables translate into environmentally relevant behaviors, and stresses the role of environmental movements in shaping environmental policy and environmental quality outcomes. Many of the students in environmental and resource sociology participate with ecological scientists in one or both of two National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary projects on the Madison campus: the Long-Term Ecological Research Project (LTER) and the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program.
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Curtis, Garoon, Kloppenburg

Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
These topics represent avenues for inquiry into structures of everyday life. Ethnomethodology literally means "the study of members' methods." Those methods are the common-sense practices by which the participants in a social setting assemble its prominent features--the courses of action in which they are engaged, the relevant identities of personnel who inhabit the setting, and other experienced characteristics of the setting. Conversation analysis also investigates commonsense practices, and in particular the manner by which speakers and hearers produce and understand talk as part of their social actions and interactions. Faculty and students doing ethnomethodogical and conversation analytic studies investigate many kinds of settings and phenomena--survey interview interactions, bad and good news, testing for developmental differences, "doing" sexuality, achieving order in barrooms and busses, displaying emotions, etc.
Faculty: DeLamater, Emirbayer, Ford, Maynard, Schaeffer

Family
Institutional and interactional perspectives on family organization, relationships, and transitions are studied in this area. Most of the research is linked either to family and household demography, sociology of the life course and aging, social psychology, sociology of gender, or cross-cultural family and kinship. A good number of faculty and students work with the National Survey of Families and Households (centered in this department) as well as with other major national and international data sources. Graduate students working in the family area may be supported on a variety of research projects or traineeships. Several courses and seminars are offered in this area. Seminars are offered on such topics as social change and families, family and household demography, fertility, gender and society, and life course and aging.
Faculty: Carlson, Elwert, Engelman, Ferree, Grant, Herd, Nobles, Palloni, Raymo, Schwartz, Thornton

Gender
The sociology of gender focuses on the social construction of gender and on gender as a fundamental basis of social stratification. The area encompasses theories of gender and sexuality, including feminist theory, as well as consideration of a broad array of substantive issues, including gender politics, family, the economy, organizations, gender identities, gender ideologies, socialization, sexuality, and many others. Faculty affiliated with the area are drawn from all other specialties within the department, and we are particularly strong in the areas of politics and political economy, social psychology, and family. A colloquium in the sociology of gender meets weekly and a variety of other courses and seminars cover gender-related topics. In addition, course offerings in several other areas of the department address gender-related issues. Many students in this area minor in Women's Studies or Women's History.
Faculty: Bell, Collins, DeLamater, Elder, Elwert, Ferree, Ford, Fujimura, Grant, Maynard, Oliver, Seidman, Tigges, Wright

General Social Theory
There are several courses and seminars offered in this area of concentration, with particular attention paid to classical theorists and contemporary schools of social thought, with a strong emphasis on the philosophy of science. The major overview course is Intermediate Sociological Theory (Soc 773), which examines the epistemological foundations of the social theories of Comte, Durkheim, Marx, Weber, and Parsons. More substantively oriented reviews are available in Intermediate Social Organization (Soc 720) and Intermediate Social Psychology (Soc 730). Recent seminars have dealt as well with Max Weber, critical theory, and American pragmatism.
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Elder, Emirbayer, Ermakoff, Freeland, Friedland, Fujimura, Gilbert, Goffman, Goldberg, Liu, Maynard, Montgomery, Rogers, Wright

History of Sociology
Faculty: Bell, Elder, Gilbert, Goldberg, Maynard

Knowledge
The sociology of knowledge is the study of the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises, and of the effects prevailing ideas have on societies.
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Elder, Fujimura, Gilbert, Kleinman, Kloppenburg

Law and Society
This interdisciplinary specialization brings together scholars from sociology, law, political science, economics, and history, who share common interests in sociolegal theory and empirical research. As one of the birth places of law and society research in the U.S., Wisconsin has maintained a strong and vibrant community of scholars and students in this interdisciplinary area for decades. The core course in this specialty area is Sociology 641 (Sociology of Law); however, both the Sociology Department and the Law School provide additional seminars on advanced socio-legal topics, such as Sociology 930 (Socio-Legal Studies). The Institute for Legal Studies in the Law School also offers regular seminars and colloquia on related topics. Interested students may pursue a dual J.D.-Ph.D. degree, upon being admitted to both the Sociology Department and the Law School.
Faculty: Conti, Erlanger, Liu, Massoglia, Rogers, Shoemaker

Medical Sociology
Medical sociology is the study of individual and group behaviors with respect to health and illness. The focus is not only on medical professionals or their behaviors, but also focuses on human behavioral responses to health and illness. Medical sociology is concerned with individual and group responses aimed at assessing well-being, maintaining health, acting upon real or perceived illness, interacting with health care systems, and maximizing health in the face of physiologic or functional derangement. It also analyzes the impact of the psychological conditions resulting from our environment on our health.
Faculty: Engelman, Fletcher, Fujimura, Garoon, Herd, Maynard, Nobles

Methods and Statistics
The Departments' program in the area of sociological methodology and statistics is widely regarded as among the richest and strongest in the country. The core of the graduate program consists of two required statistics courses on the general linear model and a methods course covering causal inference, research design, sampling, and measurement. In addition, students may select from among other specialized courses. Included among these are the following: methods for the analysis of event history data, structural equation models and models for the analysis of discrete variables. These offerings are complemented by other sociology specialty area courses on methodological techniques, by the departments' courses on computing in sociological research, and by the large number of statistics and methods courses in other social science departments.
Faculty: Curtis, Elwert, Engelman, Ferree, Fletcher, Gerber, Grant, Grodsky, Halaby, Lim, Logan, Nobles, Palloni, Raymo, Schaeffer, Schwartz

Organizational and Occupational Analysis
Organizational and Occupational Analysis: This area addresses the social dynamics of organized collective activity, with a focus that extends from large-scale formal bureaucracies to self-employed professionals in the community. Courses and seminars emphasize the importance of the organization as a crucial unit of sociological analysis, with attention both to organizations' internal structural characteristics and also to the relationships between organizations and their environments. The curriculum also treats selected issues in the social psychology of organizations and the sociology of work, such as the interactions among organizational participants and the linkages between individual workers and larger organizations, occupations and professions. In addition, the Sociology Department offers a number of courses examining the workings of organizations and occupations within specific social institutions, such as education, law, medicine, religion, and the market economy.
Faculty: Ermakoff, Freeland, Fujimura, Gamoran, Halaby, Kleinman, Lim, Liu, Tigges

Peace, War, and Social Conflict
Faculty: Alatout, Elder

Political Sociology
Political sociologists study how social relations shape political processes, institutions, organizations, and events. Some political sociologists, for example, study the ways class, gender, or race relations influence state-building, or movement-building. Some political sociologists study how rational decision-making processes affect the trajectories of states, social movements, or interest groups. Some political sociologists study how cultural traditions, or collective definitions of identity, shape and are shaped by political mobilizations, or everyday practices of citizenship. Political sociologists work on the individual, social-structural, organizational, and/or cultural levels of analysis. Political sociologists in our department draw on and combine a range of theoretical perspectives, including Marxism, neo-Weberianism, cultural analyses, rational action, world-system analysis, and social movement theory. We also represent diverse methodological orientations, including collection of and quantitative analysis of data from surveys, government archives, and newspapers; mathematical modeling, qualitative analyses of comparative and historical data; qualitative analyses of participant-observation evidence.
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Conti, Ermakoff, Ferree, Friedland, Fujimura, Gilbert, Goldberg, Kleinman, Lim, Liu, Oliver, Palloni, Rogers, Seidman, Wright

Qualitative Methods
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Collins, Emirbayer, Friedland, Fujimura, Garoon, Goffman, Kleinman, Liu, Maynard, Stoecker

Race and Ethnic Studies
Race and ethnicity are fundamental bases of identification, organization, stratification, and differentiation. The character, causes, and consequences of race and ethnic relations are a lively area for sociological theory and research. A colloquium (Soc 987) may be attended whenever the topic is of interest, or may be taken for 1-3 credits. Courses and topical seminars are also offered. Faculty research projects on race and ethnic topics often provide opportunities for graduate student participation and employment.
Faculty: Bell, Curtis, Elwert, Emirbayer, Fujimura, Gilbert, Goffman, Oliver, Thornton, Tigges

Religion
The sociology of religion is primarily the study of the practices, social structures, historical backgrounds, development, universal themes, and roles of religion in society. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in nearly all societies on Earth today and throughout recorded history. Sociologists of religion attempt to explain the effects that society has on religion and the effects that religion has on society; in other words, their dialectical relationship.
Faculty: Bell, Elder, Lim, Montgomery, Oliver

Rural Sociology
Faculty: Bell, Curtis, Garoon, Gilbert, Kloppenburg, White

Science and Technology
The sociology of science and technology includes two closely related fields: the sociology of science and the sociological study of technological innovation and change. Training in the sociology of science stresses analysis of the social, political, and cultural factors that shape scientific knowledge, disciplines, and careers. The sociological study of science is also aimed at understanding the interrelations between science and other social institutions. The sociology of technology includes themes such as the impacts and implications of particular technologies and practices in realms such as agriculture, environment, and medicine; analysis of the nature of technological risks, risk assessment methods, and the validity of "risk society" theories; and the relations between technology and public policy. The connections among science, technology, and society are of critical importance in both fields.
Faculty: Alatout, Bell, Fujimura, Kleinman, Kloppenburg, Stoecker

Social Movements and Collective Behavior
This growing area of research is well represented in the sociology faculty. Lecture courses and seminars are offered on social movements and collective action. A seminar surveying the social movements literature has been taught in alternate years. Other more specialized recent seminar topics have included The Theory of Collective Action, Women's Movements, and Altruism and Social Movements. Faculty and students in the area have done research on movements in Brazil, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico and other countries as well as the U.S., and on a variety of movements, from local neighborhood associations and blood drives to union organization and religious volunteer groups, to the civil rights, women's, ecological, lesbian/gay, and peace movements. Madison is also one of the sites for "protest events" research which compares police and media records of protests, demonstrations, and other public events. Faculty and students who do research on social movements participate actively in the "Politics, Culture, and Society" brownbag series. Students specializing in the study of social movements are encouraged to take the political sociology, social psychology, SEC, and/or class analysis prelims depending on their particular focus of interest.
Faculty: Bell, Emirbayer, Ermakoff, Ferree, Friedland, Goldberg, Lim, Liu, Oliver, Seidman, Stoecker, White

Social Psychology and Microsociology
This program provides exposure to and critical examination of the major topics of theory and research within social psychology and microsociology. Two one-semester courses present a substantive overview of the field. Several specialized courses and seminars are offered each year. A research seminar is held weekly to give students and faculty the opportunity to present their ideas and original research for constructive criticism. Faculty are involved in a range of projects involving various topics and research methodologies. These projects often provide research assistantships for graduate students, and some offer opportunities for postdoctoral experience.
Faculty: Bell, DeLamater, Ford, Goffman, Maynard, Montgomery, Oliver, Schaeffer

Social Stratification
This specialty is known for its vigorous program of research. There are several elective courses and seminars, as well as training experience in research apprenticeships on major studies. These projects run the gamut from historical and comparative studies of inequality to mathematical and econometric modeling of mobility and achievement processes; demographic approaches to stratification and inequality; the development of inequalities through schooling; and organizational treatments of racial and ethnic integration. The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study of the 1957 Wisconsin high school graduation cohort continues to enrich our knowledge about the process of social stratification. Studies of brothers and sisters in the cohort describe the complex pattern of family effects. The 1992 wave of the WLS expanded its content to include mental and physical health, social comparisons with significant others, and exchange relationships with kin. Many other areas of stratification are also studied.
Faculty: Curtis, Elwert, Gamoran, Gerber, Grodsky, Halaby, Logan, Massoglia, Nobles, Raymo, Schwartz