Deviance, Law and Social Control Program


The program in Deviance, Law, and Social Control (DLSC) is designed to train sociology graduate students in the areas of sociology of law, deviance, criminology and social control. 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. Upon graduation from the program, students have gone on to take jobs in the nation's leading sociology, law, and criminal justice programs.

The Deviance, Law and Social Control program builds upon the strengths of the University of Wisconsin's Department of Sociology, which has received top national rankings for both scholarship and training. Compared to the law and deviance programs at other major universities, 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 law and deviance with more general issues in social and legal theory. Students in the DLSC area develop a solid foundation in core sociological theory and research methods, as well as more specialized expertise in the sociology of law, deviance and criminology. DLSC students have a choice of taking either of two written preliminary examinations: a broad exam in "deviance, law, and social control," or a more specialized exam in "law and society."

The Deviance, Law and Social Control program features a biweekly training colloquium in collaboration with graduate students in other departments, in which faculty and graduate students meet to present research ideas, critically evaluate each other's work, and review recent developments in the field. In addition, the program offers a variety of lecture courses and seminars:

  • Sociology of Law
  • Processes of Deviant Behavior
  • Criminology
  • Sociology of Mental Health
  • Modern American Communities
  • Seminar in Criminology
  • Seminar in Deviance

Traditionally, Wisconsin's Deviance, Law and Social Control program has encouraged interdisciplinary training. The DLSC faculty pursue substantial interests in other areas of sociology as well -- including organizations, occupations and professions, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, social psychology, methods and statistics, and social work. Faculty members also maintain extensive ties outside the Sociology Department, including linkages with the Department of Psychology, the Department of Political Science, the Law School, the School of Social Work, the Institute for Legal Studies, the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, the Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development, and the Havens Center. Two members of the Sociology Department faculty hold joint appointments in the Law School.


Students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. and a J.D. may do so under UW's dual degree program, upon admission to both the graduate Sociology program and the Law School. The dual degree program is designed to facilitate an interdisciplinary course of study, and some courses count toward both degrees simultaneously.

The UW Law School has been a central nexus of Law and Society scholarship since the movement's inception in the 1960s, and the Law curriculum covers many topics of interest to DLSC students:

  • Family Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Legislation
  • Public Regulation
  • Law and Globalization
  • Human Rights
  • Comparative Law
  • Legal History
  • Law and Economics
  • Law and the Welfare State
  • Policing
  • Labor Law
  • Law and the Elderly
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Sexual Orientation and the Law
  • Law and Biotechnology
  • Labor Relations
  • Domestic Violence
  • Community Development Law


In recent years DLSC faculty and students have pursued a diverse collection of projects, including the following:

  • Race and Incarceration
  • Gambling and Lotteries
  • Families Coping with Chronic Illness
  • Mental Illness among the Homeless
  • Exiting from Homelessness
  • Urban Street Life
  • Influences on High-Risk Sexual Behavior
  • Organizational Grievance Procedures
  • Legal Environment of Organizations
  • Techniques of Neutralization and Organizational Misconduct
  • Legal Education
  • Social Control in Interaction
  • AIDS Prevention
  • Life Course Transitions and Sexuality
  • Mental Health Delivery Systems


Several ongoing projects in Sociology and related departments provide DLSC students with opportunities for research assistantships, and some of these projects offer opportunities for postdoctoral training, as well. Many DLSC students also serve as teaching assistants and lecturers for undergraduate courses in Deviance, Criminology, Criminal Justice, and the Sociology of Law. Other students have secured intra- and extramural fellowships or have taken positions with various public agencies, such as the Department of Corrections and the National Center for Crime and Delinquency.


John DeLamater, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology: Deviance, Social Psychology, Sexuality.

Howard Erlanger, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Law; Director, Institute for Legal Studies: Law, Legal Profession, Dispute Processing, Law and Organizations, Family Law.

Pamela Oliver, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology: Social movements, race and incarceration.

Joel Rogers, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Law: Law, Political, Organizations, Class Analysis.


Walter Dickey, J.D., Professor of Law: Corrections.

Donald Downs, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Law: Constitutional Law.

Marc Galanter, J.D., Emeritus Professor of Law: Civil Litigation, Law Firms, Business Disputing.

Kathryn Hendley, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Law: Contractual Relations, International Commercial Relations, Russian Business Organizations.

Alexandra Huneeus, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Law: Human Rights, Latin American Legal Institutions.

Neil Komesar, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law: Law and Economics, Institutional Choice.

Steward Macaulay, J.D., Professor of Law: Contracts and Contractual Relationships, Legal Profession.

Elizabeth Mertz, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law: Law and Anthropology, Law and Language, Family Law, Legal Education.

Joseph P. Newman, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology: Psychopathy, Cognition.

Mitra Sharafi, BCL(LAW), Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Law: Legal Pluralism, Law and Religion, Legal History of British Empire.

Karl Shoemaker, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of History: History of Crime and Punishment.

Michael Scott, J.D., Clinical Faculty in Law: Policing

Michael Smith, J.D., Professor of Law: Criminal Justice System, Corrections, Social Control of Crime, Policing.

David M. Trubek, J.D., Professor of Law: Critical Legal Theory, Law and Globalization, Governance and Regulation.