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Department of Sociology

Politics and Social Movements

  • Brechin, Steven

  • Cerulo, Karen A.

    • Karen A. Cerulo
    • Karen A. Cerulo
    • Professor Emeritus
    • Ph.D. Princeton, 1985
    • Curriculum Vitae
    •  

       

      Professor Cerulo has authored several books and articles in the areas of culture and cognition, symbol systems and meaning, media and technology, social change, decision making, identity construction, and measurement techniques.

      Professor Cerulo's research addresses a variety of themes within the sociology of culture and cognition. Some of her works explore the social foundations of symbol systems -- music, scent, verbal scripts, and visual images. Her research examines the ways in which social actors use such symbols to construct personal identity, collective identity, and the identity of eras, events, and places. Her work also charts the ways in which social factors -- i.e. the nature of social ties, the stability of social environments, power structures, economic systems of exchange, and technological innovations – help to shape the content, form, meaning, and effectiveness of symbols. Her prizewinning article entitled “Scents and Sensibility: Olfaction, Sense-making and Meaning Attribution” (American Sociological Review) uses focus group data to understand the role played by neural, physical, and sociocultural elements when we process and racialize the messages contained in commercial perfume scents.

      Professor Cerulo's writings are often noted for their contributions to the literature on measurement. She has developed a number of indicators designed to systematically capture verbal and non-verbal symbol structure. These measures render aural, olfactory, literary, and visual objects extremely accessible sources of social science data, amenable to all of the rigorous methods that are central to the social science tradition.

      In recent years, Professor Cerulo has turned her attentions to the social and cultural foundations of cognitive concepts and schema. Her work pays special attention to the links between cultural sociology and cognitive neuroscience. She has edited and contributed both to special issues and special sections on this topic published in Poetics (2010) and Sociological Forum (2014; 2021). She also co-authored a review piece, “Rethinking Culture and Cognition” published in the Annual Review of Sociology (2021).

      One prominent theme in Professor Cerulo's work on conceptualization concerns new communication technologies. Specifically, she explores how emerging communication media can change the ways in which individuals perceive social actors and social groups, experience social connectedness, and define forums of social action.

      Some of Professor Cerulo's work explores the conceptualization of the best and worst of people, places, objects and events. Her book Never Saw It Coming builds on theories and ideas forwarded by both cultural and cognitive sociologists. Professor Cerulo argues that the inability to envision and specify the worst is a sociocultural phenomenon. Indeed, in a broad array of social situations, she discovers that conceptions of the worst represent a gap in many cultures' shared frames of reference. The worst is a "blind spot" created by a variety of normative and patterned sociocultural practices – practices that, despite any single individual's intentions, keep the worst veiled and difficult to define. In her work, Professor Cerulo itemizes and unpacks these practices. She explores as well the ways in which certain elements of social structure may encourage this biased perspective. Finally, she considers the social consequences and pitfalls that masking the worst can exact. In so doing, she questions whether a more symmetrical view of quality is an achievable ... or a desirable social goal.

      Spurred by some of the issues raised in Never Saw It Coming, the prizewinning book, Dreams of a Lifetime: How Culture Shapes Our Future Imaginings (with Janet M. Ruane), argues that dreams are thought to be matters of an individual's heart and mind. But in this book, the authors explore the sociocultural dimensions that organize and structure what Americans do (or do not) dream about, the ways in which they dream, variations in dreams according to one's social location, and when, if ever, people stop dreaming.

      Professor Cerulo's articles appear in a wide variety of journals including the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociological Methods and Research, Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Focus, Communication Research, Contemporary Sociology, Poetics, Social Science Research, Law and Policy, Science As Culture, and annuals and collections such as the Annual Review of Sociology, the Encyclopedia of Nationalism, the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, the Handbook of Cultural Sociology, the Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Sociology, the Handbook of Social Theory, Research in Political Sociology, and the World Book Encyclopedia. She is the author of Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst (University of Chicago Press, 2006), Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Order of Right and Wrong (Routledge,1998), and Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation – winner of these Culture Section's "Best Book Award, 1996" (The Rose Book series of the ASA, Rutgers University Press,1995). She also co-authored Dreams of a Lifetime: How Culture Shapes Our Future Imaginings (Princeton University Press, 2022), Second Thoughts: Seeing Conventional Wisdom through the Sociological Eye (Sage, 2015), and edited a collection entitled Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition (Routledge, 2002).

      Professor Cerulo served as the Sociology Department Chair from July 2009 to August 2012. She has also served as the Chair of the ASA's Culture section (2009 through 2010), where she also functions as the section's network coordinator, and the director of the Culture and Cognition Network. She is a former Vice President of the Eastern Sociological Society and the current editor of Sociological Forum, the flagship journal of the Eastern Sociological Society. In 2013, she was named the Robin M. Williams Jr. Lecturer by the Eastern Sociological Society and she also won that organization's 2013 Merit Award. In 2012, she received the Rutgers University Scholar-Teacher Award, recognizing both her pedagogy and research in sociology. She was also elected to the Sociological Research Association.

      Professor Cerulo’s work has been widely covered in the media, including venues such as the Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, The Conversation, DAME magazine, Le Monde, Mycentraljersey.com, The New York Daily News, The New Republic, The New York Times, North Jersey.com, Playboy, Psychology Today, The Post Courier, The Scientific American, Slate Magazine, The Times of India, and USA Today.  She has also been interviewed on 1010 Wins news radio, The Brian Lehrer radio program (WNYC), the Freakonomics podcast/radio program, Jeff Schechtman's Talk Cocktail podcast, Mancow Morning Radio Show (WLUP FM), Matthew Crawford’s The Curious Man podcast, and Thinking Aloud on BBC radio.

    • In the Public Eye:
    • Faculty Article(s):
    • Apologies of the Rich and Famous: Cultural, Cognitive and Social Explanations of Why We Care and Why We Forgive
    • Enduring Relationships: Social Aspects of Perceived Interactions with the Dead
    • Rethinking Culture and Cognition
    • Scents and Sensibility: Olfaction, Sense-making and Meaning Attribution
    • Faculty Bookshelf:
    • Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition
    • Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Structure of Right and Wrong
    • Dreams of a Lifetime: How Who We Are Shapes How We Imagine Our Future
    • Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of A Nation (The Arnold and Caroline Rose Book Series of the American Sociological Association)
    • Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst
    • Second Thoughts: Sociology Challenges Conventional Wisdom
    • Program Areas:
    • Culture and Cognition
    • Politics and Social Movements
    • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • Chaudhary, Ali R.

  • Dahaghi, Kevin

    • Kevin Dahaghi
    • Kevin Dahaghi
    • ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
    • Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, 2021
    • Curriculum Vitae
    •  

      Kevin Dahaghi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2021. His research interests include criminal justice, law, organizations, and political sociology.

      His research broadly focuses on the dynamics between social contexts and organizations in the policy process, with an emphasis on punishment and criminal legal policies. Using historical and quantitative methods, his current work examines the origins and development of policies that shape differential exposure to the criminal legal system.

      Kevin is affiliated with the Program in Criminal Justice.

    • Faculty Article(s):
    • Uneven Access to Justice: Social Context and Eligibility for the Right to Counsel
    • Program Areas:
    • Crime and Social Control
  • Davidson, Thomas

  • Handsman, Emily

  • Jones, Leslie Kay

    • Leslie Kay Jones
    • Leslie Kay Jones
    • Assistant Professor
    • Office: Davison Hall, 131
    • Dr. Leslie Kay Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers New Brunswick, specializing in social movements. She draws extensively on the fields of race and gender, critical race theory, and online social media in her study of collective mobilization. She teaches qualitative and computer assisted research methods, particularly digital ethnography and content analysis.

      Leslie’s recent article, BlackLivesMatter: An Analysis of the Movement as Social Drama, proposes a theoretical model for the role of the Black Twitter counterpublic in mediating the frames of #BlackLivesMatter protests. Her working manuscript argues that Black women are forming intellectual salons through online social media, in which they are making groundbreaking theoretical contributions toward the public understanding of race and gender.

      Leslie is an interdisciplinary scholar that is active in the digital humanities and digital sociologies communities. She co-directs the Digital Sociology Collective with Drs. Rachel Durso (Washington College) and Francesca Tripodi (UNC).

      As a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, she held fellowships at the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy (2018-2019) and the Price Lab for Digital Humanities (2017-2018)

      In 2016, she began co-ordinating the Digital Sociology Mini-Conference as part of the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting, an initiative first started in 2015 by Jessie Daniels, Karen Gregory, and Tressie McMillan Cottom. In 2020, the Digital Sociology Mini-Conference became the 1st Annual Digital Sociology unconference, independently hosted by the newly named Digital Sociology Collective.

    • In the Public Eye:
    • Faculty Article(s):
    • #BlackLivesMatter: An Analysis of the Movement as Social Drama
    • Program Areas:
    • Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
    • Politics and Social Movements
    • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • Lee, Catherine

    • Catherine Lee
    • Catherine Lee
    • Associate Professor
    • Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 2003
    • Office: Davison Hall, 141
    • Personal Website
    • Phone: 848-932-7807
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Catherine Lee is associate professor of sociology and faculty associate at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. As a political sociologist, she examines how meanings of race and ethnicity shape social relations and inequalities across three critical sites: immigration; science and medicine; and law and society. Catherine is the author of Fictive Kinship: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration (2013, Russell Sage) and co-editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (2012, Rutgers University Press). Her current projects include an investigation of the use of DNA testing in family reunification cases in the United States and Europe and of the meaning of diversity in U.S. biomedicine given shifting ethnic and racial demographics and the rise of multiraciality due to increased immigration.

    • In the Public Eye:
    • Program Areas:
    • Culture and Cognition
    • Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
    • Health, Population, and Biomedicine
    • Politics and Social Movements
    • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • Mai, Quan

  • McLean, Paul

    • Paul McLean
    • Paul McLean
    • Professor and Graduate Program Director
    • Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1996
    • Office: Davison Hall, 133
    • Curriculum Vitae
    •  

      Professor of Sociology, teaches courses on sociological theory, network analysis, political and economic sociology, and the sociology of culture. Other interests include politics in early modern states, the network organization of the Renaissance economy, Adam Smith's social theory, and the culture of videogaming.

      Paul McLean's research has focused on exploring the connections between multiple kinds of social networks—marriage networks, economic networks, and political patronage networks chiefly—and describing the cultural practices and identities that actors adopt to move within and across these networks. He has examined the development of elaborate strategies of self-presentation and the emergence of a quasi-modern conception of the self in Renaissance Florence in articles (AJS 104: 51-91 [1998], CSSH 47: 638-64 [2005]) and in his book, The Art of the Network (Duke UP, 2007).

      His recent book, Culture in Networks (Polity, 2017) provides an overview of research on the culture-networks link across a variety of interfaces, both historical and contemporary—including research on diffusion, social movement mobilization, clientage structures, topic modelling, the formation of tastes, organizational cultures, and social media usage.

      Some of his work on Florence has been collaboratively produced, including studies of Florentine market structure and organizational emergence with John Padgett of the University of Chicago (T&S 26: 209-44 [1997], AJS 111: 1463-1568 [2006], Journal of Modern History 83: 1-47 [2011]), and work on the structure and 'logics' of interpersonal credit exchange with Neha Gondal of Boston University (Social Networks 35: 499-513 [2013], Poetics 41: 122-50 [2013], EJS/AES 55: 135-76 [2014]).  He is currently pursuing an interest in consumer credit in the Renaissance.

      In addition, McLean has examined the political organization of Polish elites in the early modern period (T&S 33: 167-212 [2004], Annals 636: 88-110 [2011]), looking at that organization and its evolution as the product of multiple-network dynamics.  More recent interests include the idea of chance in the Renaissance, the social theory of Adam Smith, networking dynamics and career trajectories in academia, divisiveness in contemporary American political culture, and the organization of videogame play (Soc Forum 27: 961-85 [2012]).

    • Faculty Article(s):
    • The Circulation of Interpersonal Credit in Renaissance Florence
    • Faculty Bookshelf:
    • Culture in Networks
    • The Art of the Network: Strategic Interaction and Patronage in Renaissance Florence
    • Program Areas:
    • Culture and Cognition
    • Organizations, Networks, and Work
    • Politics and Social Movements
  • Salime, Zakia

    • Zakia Salime
    • Zakia Salime
    • Associate Professor
    • Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005
    • Office: Davison Hall, 137
    • Phone: 848-932-7798
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Zakia Salime teaches courses in feminist theory, gender, globalization, contemporary social theory, social movements, postcolonial theory. Salime’s book: Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco (Minnesota, 2011) illustrates this interplay of global regimes of rights and local discourses by exploring the spaces of encounters of liberal feminism and Islamism in Morocco.  Her co-edited volume Freedom Without Permission: Bodies and Spaces in the Arab Revolutions (Duke, 2016) explores how bodies, subjectivities and memories were constituted and constitutive of sexed and gendered spaces during the North African and Middle Easter Uprisings of 2011. Salime’s current book manuscript explores global extractive modes of governance through the study of land-and-resource-grab in Morocco. The study unpacks the nexus of law, power, gender, and capital through attending to peasant populations' quotidian dealing with the state and its regimes of legality, citizenship, inclusion and exclusion.  Salime publications encompass a wide range of interests including urban youth protests and music, Islamophobia, war and racial politics in the U.S.

      My current book manuscript Seeing like a Woman: Land and Extractive Governance in Morocco foregrounds peasant women’s own understanding of the social and cultural transformations taking place in the context of intensified land privatization and extractivist governance. I write these stories by centering women’s daily dwelling to unpack the bureaucratic and legal regimes obstructing their access to land, the words through which they grapple with economic and social change, and the desireshopes, and pain through which they articulate the present and imagine the future. This project documents these hopes and desires as an integral part of the present history of neoliberal encounters. I understand this present history as messy and traversed with antagonistic meanings of value, place, legality, and gender. My ethnographic fieldwork and research help answering a set of questions: What do we learn about neoliberal encounters by listening to un-schooled, dispossessed yet resourceful rural women? What does women’s mobilization against land and resource privatization tell us about the hasty implementation of development projects, and the slow yet daily penetration of ‘rent’, and circulation of multiscalar capital? What do we learn about the state, its ‘verticality’, or ‘effects’ at this juncture of privatization and protests? What kind of legitimation and reconfiguration of political power takes place when women engage with the capitalist penetration of their local community? What kind of power and authority are strengthen and disrupted?

    • In the Public Eye:
    • Faculty Bookshelf:
    • Freedom Without Permission: Bodies and Space in the Arab Revolutions
    • Program Areas:
    • Culture and Cognition
    • Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
    • Global Structures
    • Politics and Social Movements
  • Shepherd, Hana

    • Hana Shepherd
    • Hana Shepherd
    • Associate Professor
    • Ph.D. Princeton University, 2011
    • Office: Davison Hall, 037
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Google Scholar
    • Associate Professor of Sociology. Shepherd teaches classes in organizations, culture, and how institutions attempt to change individual and group behavior. She studies how social networks, social norms and other group processes, culture, and organizations shape behavior, and facilitate or impede social change more broadly. Shepherd uses a wide range of methods including network analysis, survey and field-based experiments, digital and computational tools, interviews, and archival research. Her work is currently funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and WorkRise.

      Hana Shepherd's work covers three areas.

      1. Social Networks, Group Processes, and Group Culture
        Shepherd’s research examines how people perceive the social norms operating in their social groups, the effects of those perceptions on behavior, and how norm perceptions are shaped by social networks. She is interested in social norms as a central element of culture as they shape larger patterns of behavior in groups. You can learn more about and access the data set that she co-designed and uses as part of this work here. Her current work in this area examines the formation and effects of network ties among low-wage workers, sources of perceptions of norms regarding racism, and how digital tools can be used to build supportive online communities.
      2. Organizational Practices: Inequality and Social Transformation
        Given the importance of organizations in distributing resources and opportunities, Shepherd examines how organizational practices amplify or diminish inequality as a way of better understanding non-individual sources of the reproduction of inequality. Her current work focuses on discipline systems and policy implementation in schools; employer practices in retail work; and how government enforces minimum wage and paid sick leave laws. In this final area, Shepherd is working on a series of papers and a book manuscript that examines how city agencies interpret and enforce local employment laws, and the implications of those practices for standards and protections at work (with Janice Fine, SMLR).
      3. Cognitive and Social Psychological Accounts of Culture
        Shepherd uses tools from social and cognitive psychology, survey experiments, and other analytical methods to investigate the processes of culture and cognition, in particular how we form shared interpretations of the social world, develop shared memories and emotions, and learn about the expectations and behaviors of others. She has a particular interest in the use and interpretation of implicit cognition measures as part of understanding the transmission of culture.
    • In the Public Eye:
    • Faculty Article(s):
    • Administering New Anti-Bullying Law: The Organizational Field and School Variation During Initial Implementation
    • Organizational Practices and Workplace Relationships in Precarious Work: New Survey Evidence
    • Rethinking Culture and Cognition
    • Program Areas:
    • Crime and Social Control
    • Culture and Cognition
    • Organizations, Networks, and Work
    • Politics and Social Movements
  • Stein, Arlene

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