Politics and Social Movements

The fields of Politics and Social Movements ask and investigate many of the discipline’s foundational questions. They include topics of state and society relations, political and economic development, and collective action. Particularly in times of great political upheaval, immense economic inequality, and vast social transformation, the fields of Politics and Social Movements remain critical to sociology and its efforts to understand the dynamics of power relations and social change.

The Politics and Social Movements fields at Rutgers include a wide array of faculty members with diverse substantive interests. We are linked by our shared concern with large and small-scale patterns of social organization, transformation, and inequality using a variety of methods, including case-study, comparative-historical, interview, natural language processing, statistical, and social network analysis. Current faculty research focuses on a variety of important topics including: migration and immigration (Chaudhary and Lee); social networks, collective behavior, and political mobilization (Davidson, McLean, and Salime); social movements, narratives, discourses, and identity construction (Gerson, Jones, Stein); environmental hazards, institutional responses, and organizational catastrophes (Brechin, Cerulo, Clarke, and MacKendrick); and enduring forms of inequality in the United States (Friedman, Mai, and Shepherd.)

Faculty members work together across specific research interest groupings to offer students instruction and direction according to their needs and the unique qualities of their projects. Our objectives are to train graduate students in multiple methods; to introduce them to the most important debates and topics of research in our fields; and to mentor them in the pursuit of their own research interests through the department's qualifying paper and dissertation requirements. Graduate and undergraduate teaching in the fields include numerous courses, including Political Sociology, Social Movements, Social Inequality, and Sociology of Organizations.