Areas of Strength

Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

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Race, ethnicity, and migration (REI) are fundamental to the social organization of the United States and beyond. Faculty in the Department of Sociology deploy a wide range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies to interrogate the social constructions and consequences of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the 21st century. Our Faculty and doctoral students engage in cutting-edge research examining the significance of REI across diverse contexts and social processes, including urban spaces, digital platforms, science and medicine, social movements, formal organizations, civic engagement, and popular culture, among others. We offer theoretical overview courses on race and immigration as well as focused topics such as the "Politics of Diversity," Place Inequality," "Immigration and Society," "Global Mobility and Inequality," and "Biological Citizenship."

The sociology faculty are currently engaged in a wide range of research related to the sociology of race, ethnicity, and immigration. These include projects on: race and residential real estate practices in neighborhoods (Dinzey-Flores); the intersection of race and genetics (Bliss); racialized incorporation of immigrants in the United States (Chaudhary); race and the production and performance of popular culture (Chaudhary); racial dimensions of U.S. immigration policy (Lee); race x gender in digital culture and networked movements (Jones); the meaning of diversity in U.S. biomedicine (BlissLee); and race and labor market inequality in the new economy (Mai). The methods employed include quantitative analyses of large data sets, ethnography and interviews, archival analysis, field and survey experiments, and digital ethnography. Thus, work in the race, ethnicity, and immigration program area reflects the diverse multi-method approach to research and training in the sociology department at Rutgers.

Graduate students collaborate with faculty and work on a range of projects on topics including: race, gender, and urban violence; racialized labor market integration processes; Puerto Rican settlement and integration; group threat and politics; performance of race in popular music; multiracial identification and the media; race, culture, and prison order; and racism, biomedicine, and health disparities.

At the undergraduate level, we offer a variety of courses across the levels of the curriculum on minority groups, comparative immigration studies, race relations, and immigrant minorities in the United States.

Politics and Social Movements

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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 (DavidsonMcLean, and Salime); social movements, narratives, discourses, and identity construction (GersonJonesStein); environmental hazards, institutional responses, and organizational catastrophes (BrechinCeruloClarke, and MacKendrick); and enduring forms of inequality in the United States (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.

Organizations, Networks, and Work

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Health is typically thought to be the domain of the allied medical fields, but the health of populations are deeply sociocultural phenomena. The sociological study of health, population, and biomedicine enables analyses of the critical role that social factors play in the health of individuals, groups, and the larger society. Our department’s program in health, population and biomedicine provides students with the theoretical and methodological tools to think beyond biology in order to answer some of the thorniest questions in medicine and public health.

We are proud to continue a long tradition of excellence in medical sociology at Rutgers University. In the late 1970s, David Mechanic established the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (IHHCPAR), which continues to serve as an important interdisciplinary home for research on the social and cultural determinants of health. Research in population and the life course also has a long history at Rutgers, having originated here during the 1960s. One of the major paradigms in this area, the age stratification model, was developed at Rutgers by Matilda White Riley, Anne Foner, and others. Our award-winning faculty today conduct research on a broad set of subjects across the sociology of medicine, population health, and biomedicine including demographic research on suicide rates in the United States (Phillips), children’s health assessments (Bzostek), pain and stigma (Kempner), race and biomedicine (Bliss, Lee), aging in Asia (Lei), environmental health (Mackendrick), and gendered effects on biomarkers (Springer).

We offer rigorous graduate training and mentoring in medical sociology, population studies as well as the politics of knowledge. Our most recent graduates have secured positions as tenure-track assistant professors, postdoctoral fellows, or research scientists at prestigious institutions including the Bloustein School of Public Policy at Rutgers University, Columbia School of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medicine, National Center for Health Statistics, Brown University, University of Maryland-Baltimore, University of Delaware, Princeton University, RAND Corporation, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University. At the undergraduate level, we offer a variety of courses on social dimensions of health and medicine. Our minor in Health and Society provides students with an excellent opportunity to study questions of physical and mental health, health behaviors and practices, and health care institutions, through a social and cultural lens, and across national and global contexts.

Organizations, Networks, and Work

Rutgers Sociology has a cluster of scholars who conduct research on organizations, social networks, and the key characteristics of the contemporary workplace. From cradle to grave, day in and day out, complex formal organizations—businesses, schools, government departments, law firms, hospitals, non-profits, NGOs, media organizations, religious groups, universities—profoundly shape our lives. They dictate the kind of work that is available and the nature of that work. They exert a powerful impact on the distribution of resources and authority in society. They create roles and relations among their members, and they deeply influence individuals’ subjective experience of the world. Sociologists have identified important properties and tendencies existing in formal organizations, many of which apply regardless of the specific tasks organizations set out to do. Furthermore, organizations—for-profits and non-profits alike—interact with each other, and as a result, they often come to look and behave similarly.

The formal and informal networks that operate within and between organizations are among the factors playing a decisive part in bringing about their convergence. But networks—relationships among people, families, groups, events, objects, and more—exist ubiquitously throughout the social world, often independently of formal organizational structures, driven by their own distinctive logics and dynamic processes. Social network analysis is an especially vibrant intellectual field today, devoted to theorizing how social relations and, more broadly, social structure, generate crucial outcomes such as identity formation, unequal resource distributions, occupational and geographic mobility, technological innovation, information diffusion, cultural transformations, and social protest. As a research cluster, we support and encourage both formal organizational and social-network theoretical frameworks, and in adopting them, we deploy a variety of methods, including qualitative, experimental, comparative-historical, computational, and structuralist techniques, signifying our commitment to a holistic approach to the topic of social organization.

Core faculty members in this cluster are particularly interested in: mobility, precarity, and social inequalities in the workplace (Mai, Chaudhary, Shepherd); organizations' capacities to foster immigrant integration, collective action, and transnational development (Chaudhary, Brooks); political and economic elites (McLean, Davidson); adolescent networks (Shepherd); civil society and the environment (Brechin, Mai); the intersection of social networks and culture (McLean, Shepherd, Davidson); and organizations’ capacity to create and manage risk and disaster (Brechin, Clarke). Students interested in this cluster can also benefit from an engagement with other expert faculty in the Rutgers Business School, the Department of Human Ecology, the School of Communication and Information, the School of Social Work, the School of Management and Labor Relations, and the Bloustein School of Public Policy.

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 (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.

Political and Economic Sociology

Mission Statement

The Political and Economic Sociology area at Rutgers brings together a wide array of faculty with diverse substantive interests. We are linked, however, by our shared concern with large-scale patterns of social organization, transformation, and inequality. We see political and economic domains and processes as interconnected, and we use a variety of methods—comparative-historical, case-study, qualitative, quantitative, and l network analysis, to name a few—to study them. Our objectives are to train graduate students in these 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.  We also actively support the department’s Networks, Culture, and Institutions Workshop as a forum for the presentation of faculty and student research in progress.  It is our goal to see our students become colleagues, because we emphasize collegial learning, professional writing, and critical thinking. And our students become professionally visible, because we help them to produce publishable papers and scholarship that is important and interesting.

Current faculty research focuses on a variety of important topics including: migration and immigration (Gerson, Lee, Rodriguez); globalization, and especially critical reappraisals of world systems theory and of representations of ‘others’ in the global political economy (Böröcz, Brooks, Salime); multiple social networks, elites, and political mobilization (McLean); environmental hazards and organizational catastrophes (Cerulo, Clarke, O'Neill, Rudel); and enduring forms of inequality in the United States (Hirschfield, Phillips, Roos, Smith). We also regularly work together across our specific research interest groupings to offer students instruction and direction according to their needs and the unique qualities of their projects.

Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

Race, ethnicity, and migration (REI) are fundamental to the social organization of the United States and beyond. Faculty in the Department of Sociology deploy a wide range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies to interrogate the social constructions and consequences of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the 21st century. Our Faculty and doctoral students engage in cutting-edge research examining the significance of REI across diverse contexts and social processes, including urban spaces, digital platforms, science and medicine, social movements, formal organizations, civic engagement, and popular culture, among others. We offer theoretical overview courses on race and immigration as well as focused topics such as the "Politics of Diversity," Place Inequality," "Immigration and Society," "Global Mobility and Inequality," and "Biological Citizenship."

The sociology faculty are currently engaged in a wide range of research related to the sociology of race, ethnicity, and immigration. These include projects on: race and residential real estate practices in neighborhoods (Dinzey-Flores); the intersection of race and genetics (Bliss); racialized incorporation of immigrants in the United States (Chaudhary); race and the production and performance of popular culture (Chaudhary); racial dimensions of U.S. immigration policy (Lee); race x gender in digital culture and networked movements (Jones); the meaning of diversity in U.S. biomedicine (Bliss; Lee); and race and labor market inequality in the new economy (Mai). The methods employed include quantitative analyses of large data sets, ethnography and interviews, archival analysis, field and survey experiments, and digital ethnography. Thus, work in the race, ethnicity, and immigration program area reflects the diverse multi-method approach to research and training in the sociology department at Rutgers.

Graduate students collaborate with faculty and work on a range of projects on topics including: race, gender, and urban violence; racialized labor market integration processes; Puerto Rican settlement and integration; group threat and politics; performance of race in popular music; multiracial identification and the media; race, culture, and prison order; and racism, biomedicine, and health disparities.

At the undergraduate level, we offer a variety of courses across the levels of the curriculum on minority groups, comparative immigration studies, race relations, and immigrant minorities in the United States.