Latest News

Sociologist Elizabeth McClintock Researches Modern Love

Author: Kevin Clarke and Kate Clements

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Aura McClintock, a recent hire in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, maintains a professional interest in a field that most of us at one time or other have tried an amateur hand at: mapping out the rules of attraction in dating and marriage. “My research focuses on gender and inequality in the context of romantic and sexual relationships, particularly in partner selection and relationship formation and in dynamics of negotiation and compromise within established relationships,” she says. “I am interested in how intimate relationships reflect, perpetuate, and potentially alter gender, class, age, and racial inequality.”

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Sociology Alumni Employ Skills in Varied Professions

Author: Chris Milazzo

As a sociology major at the University of Notre Dame, Joshua Cook ’10 learned about everything from criminal behavior to popular culture to family dynamics. And the deeper he got into his studies, he says, the more he realized that “understanding human behavior could serve as a great foundation for a career in a variety of fields, including the business world.”

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Sociologist Christian Smith Wins Multiple Book Awards

Author: Joanna Basile

Christian Smith, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, was recently honored for two of his latest books: What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good From the Person Up and Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults.

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Sociologist Lyn Spillman Investigates Business Culture

Author: Sara Burnett

From the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to the International Concrete Repair Institute, there are more than 4,000 active business associations in the United States. And contrary to popular misconceptions, says Notre Dame sociologist Lyn Spillman, they do more than just lobby politicians and promote products.

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New Course Helps Sociology Students Explore Media Influence

Author: Mike Danahey

Almost 50 years ago Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan posited that “the medium is the message,” advancing the idea that each method of communication influences public discourse not only by what tales it chooses to tell but also by how it presents those stories. This past fall, Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology Terence McDonnell helped University of Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters students explore how that concept plays out in today’s more complex media landscape.

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Sociology Graduate Students Build Winning Fellowship Record

Author: Kate Cohorst

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick investigates contemporary slavery and human trafficking in India. Daniel Escher moved to Appalachian coal country to research the social effects of mining on surrounding communities. Sara Skiles designed and conducted a survey to determine how aesthetic taste helps affect the formation of social networks. Christopher Morrissey interviewed key religious and secular leaders to analyze the role of religion in the debate leading up to the Iraq War.

These four National Science Foundation honorees are just the latest examples of the innovative research proposals sociology graduate students are developing at the University of Notre Dame, says Associate Professor William Carbonaro, director of graduate studies for the Department of Sociology.

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Providing Support for a Solitary Pursuit

Author: Joanna Basile

Ideas and ambitions abound. What many undergraduates lack is the know-how to tackle—on their own and for the first time—an extended research project that culminates in a senior thesis.

"When anyone does independent research, much of it is a solitary experience

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Focus on Professionalization Fuels Publishing Success

Author: Mark Shuman and Kate Cohorst

A growing number of Ph.D. students in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Sociology are attracting attention for their research and publishing papers in leading peer-reviewed journals.

"Students have taken up our challenge to be more ambitious," says William Carbonaro, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the department.

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A Winning Year for Faculty Hires

Author: Kate Cohorst

At a time when the battered economy caused many sociology programs to freeze hiring for a second consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame doubled down.

“I am pleased to say that we hired four of the very best young scholars in the nation and each one will be joining us in the fall of 2011,” says Professor Rory McVeigh, chair of the Department of Sociology. “These scholars, as a group, not only build on our preexisting strengths but also help us to establish strength in some new areas of research.”…

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New Courses Explore Motivations for Social Engagement

Author: Susan Love Loughmiller

Selfishness. Selflessness. Religion. Social activism.

The interrelationship of these ideas lies at the heart of two new courses for undergraduates in the Department of Sociology.

To help students explore the connections, Assistant Professor Kraig Beyerlein draws on his extensive research in social movements, civic engagement, volunteerism, and religion-based mobilization.

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Ph.D Student Analyzes Religion’s Influence on War and Peace

Author: Joanna Basile

No one would dispute that religious convictions can lead to conflict—even violence and war. Yet how is it that so often adversaries use their faith to justify opposing stances in the same dispute? That's the question that intrigues Christopher Morrissey, a doctoral candidate in Notre Dame's Department of Sociology.

"Religious support and opposition to the Iraq War cut across American faith traditions, dividing the pews and denominations internally," says Morrissey, whose research focuses on the public debate before the war started.

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Growth in Field Spurs Investment in Cultural Sociology

Author: Sara Burnett

As interest in cultural sociology has risen in recent decades, so too has Notre Dame's investment in its faculty.

"We've been growing over the past 20 years, but in the last five years it has all come together," says cultural sociologist Lyn Spillman, an associate professor who has studied American political and economic culture.

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Christian Smith's New Book Explores Meaning of Personhood

Author: Susan Guibert and Joanna Basile

The question "What is a person?" has occupied the minds of philosophers and theologians for centuries. But University of Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith argues in his latest book that the question also lies at the center of the social scientist's quest to understand social life.

What is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up presents a new model for social theory

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Study of Voting on Same-Sex Marriage Featured in American Sociological Review

Author: Gene Stowe

Research led by Professor Rory McVeigh, chair of the Department of Sociology, has identified two community characteristics that, when present, appear to increase opposition to same-sex marriage.

The study, co-authored with 2010 Ph.D. recipient Maria-Elena Diaz, was the featured article in the December 2009 issue of the American Sociological Review, the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association.

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Graduate Students to Host Leading Ethnography Conference

Author: Gene Stowe

Next spring, graduate students in Notre Dame’s Sociology Department will host the 13th Annual Chicago Ethnography Conference, a yearly event organized by a team of students from major Midwestern universities, including the University of Notre Dame, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and DePaul University. Notre Dame became an affiliate member of the group last year and is playing host to the conference for the first time.…

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Learning to Become Scholars and Teachers

Author: Lisa Walenceus

Day-to-day life for graduate students is defined by the need to make a scholarly contribution to their chosen field of study. This intense focus drives these students to spend their days—and nights—doing research and analysis, writing and presenting papers, and, ultimately, submitting their work for publication in peer-reviewed journals.…

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A Bridge Between Scholars Present and Future

Author: Gene Stowe

The Department of Sociology’s Center for the Study of Social Movements has adopted a strategy that brings together young scholars and seasoned professionals to help the flow of ideas flourish across academic generations. It’s an approach that’s also enriching the experience of Notre Dame graduate students while bearing witness to that old adage about imitation and flattery.

In the past, the center’s presentation of its annual John D. McCarthy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Scholarship of Social Movements and Collective Behavior has followed a familiar format, with the winner recognized at a banquet attended by his or her colleagues.

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Davenport Examines "Rashomon Effect" and Implications for Conflict, Peace

Author: Joan Fallon

On Oct. 28, 1967, a white police officer pulled over a black man in Oakland, Calif. Both men got shot, and the policeman died. Who pulled a gun first? And what happened after the shooting?

The answers depend, says Christian Davenport, a professor of peace studies, political science, and sociology, on which news source you consult—the radical black newspaper (the black man was Huey Newton, founder of the Black Panthers), the moderate black newspaper, the radical white newspaper, the conservative Bay Area newspaper, or The New York Times.

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Connecting Social Research and Service

Author: Paige Risser

Like many good ideas, this one required some financial assistance to get off the ground... Maeve Raphelson ’10 and eight other Notre Dame students had been asked by friend and fellow senior Javier Soegaard to accompany him to Puerto Rico to work with some kids in a local school. Problem was, they couldn’t afford to make the trip.

So Raphelson came up with the idea of combining field research with the service work. “I proposed that we also try to do some research while there,” she says, “and we all applied for different sources of funding.”

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A Study in Activist Sustainability

Author: Kevin Clarke

Turning the pages of Assistant Professor Erika Summers-Effler’s new book, Laughing Saints and Righteous Heroes:
Emotional Rhythms in Social Movement Groups
, it won’t be long before readers notice they are not working their way through a typical sociology text. Summers-Effler’s lively storytelling veers off into three different directions at once, and it’s loaded with stories, comments, and vibrant details from real life that would be quite at home in a piece of narrative journalism.

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