Areas of Research Expertise

Areas of Expertise ImageThe following core areas of specialization provide a broad outline of the Department’s areas of excellence. Many of our researchers have interests that intersect and that span multiple areas and subfields.

Sociology of Crime and Law

All societies seek to maintain a sense of social order. Researchers in the Sociology of Crime and Law study determinants of criminal and deviant behaviour in diverse settings. They also examine the social bases and influences on the legal field.

Research faculty working in this area include: Ellen Berrey, Christian Caron, Randol Contreras, Ronit Dinovitzer, Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Jerry FloresPhilip Goodman, Susila Gurusami, Kelly Hannah-MoffatJoseph Hermer, Nathan Innocente, Candace Kruttschnitt, Jooyoung Lee, Ron Levi, Sida Liu, Paula Maurutto, Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Ashley Rubin, Gail Super and Julian Tanner.


Social interactions and identity formation often coalesce around cultural consumption and symbols of status. Researchers in the Sociology of Culture examine material products, ideas, and symbols and their relationship to social behaviour.

Research faculty working in this area include: Zaheer Baber, Jayne Baker, Shyon Baumann, Ellen Berrey, Joseph Bryant, Clayton Childress, Jennifer Chun, Bonnie Erickson, Ethan FosseSteve Hoffman, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Josée Johnston, Vanina Leschziner, Kathleen Liddle, Andrew Miles, Melissa Milkie, Ann Mullen, Jasmine RaultErik Schneiderhan, and Dan Silver.


Ideologies about gender and the role of the family structure form some of the basic building blocks of society. Researchers examine the construction of gender roles, the intersectional links between gender, status, and inequality, and the gendered structure and functioning of family life.

Research faculty working in this area include: Irene Boeckmann, Monica Boyd, Hae Yeon Choo, Cynthia Cranford, Jerry Flores Bonnie Fox, Adam Green, Angelina Gregoryeva,   Ping-Chun Hsiung, Josée Johnston, John Kervin, Anna Korteweg, Rachel La Touche, Kathleen Liddle, Melissa Milkie, Ann Mullen, Elise ParadisIto Peng, Rania Salem, Judith Taylor, Sandy Welsh, and Weiguo Zhang.

Health & Mental Health

Social organizations and social processes have a profound effect on health. Sociologists of health and mental health consider structural, social psychological, stress process, labeling, macro-comparative, and institutional approaches, and study both health outcomes and health providers.

Research faculty working in this area include: Brent Berry, Adam Green, Anna Korteweg, Rachel La Touche, William Magee, Melissa MilkieElise Paradis,  Ito Peng, David Pettinicchio, Markus Schafer, Scott Schieman, Michelle Silver, Nicholas Spence, Sandy WelshLorne TeppermanBlair Wheaton, and Geoff Wodtke.

Immigration, Race and Ethnicity

National borders and identities, as well as racial and ethnic categories, are powerful mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. Studies in immigration, race and ethnicity investigate how people are sorted by these categories, the causes and consequences of this sorting, and how different people make sense of their experience and identity.

Research faculty working in this area include:  Jennifer Adese, Ellen Berrey, Brent Berry, Monica Boyd, Hae Yeon Choo, Cynthia Cranford, Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Rachel La Touche, Akwasi Owusu-Bempeh, Luisa Farah Schwartzman, Jerry Flores, Robin Gray, Susila GurusamiAnna Korteweg, Patricia Landolt, Neda Maghbouleh, Akwasi Owusu-BempehIto Peng, Jeffrey ReitzTahseen Shams, Nicholas Spence and Jack Veugelers.


The quality of research results relies on flawless research tools and techniques. Scholars in these two areas investigate current methods and develop innovative strategies to overcome difficulties in obtaining the best possible research data.

Qualitative Methods

Research faculty working in Qualitative Research Methods include: Ellen BerreyEmine Fidan Elcioglu, Robin GrayJoseph Hermer, Steve Hoffman, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Patricia Landolt, Jooyoung Lee, Neda Maghbouleh, Tahseen Shams and Judith Taylor.

Quantitative Methods

Research faculty working in Quantitative Research Methods include: Monica Alexander, Brent Berry, Fedor Dokshin, Ethan Fosse,  Rachel La Touche, Andrew Miles, Markus Schafer, Scott Schieman, Nicholas SpenceBlair Wheaton, and Geoff Wodtke.

Networks and Community

The ways in which people interact with each other affects their health, social position and how they see their place in society. This area measures the ties between individuals to understand such dimensions of society as communication pat-terns, occupational success, and collective action.

Research faculty working in this area include: Brent Berry, Clayton Childress, Bonnie Erickson, Vanina Leschziner, Alexandra Marin, Jasmine Rault and Markus Schafer.

Political Sociology

Political phenomena have social underpinnings. Scholars in this area draw on sociological theories and methods to ex-plain political protest and advocacy, state formation and governance, and policy development and implementation.

Research faculty working in this area include: Jennifer AdeseIrene Boeckmann, Joseph Bryant, Robert Brym, Jennifer Chun, Fedor Dokshin,  Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Ethan FosseSida Liu, John Hannigan, Steve Hoffman, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Josée Johnston, Anna Korteweg, Patricia Landolt, Yoonkyoung Lee, Ron Levi, Paula Maurutto, Ito Peng, Kim Pernell, David Pettinicchio, Kristin Plys, Ashley Rubin, Erik Schneiderhan, Judith Taylor, Jack Veugelers, and Geoff Wodtke.

Work, Stratification and Markets

Social inequalities come in many forms and derive from structural and individual factors. Researchers in this area study the impact of income disparity, patterns of inequality and status in the workplace, and the intersection of economics and social systems.

Research faculty working in this area include: Irene Boeckmann, Monica Boyd, Jennifer Chun, Cynthia Cranford, Ronit Dinovitzer, Bonnie Erickson, Ethan Fosse, Bonnie Fox, Philip Goodman, Angelina GrigoryevaJohn Kervin, Rachel La Touche, Patricia Landolt, Yoonkyung Lee, Vanina Leschziner, Sida Liu, Alexandra Marin, Ann Mullen, Kim Pernell, David Pettinicchio, Kristin Plys,  Jeffrey Reitz, Scott Schieman, Nicholas SpenceSandy Welsh, and Geoffrey Wodtke.


Sociological theory seeks to develop an understanding of social phenomena. It builds on the works of theorists who have been observing and analyzing the social world since the nineteenth century.

Research faculty working in this area include: Zaheer Baber, Joseph Bryant, Christian Caron, Robin GrayAdam Green, Steve Hoffman, Vanina Leschziner, Sida Liu, Ashley Rubin, Erik Schneiderhan, Dan Silver and Jack Veugelers.

Other Areas of Specialization

In addition to these core areas, we also have a number of faculty working on: Environmental Sociology, Family, Life Course and Aging, Social Policy and Urban Sociology.