Areas of Research Expertise

The following core specialty areas 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, Ronit Dinovitzer, Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Jerry FloresPhilip Goodman, Julius Haag, Kelly Hannah-MoffatJoseph Hermer, Nathan Innocente, Candace Kruttschnitt, Jooyoung Lee, Ron Levi, Sida Liu, Paula Maurutto, Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Zach Richer, Yvonne Sherwood, Chris Smith, Gail Super, Julian Tanner, Lorne Tepperman

Sociology of Culture

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 ChildressBonnie Erickson, Ethan FosseSteve Hoffman, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Josée Johnston, Vanina Leschziner, Kathleen Liddle, Andrew Miles, Melissa Milkie, Ann Mullen, Zach Richer, Erik 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: Sharla Alegria, Monica Boyd, Hae Yeon Choo, Irene Boeckmann, Cynthia Cranford, Jessica Fields, Jerry Flores, Adam Green, Angelina Gregoryeva, Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Josée Johnston, John Kervin, Anna Korteweg, Kathleen Liddle, Melissa Milkie, Ann MullenIto Peng, Rania Salem, Yvonne Sherwood, Chris Smith, 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, Jessica Fields, Adam Green, Anna Korteweg, William Magee, Melissa MilkieIto Peng, David Pettinicchio, Markus Schafer, Scott Schieman, Michelle Silver, Nicholas Spence, Lorne Tepperman, Sandy Welsh, Blair Wheaton

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, Akwasi Owusu-Bempeh, Luisa Farah Schwartzman, Jerry Flores, Robin GrayAnna Korteweg, Patricia Landolt, Neda MaghboulehIto Peng, Tahseen Shams, Yvonne Sherwood, 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, Jessica Fields, Robin GraySteve Hoffman, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Patricia LandoltJooyoung Lee, Neda Maghbouleh, Tahseen Shams and Judith Taylor.

Quantitative Methods

Research faculty working in Quantitative Research Methods include: Monica Alexander, Brent Berry, Anna Katyn Chmielewski, Fedor Dokshin, Ethan Fosse, Jonathan Horowitz, Andrew Miles, Markus Schafer, Scott Schieman, Nicholas Spence, and Blair Wheaton

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: Joseph Bryant, Robert Brym, Fedor Dokshin,  Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Luisa Farah Schwartzman, Ethan FosseJohn Hannigan, Steve Hoffman, Ping-Chun Hsiung, Josée Johnston, Anna Korteweg, Patricia Landolt, Yoonkyoung Lee, Ron Levi,  Sida Liu, Paula Maurutto, Ito Peng, David Pettinicchio, Zach Richer, Erik Schneiderhan, Judith Taylor, Jack Veugelers

Social Networks

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 patterns, occupational success, and collective action.

Research faculty working in this area include: Brent Berry, Clayton Childress, Bonnie Erickson, Vanina Leschziner, Markus Schafer and Chris Smith.


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 CaronAdam Green, Steven Hoffman, Vanina Leschziner, Ron Levi, Sida Liu, Mahua Sarkhar, Erik Schneiderhan, Luisa Schwartzman, Dan Silver and Jack Veugelers.

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: Sharla Alegria, Irene Boeckmann, Monica Boyd, Anna Katyn Chmielewski, Cynthia Cranford, Ronit Dinovitzer, Alicia Eads, Bonnie Erickson, Ethan Fosse, Philip Goodman, Angelina Grigoryeva, Jonathan Horowitz, John KervinPatricia Landolt, Yoonkyung Lee, Vanina Leschziner, Sida Liu, Ann Mullen, Kim Pernell David Pettinicchio, Scott Schieman, Nicholas Spence, and Sandy Welsh.

Other Areas of Expertise

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.