Areas of Specialization | Sociology | SIU

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Areas of Specialization

Substantively the program concentrates on our faculty strengths in four key areas of sociological research and theorizing:

(1) Social Movements, Politics, and Social Change

The study of social movements and social change in sociology focuses on how people organize to engage in collective action to redress injustice and other social problems. Our faculty have interests in how people mobilize resources, take advantage of the opportunities available to them, and use imagery and language to frame problems, solutions, and movements.

Faculty in this area: William Danaher, J.-P. Reed, Darren E. Sherkat, Chris Wienke.

(2) Class and Stratification

Our specialization in class and stratification encompasses a wide range of substantive, methodological, and theoretical approaches. We are primarily interested in understanding the individual and society in terms of systems of stratification, historically and culturally contingent social constructions, and as ways of being and doing in everyday life.

Faculty in this area: William Danaher, J.-P. Reed, Darren Sherkat, Rachel B. Whaley.

(3) Gender and Sexuality

How do we do gender? How is masculinity and femininity socially constructed? What are the impacts of the boxes we check in our daily lives? Our faculty explore topics such as gender and globalization, gender violence, gender and race, masculinities, and queer theory, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Faculty in this area: Kristen Barber, Gregory Maddox, Rachel B. Whaley, Chris Wienke.

(4) Culture

How do we as individuals and society navigate the signs and symbols of everyday life, impacting them and, in turn, being impacted by them? Our faculty use a variety of methods and theories to see the interplay of the individual and society, on macro- and micro-levels.

Faculty in this area: Gregory Maddox, J.-P. Reed, Darren E. Sherkat, Rachel B. Whaley, Chris Wienke.

These areas are broadly conceived, and faculty interests are divided equally across the four areas. Within each of these three areas of concentration, faculty members and students maintain diverse research agendas. Our program also features state of the art training in sociological theory, teaching sociology, and both a semester-long qualitative methods course and a year-long quantitative methods course.

For further information on the research topics that our department offers and the careers of some recent graduates, see Where Our Students Are.