Chair of Sociology
Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Columbia University, 2002
M.A., Cornell University, 1997
B.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1992
I specialize in the areas of political and economic sociology. I teach with a comparative focus because learning about other societies broadens the mind and sharpens critical thinking. In addition to general sociology courses, I teach an upper-division course on social movements and another that is a survey of economic sociology. I also offer a methods-oriented course on social network analysis.
I approach my research from a structural perspective. I am interested in small-scale structures, like networks of persons and organizations, because they are important building blocks for larger-scale social processes. The main focus of my research has been on elite networks. I have studied local elites in post-Soviet Russia and corporate elites in Britain. I use social network analysis to understand elite structures and their relationship to such processes as democratization and class power.
More recently, I have been interested in the structure of language and how people use language to construct social reality. I am studying the evolution of writing letters to the editor in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. I use content analysis to catalogue how citizens frame their claims. I am also collaborating on a comparative project about democratization in the former Soviet Union. We are mapping out changes in coalitional structures to trace different routes to and from democracy.
I produce articles and chapters in peer-reviewed publications and have working papers on these and other topics. When not doing sociology, I can usually be found spending time with my family, reading non-fiction or playing guitar.
Here are a few images related to my research:
Late state socialism
Somewhere in “the home counties…”
Protest in front of the Kremlin during Russia’s democratic transition
Elite networks during Russia's “roaring 90s”