Chair of Sociology
Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Columbia University, 2002
M.A., Cornell University, 1997
B.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1992
The holistic approach of sociology has allowed me to study different parts of society as my interests have changed over time, including politics, economics, and culture. Although my empirical work has mainly focused on Russia, I have also done research about the United Kingdom and other countries of the former Soviet Union.
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 adopt a structural perspective in my research. I am interested in small-scale structures, like networks of persons and organizations, because they are important building blocks for larger-scale social processes. I use social network analysis to understand structures and their relationship to such processes as class power, democratization, political communication, and organizational change.
In economic sociology, I study corporate boards and the people who populate them. I published an article about British corporate leaders before ‘Brexit.’
Buck, Andrew. “The Corporate Networks and Symbolic Capital of British Business Leaders.” Sociological Perspectives 61, 3 (June): 467-486, 2018.
In political sociology, I am interested in the affiliations of political elites. I have a series of articles about the political networks of elites during the Yeltsin years. I wrote an award-winning article that argues the social bases of Putinism had been developing for years before Putin came to power in 1999. The Putin coalition grew out of alliances of economic elites and government bureaucrats that occupied a space between pro-western liberals and nationalist-communists.
Buck, Andrew. “Network Mobilization and the Origins of the Putin Coalition.” The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 25, 4 (December): 445-470, 2010. [Winner, JCSTP Prize 2010 for best article].
Another article proposes a network model of democratization by mapping out changes in coalitions of civic and political organizations. A case study of a Russian town during the 1990s demonstrates how changes in coalitions move the polity towards and away from democracy.
Buck, Andrew. "Coalition Politics in a Post-Socialist Russian City, 1994-2000." Sociological Forum 28, 3 (December): 500-531, 2007.
The final article in this line of inquiry uses the idea of homophily to understand the political orientation of Russian elites. The network analyses reveal a tight coupling of elites’ political orientation to their civic and political affiliations.
Buck, Andrew. “Elite Networks and Worldviews during the Yeltsin Years.” Europe-Asia Studies 59, 4 (June): 643-661, 2007.
In comparative sociology, I am collaborating on a project about democratization. We have an article that compares democratization in 15 countries of the former Soviet Union.
Buck, Andrew and Jeffrey K. Hass. “Coalitional Configurations: A Structural Analysis of Democratization in the Former Soviet Union.” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 26, 1 (Winter): 25-54, 2018.
In political culture, I study how people express opinions in letters to the editor. I published an article about letters to the editor from the post-Soviet period.
Buck, Andrew. “Post-Socialist Patronage: Expressions of Resistance and Loyalty.” Studies in Comparative International Development 41, 3 (Fall): 3-24, 2006. [Lead article].
I am currently continuing in the above line of inquiry going back in time to letters to the editor from the late Soviet era. I have working papers on this research available upon request.
In organizational sociology, I am interested in how organizations cope with uncertainty. I published a case study of enterprises from a region in Russia during mass privatization.
Buck, Andrew. "Networks of Governance and Privatization: A View from Provincial Russia." Political Power and Social Theory 13: 81-108, 1999.
I also have a long-standing interest in Russia and its history, culture, and language. I wrote a book chapter about different aspects of Russian society.
Buck, Andrew. “Russian and Post-Soviet Studies: Society.” Pp. 851-55 in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition, edited by James D. Wright, Elsevier, Oxford, 2015.
I have published other pieces that are articles about doing research in Russia and book reviews. For example, I reviewed a book about participatory budgeting and deepening democracy.
Buck, Andrew. Review of Popular Democracy: the Paradox of Participation by Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Ernesto Ganuza in American Journal of Sociology 123, 4 (January): 1223-1225, 2018.
When not doing sociology, I can usually be found spending time with my family, reading non-fiction, listening to baseball, spinning records, or playing guitar.
Here are a few images related to my research:
Somewhere in “the home counties…”
Elite networks during Russia's “roaring 90s”
Protest in front of the Kremlin during Russia’s democratic transition
Working with letters in the "Department of Letters"