The Department of Sociology at Florida State University is known for its research on social change and social inequalities, including gender & sexuality, population health & aging, and politics & social policy. We are a department that values collaborative research and efforts to bring research insights to policymakers and the broader public. Our faculty and students use a range of analytic strategies to study social change and social inequalities including ethnography, participant observation, advanced statistical modeling, interviews, and content analysis. We are primarily an article-producing department, though a growing number of our faculty publish research monographs, too.
Recently published books
Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America (Cambridge, 2015)
Weaving together analyses of archival material, news coverage, and interviews conducted with journalists from mainstream and partisan outlets as well as with activists across the political spectrum, Deana A. Rohlinger reimagines how activists use a variety of mediums, sometimes simultaneously, to agitate for - and against - legal abortion.
See Deana Rohlinger's website for more information on her research on abortion politics.
Credit to Capabilities (Cambridge, 2014)
Based on interviews with hundreds of economically and socially vulnerable women from peasant households, this [study of microcredit programs in rural India] highlights the role of the associational mechanism - forming women into groups that are embedded in a vast network and providing the opportunity for face-to-face participation in group meetings - in improving women's capabilities.
Winner of the 2015 Outstanding Book Award, Sociology of Development Section, American Sociological Association.
Active and recent grants
"Comprehensive Older Driver Program." Barrett, Anne and John Reynolds. (Oct 2010-Sept 2017). Funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.
In 2009, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida Safe Mobility for Life Program partnered with the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy at FSU to establish a statewide coalition to address the specific needs of Florida’s aging road users. The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition’s mission is to improve the safety, access and mobility of Florida’s aging road users by developing a comprehensive strategic plan to reduce injuries and crashes among this vulnerable population.
"Sexual Orientation and Status Attainment." Ueno, Koji. (Jul 2011–Jun 2012). Funded by National Science Foundation (1060988).
This project examined the relationship between sexual orientation and status attainment using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The following questions were addressed:
- Is same-sex experience associated with status attainment among young adults today?
- Are the timing of first same-sex experience and its continuity associated with status attainment?
- What explains and moderates the attainment differences linked to same-sex experience?
Junior Faculty Spotlight
- Taking care of a spouse with dementia accelerates frailty.
- Productive engagement as public health intervention: remaining active through paid work and volunteering in your 50s and early 60s deters chronic conditions from becoming functional limitations.
- Analyses of young adult twins confirms that there is a causal association whereby educational attainment improves psychological well-being.
- How does poverty get under the skin to affect health? This analysis of the timing of poverty and adolescent cortisol levels finds that poverty among adolsecent girls was associated with lower awakening cortisol, but this was not true for boys.
- Government agencies like the CDC shape public views of women as mothers -- in this case, through recent public health initiatives cautioning women to engage in good health behaviors during their "preconception" stages.
- Do epigenetics constitute a department from genetic determinism? Waggoner and her co-author argue they do not. ("Epigenetics" is the notion that environmental factors trigger changes in an organism's gene activity without changing the actual genetic makeup of the organism.)
Many of our faculty engage with broader audiences, relating their empirical research to current policy debates on issues such as health care policy, quality at the end of life, development policy, or higher education financing. Here are additional examples of FSU sociologists engaging the public:
"Round-the-clock" workplace cultures
Irene Padavic's research on round-the-clock work cultures in highly skilled, highly paid professions was featured in the New York Times.
Sociology of Hip Hop Culture
Lisa Weinberg organized a 2016 community event and workshop showcasing the relevance of Hip Hop for sociology and social change.