About Us

Seth Abrutyn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. As a theorist, his principle aims are to deepen our understanding of the links between community/group-level culture and the social psychology of those inhabiting that culture. In particular, his current research focuses on how sociological research on suicide can benefit from the integration of cultural, emotional, and social psychological approaches to conventional structural approaches. Beyond suicide, is interested in how collective actors (called institutional entrepreneurs) carve out discrete physical, temporal, social, and symbolic space through moral discourse.

Gordon Brett is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research interests lie at the intersection of sociological theory, culture, cognition, and the body/embodiment. His dissertation project examines the embodied dimensions of creativity. Beyond that, he studies the cultural sociology of Mixed-Martial Arts and theory diagrams in sociology.

Peter Hart-Brison is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Communication at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. Hired as part of the Blugold Commitment, he began teaching at UWEC in Fall 2012. Prior to joining the faculty at Eau Claire, he taught at Grinnell College for two years and at the University of Wisconsin at Madison during graduate school. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2010 with a minor in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Athena Engman is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include medical sociology, social theory, embodiment, and epistemology. She has published work on embodiment and “biographical disruption” among organ transplant patients, the history of “statistical significance” in sociology, motivations for ethical food and political consumption, and the role of physical capacity in habit formation.

Tuukka Kaidesoja is a Research Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. He is interested in the methodology of the social sciences, philosophy of the social sciences, sociological theory, interdisciplinary relations between the social and the cognitive sciences and science policy. His current project is ‘Cognitive Sociology: What, Why and How?.’

Wilfried Lignier is a permanent researcher (junior) at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and a member of the European Center for Sociology and Political Science (Paris). His research focuses on socialization, more precisely the sociogenesis of the habitus during the early years of life. He is also interested in medicalization, and the social uses of medical/physiological knowledge, including clinical psychology and neuroscience. His first work dealt with the social history, the institutional basis, and the contemporary practices of the so-called ‘gifted child’ label, in France (PhD dissertation, Paris Diderot University, 2010).  With Julie Pagis (CNRS, France), he has also engaged in a long-term empirical and theoretical reflection about the children perceptions of social hierarchies (2010-2017). More recently, he has conducted an ethnographical study in a daycare center, with children aged 2- to 3-years-old; the aim was to analyze toddler’s already contrasted relationships to objects, and the way they try to appropriate things through physical and symbolical means (2015-pst).

Omar Lizardo is LeRoy Neiman Term Chair Professor in the Department of Sociology at UCLA, which he joined after spending the first twelve years of his career in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. He does empirical and theoretical work at the intersection of multiple fields, including cultural analysis, cognitive social science, historical sociology, the dynamics of cultural change, consumption studies, social theory, and network science. His work deals with general issues in classical and contemporary social theory including the theory of action, cultural theory, theorizing the connection between social position and cultural taste, and the link between culture and cognition. His empirical research seeks to connect issues related to cultural change (at the individual and institutional levels) with changes in social structure and dynamics of cultural stratification and inequality, and the use of formal and quantitative methods for measuring culture.

Michael Strand is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University. His research and teaching interests range from classical and contemporary social theory to the philosophy of social science, culture, morality, knowledge, and economic sociology. Among other projects, he is attempting to develop new (and empirically useful) understandings of two fundamental concepts in sociological research: action and models. He’s also interested in mining the critical insights available at the intersection of field theory and theories of power. Finally, he is trying to contemplate all possible meanings of the phrase: “That may be true in theory, but it is of no use in practice.”

Dustin S. Stoltz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lehigh University, which he joined after completing his Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame in 2019. His primary subfields are economic and political sociology and the sociology of culture, falling into two broad streams of research: (1) the production, distribution, consumption and consequences of ideas, and (2) the cognitive, material, and social processes underlying the evaluations of products and activities. In particular, he is interested in how stratification (inequality, hierarchy, propinquity, sorting, matching) shapes how people think about the world. His research draws on the cognitive sciences, interview methods, organizational studies, sociological theory, philosophy of science, and network analysis. His recent methodological work also contributes to the computational social sciences.

Marshall A. Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at New Mexico State University, which he joined after completing his Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame in 2018. His research rests at the intersection of culture and cognition, social movements, and computational social science. His dissertation focuses on theorizing and empirically examining the mechanisms through which white nationalist organizations in the U.S. South distribute their attention to various grievances and to other members of their social movement field.

Michael Lee Wood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Brigham Young University, which he joined after completing his Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame in 2018. The main goal of his research is to understand the culture we carry around in our heads: how it develops, how it’s structured, what it does, and how it changes. My ongoing research investigates this “personal” culture in the areas of parenting, moral evaluation, and religion, using a variety of computational and qualitative approaches.