About the Department

The University of Pittsburgh Department of Sociology, established in 1926, has particular strengths in the study of Social Movements and Politics and Culture and shares with the University of Pittsburgh a strong international and comparative orientation.

Areas of Specialization

The current research pursued by Pitt sociologists is focused in the program's two areas of specialization: Social Movements and Politics and Culture. With these areas our faculty use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and focus on may areas of the globe.

Social Movements

Everywhere we look in the twenty-first century, we find efforts at change and efforts to resist change. Faculty and graduate students at Pitt are studying a variety of past and present social movements in the United States and worldwide. Our department is home to the Pittsburgh Social Movement Forum, a setting for discussions of new ideas in social-movement studies, lectures, presentations of student and faculty work-in-progress and book discussions among scholars from various Departments and Universities in the Pittsburgh area. The Pittsburgh Social Movement Forum also sponsors speakers and mini-conferences on major social-movement issues. Our recent emphases have been on state repression of social movements; global labor organizing; race and collective action in prisons; emotions in social movement research; Eastern European and democratization movements; sexual minority movements; and global Anti-Semitic movements.

Politics and Culture

This area synthesizes political and cultural sociology, joining exciting new directions in social science inquiry. Our department sponsors a Politics and Culture speaker series which brings prominent scholars to campus and works with Pitt's Graduate Program in Cultural Studies to promote politics, culture, and their intersection. We define the area of Politics and Culture broadly, from micro studies of interpersonal and intergroup interaction to macro studies of global processes.