Culture: Social Psychology, Religion, and Organizations
The specialization in culture includes four overlapping areas of inquiry: culture, social psychology, religion, and organizations. The first area, culture, involves the study of culture as a set of shared taken-for-granted assumptions that are reflected in or shape norms, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors. Faculty have studied a wide range of cultures including campus, regional, religious, rural, national, and organizational. The second area focuses on theories and research in social psychology. It emphasizes both individual and group processes (e.g., cognition, emotion, perception, attitude formation) and interactive processes (e.g., communication, socialization, identity construction) from a sociological perspective. The third area aims to understand how religion shapes and is shaped by individuals, communities, and culture. The fourth area investigates organizational and group dynamics, such as equity, commitment, retention, change, and solidarity, and how organizational and group structures affect and are affected by beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Current faculty research includes studies of sports, the Amish, the criminal justice system, work, group processes, gender, civic engagement, religion, science, media, constructing social problems and higher education. Faculty use a diverse range of methods to explore these areas, including interviews, experiments, multilevel models, ethnography, social network analysis, archival, and surveys.
The objective of this specialization and what unites these four areas of inquiry is for students to develop knowledge of theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding micro-macro linkages by drawing on social psychological, organizational, and cultural theories. The required elective in the culture area is SOCA 780 – Individual and Society.
*May supervise both MA and PhD theses
**May supervise both MA and PhD theses and is currently accepting students