122 Townshend Hall
1885 Neil Avenue Mall
Areas of Expertise
- Community & Urban
- Ph.D, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1990
Current research focuses on the causes of political contention (protest, terrorism, guerrilla war), as well as how demography and urbanization shape international economic and political development. Ongoing research interests include political sociology, globalization and westernization, demography, urban sociology, sociological theory, environmental sociology, and mass media (with special focus on the Internet). Recent publications investigate the role of demography in economic development, differences between leftist and Islamic terrorism, the social determinants of female infanticide, and how globalization influences the adoption of Internet technology.
Broadly trained as a demographer, I have always been interested in how population structure and growth shape social change around the globe. Most of the topics I’ve investigated have been macrosocial in scope, and generally have had some connection to large-scale demographic processes (e.g., how population density, age structure, and ethnic composition affect economic growth or environmental change). Other interests involve general patterns of globalization (e.g., how so-called “world cities” influence the diffusion of Internet technology). Although the topics I have investigated are numerous, the use of both sociological human ecology and ecological-evolutionary theory underlies and unifies much of my work. With sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, I am currently focused on political sociology. Two interrelated projects involve the study of how global mass media, global civil society, and large cities shape/channel political contention within and across nations (i.e., protest, terrorism, civil war). Another entails my investigation of those structural determinants that have influenced the creation and longevity of known international terrorist organizations.