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Dustin Mabry


  • MA, Sociology, Humboldt State University
  • BA, Sociology, San Diego State University


Can a person get rich, stay cool, and save the world? At the intersection(s) of wealth, status, and power, a relational thing exists...and I try to study this thing. I do so with specific interest in the relationship between art and industry within the United States.

It seems true enough to suggest sociological classics as dealing with this intersection within broader sets of concern. For instance, Weber’s protestant ethic thesis was explanatory and articulated within his concern of the rise of Western capitalism, an event driven by the same type of social action which may ultimately disenchant the world. Sociologically, we understand that people seek things when they do things and the nature of this activity (including its consequences) forms a central sociological concern, especially as this activity forms the basis of group-life and social change. One of the best things sociology has to offer is that this activity is both individual and systemic; the ability to see this is the essence of employing a sociological imagination.

In the case of the intersection of wealth, status, and power, we are pretty sure that success in one sphere doesn’t necessarily lead to success in another. In fact the accumulation of one often leads to the depletion of another (super wealthy are seen as heartless). Are there any examples of people who seem to have been able to do all at once, even if for a short period of time? If so, what can they teach us about our seemingly-individual and site-specific problem? I think I have found a pretty good one in the history of Industrial Design.

I also teach, a lot. I've served as instructor-of-record for nearly 30 undergraduate courses in sociology, primarily through community colleges in the East Bay Area of California. I've also taught in an adult school, and assisted the teaching of many courses at UC Davis. As any instructor of sociology may, I hope my students explore big questions with the knowledge that systematic research provides reliable-enough answers. My hope comes from a belief that such inquiry promotes positive change in one’s life and in society.