Research Spotlight

Researchers in the Department of Sociology are engaged in a variety of research projects intended to improve understanding of complex cultural and societal problems. Our faculty members are making important contributions to scholarly literature in numerous topics of inquiry, including ethnicity and race, poverty, economic mobility, labor market shifts, police shootings, and racial bias. This page spotlights representative examples of the momentous research projects that are under way in the UC Davis Department of Sociology.
A Chat with Bruce Haynes

A Chat with Bruce Haynes

Bruce Haynes is an expert on race, ethnicity, and urban society. His work has focused on topics such as segregation, the link between race and ethnicity, and the black middle class. His latest book, Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, is his most personal—telling the history of his family while examining the precariousness of the black middle class. He wrote the book with his wife, Syma Solovich, and published it in April 2017. UC Davis College of Letters and Science writing intern Noah Pflueger-Peters sat down with Dr. Haynes to talk about his new book and his compelling life and research

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Al Capone's Network, the Criminal Gender Gap and Police Shootings

Al Capone's Network, the Criminal Gender Gap and Police Shootings

Iconic Chicago crime boss Al Capone is more often the subject of film, fiction and true crime stories than social science research. But for Assistant Professor Chris Smith, the gangster known as “Scarface” provides a window into criminal and other social networks.

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Confronting "Crimmigration": Caitlin Patler

Confronting "Crimmigration": Caitlin Patler

By Phyllis Jeffrey - Caitlin Patler’s passion for immigration research was sparked by a very particular time and place. Bringing together approaches from sociology of law, race and ethnicity, as well as literature on immigration, she channels her experiences of 1990s California into work with wide-reaching resonances.

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Low-Wage Workers Are Often Trapped, Unable to Advance

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Trapped, Unable to Advance

By Alex Russell - Low-wage workers know they have to enhance their skills to escape low-wage jobs, but long hours and multiple jobs make skill-building and education nearly impossible, according to a new policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis.

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Migrations of the Mind: David Kyle

Migrations of the Mind: David Kyle

By Loren Michael Mortimer - What does it take to leave one’s homeland in search of an uncertain future? Why do entire communities migrate to faraway lands in ways not explained by rational self-interest? Such questions have long intrigued David Kyle, associate professor of sociology and founding member of the Temporary Migration research cluster at UC Davis. In a recent paper, he offers some potential answers.

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Monitoring Militarization: Erin Hamilton

Monitoring Militarization: Erin Hamilton

By Michael Haggerty – At a time when the issue of immigration is more fiercely debated than ever, how does border militarization affect migrant families? In a recent paper, Associate Professor of Sociology Erin Hamilton seeks to find out.

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Q&A with Brian Halpin: The Life and Times of Low-wage Workers

Q&A with Brian Halpin: The Life and Times of Low-wage Workers

Brian Halpin, a lecturer and 2016 graduate of the doctoral program in the UC Davis Sociology Department, studies the sociology of work and employment, focusing on low-wage workers and the labor markets they navigate.

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Robert Faris: Teens, Bullying and Social Media

Robert Faris: Teens, Bullying and Social Media

Being a teenager is difficult for anybody, but it’s especially hard for people who deal with bullying, social aggression and substance use. Associate Professor Robert Faris, an expert in social conflict, wants to know how these issues spread through the social networks of teenagers in and out of school.

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Scrutinizing Crime: Chris Smith

Scrutinizing Crime: Chris Smith

By M. Rossi - Assistant Professor of Sociology Chris Smith researches crime and inequality, criminal relationships, and criminal organizations. She is also deeply committed to supporting and mentoring students—especially those typically underrepresented in academia.

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The Future of Climate Change: John R. Hall

The Future of Climate Change: John R. Hall

By Phyllis Jeffrey - With new physical evidence appearing every day, why does climate change remain a subject of contention, confusion—even flat-out denialism? Approaching climate change through collective orientations toward time and imaginings of the future, Research Professor of Sociology John R. Hall seeks to shed light on the sociological side of the climate change conundrum.

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