Political Sociology Overview

Coordinator: Meyer Kestnbaum  (301) 405-6431 | mkestn@umd.edu 

The Political Sociology specialty area focuses on interrelations among the state, market and civil society.  A major strength of the political sociology specialty is the breadth of teaching and research interests represented among its core faculty. Research being conducted by faculty in this area spans multiple levels of analysis and methodological approaches, with the department having strength in research on comparative historical approaches to the state, labor markets, political ideology, political economy, policy networks, civic engagement and collective action.

Faculty Interests

Nine regular faculty members identify political sociology as an area of interest:  Patricia Collins, Kurt Kinsterbusch, Dana R. Fisher, Meyer Kestnbaum, Meredith Kleykamp, Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz, Mansoor Moaddel, Alan Neustadtl, and Christina Prell.  The Political Sociology specialty connects easily with the many foci in the department and affiliated faculty conduct cross-cutting research among them.  Faculty members’ expertise spans the areas of Political Economy, particularly Development and Social Stratification, Social Demography, Social Psychology, Race and Ethnicity, Military Sociology, Environmental Sociology, and Theory.

Center for Research on Military Organizations 

University of Maryland Sociology faculty members especially involved in military sociology are Meyer KestnbaumMeredith Kleykamp, and Jeff LucasIn 1995, the Center for Research on Military Organizations was established. This Center serves as a locus for faculty and graduate student research. At the start of the twenty-first century, the processes of peacekeeping, gender integration, and work-family adaptation remain central research concerns. The program has added a comparative and historical approach. In particular, the nature of warfare, ranging from the eighteenth and nineteenth century revolutions that helped define the relationship between citizenship and the state to the asymmetric conflicts of the 21st century have become central research topics.

Graduate Student Research Opportunities and Employment

In addition to working with individual faculty on research, graduate students can find employment as research assistants in a variety of projects within the sociology department and in the Washington DC area. Students are encouraged to present papers at regional and national professional meetings and to publish their work in professional journals. There are also many opportunities to develop teaching skills that will be helpful in future employment. Additionally, the department’s proximity to Washington, DC and the policy community therein provide ample opportunities for field research as well as applied experiences close to home.