The department has a long-standing tradition of engaging and valuing theoretically driven empirical research. This approach to sociology uses sophisticated theoretical reasoning and rigorous methodological tools, many of which are developed by Cornell faculty, to answer fundamental questions about the social world, how it is organized and how it is changing.
In addition to the research areas below, the department also hosts several unique research hubs and institutes on campus. These include:
Center for the Study of Inequality
Center for the Study of Economy and Society
Social Dynamics Lab
Community and Urban Sociology
Community and urban sociology are foundational topics in sociology. The shift from rural to urban society is one of the largest and most profound shifts in the history of society.
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Computational Social Science
With the rapid increase in the availability and use of computers, and their capacity to process information rapidly, the value of knowledge associated with computational resources has increased substantially. T
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Sociology overlaps with other social sciences (like anthropology) considerably. Students who take the culture of area will be expected to understand the relationships between social and other approaches (e.g., anthropological) to understanding culture.
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Economy and Society
Economic sociology analyzes economic phenomena such as markets, corporations, property rights, and work using the tools of sociology.
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A student who specializes in the area of gender must demonstrate special knowledge of how biological sex and gender shape individuals’ identities, how they shape experiences in everyday social life, individuals’ experiences with major social institutions, and also, therefore, important life outcomes such as family, career, and health.
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Inequality and Social Stratification
Sociologists of inequality study the distribution of income, wealth, education, health and longevity, autonomy, status, prestige, political power, or other desired social goods, often (though not exclusively) across groups defined by social classes and occupations, race, gender, immigrant status, age, or sexual orientation.
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Organizations, Work and Occupations
Like families, organizations are important social institutions. This area is designed to increase students’ knowledge and mastery of a range of organizations, including business firms, non-profit organizations, and government bodies.
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Sociology is increasingly linked to issues of social policy. This includes public policy, health policy and related domains.
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Political Sociology and Social Movements
This is a long-standing focus of the field of sociology at Cornell. The realm of political action is an important domain for understanding social structure at the national and local levels.
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Race, Ethnicity and Immigration
Students who specialize in this area focus on the role of the individual statuses of race/ethnicity and the experience of immigration (e.g., rates of in- vs out-migration)
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Demographers in the field of sociology carry out research on varied aspects of population composition, distribution, and change.
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Social network analysis is a way of conceptualizing, describing, and modeling society as sets of people or groups linked to one another by specific relationships, whether these relationships are as tangible as exchange networks or as intangible as perceptions of each other.
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Social psychologists study how behaviors and beliefs are shaped by the social context in which people are embedded.
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Sociology of Education
The sociology of education is an important topic for understanding individuals’ outcomes with respect to things like occupation and labor market status
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Sociology of Family
Family research in the field of sociology addresses patterns of change and variation in family behaviors and household relationships by social class, race/ethnicity, and gender.
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