The Culture, Power, and Inequality (CPI) workshop is intended to serve as a forum for engaging with work of diverse research methods and subject areas within sociology. Almost all sociological work falls into the framework of culture, power, and inequality. The working group is especially useful for providing a space to both receive helpful feedback for your work and to learn about the current research projects of graduate students and faculty.

The CPI working group provides an opportunity to circulate and discuss current works in progress from graduate students and faculty. The workshop is open to any faculty and graduate students. 

The following are select titles and research topics from past CPI workshop meetings:

  • “A Professional ‘Back Place’
  • " Theft Practices in the Restaurant”
  • “Barbados and Intimate Partner Abuse,” “Monogamy Lite: College, Women, and Cheating,” the articulation of masculinity among undocumented migrant laborers, sexual health/education experiences of black college women.

Please see the department calendar for current CPI scheduled workshop dates. If you would like to know more about CPI, please contact faculty coordinators Mathieu Desan and Rachel Rinaldo, or the graduate student coordinator, Carrie Bagli.

The Political Economy Group Workshop (PEGW) is comprised of faculty and graduate students working in the area of political economy, which we define broadly as theory and research on the sources and consequences of economic and political power, in multiple forms and at multiple levels of analysis, for individuals, social structures, and social processes. Our group includes participants with a range of interests, including environmental sociology, comparative-historical sociology, the sociology of agriculture, organizational theory, and feminist theory. The group meets on Friday afternoons three or four time each semester in Ketchum 33. These meetings provide an opportunity for in-depth analysis and discussion of a pre-circulated piece of faculty or graduate student work, including grant proposals, dissertation prospectuses, journal articles, and book manuscripts. Periodically the group hosts visitors from outside the department. Anyone interested in learning more about this workshop is encouraged to contact one of the faculty organizers, Jennifer Bair and Liam Downey.

Papers and proposals presented at past PEGW workshops include the following:

  • Global Indigenous Politics
  • Localized Discourses of Sustainability: Rio+20, the World Cup, and the Olympic Games
  • Defending the Arsenal: The U.S and the Global Effort to Ban Cluster Munitions
  • Citizens and Soldiers at War: Military Manpower Systems, War and Peace
  • Antecedents of Organizational Disaster Preparedness: A Resource Dependency View
  • Prostitution Discourses in Transnational Labor Sites
  • Like Water for Milk: The Environmental, Social, and Economic Impacts of Land and Water Reforms in Northern Mexico
  • Governance Within Embeddedness: WalMart’s Local-Food Supply Chain
  • Institutionalizing Risk Governance in Emergency Management: Chin and the U.S.

Jennifer Bair's Political Economy Research Interests
Jennifer Bair's CV
Jennifer Bair’s research interests lie at the intersection of political economy, economic sociology, and development studies, with a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. For over a decade she has been conducting research on the implications of global commodity chains for economic and social development in the global South. She is currently working on a number of research projects, including the relationship between agrarian restructuring and the maquiladora industry in Mexico; the evolution of the anti-sweatshop movement in comparative perspective and the development of labor compliance initiatives in the global apparel industry; and the extent to which the organization and governance of production networks in global industries can explain the changing geographical distribution of environmental harm. She is the past chair of the American Sociological Association’s Political Economy of the World-System section. She is the editor ofFrontiers of Commodity Chains Research (Stanford University Press, 2009) and the co-editor of Trade and Uneven Development: The North American Apparel Industry after NAFTA (Temple University Press, 2002). Her work has appeared in the journals World Development, Global Networks, Economy and Society, Globalizations, and Environment and Planning A, and Signs.
Liam Downey’s Political Economy Research Interests
Liam's primary sociological interests lie at the intersection of race and class stratification, environmental sociology, demography, and political economy, which provide a coherent framework for his research into environmental inequality, residential mobility, residential segregation, the mental and physical health impacts of living near industrial activity, and the structural determinants of environmental degradation. Although his interests in political economy and the structural determinants of environmental degradation are very broad, his political economy and structural determinants research focuses more narrowly on the relationship between Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment (IDE). IDE is a theoretical model Liam has developed that holds that local, regional and global environmental crises are largely the product of organizational, institutional, and network-based inequality, which provides economic, political, and military elites with the power to shift environmental and non-environmental costs onto others through the development of organizational networks and undemocratic institutions that allow them to achieve their goals in the face of resistance from others. In highlighting undemocratic institutions and elite-controlled organizational networks as mechanisms that play a critical role in shaping environmental outcomes, Liam's IDE theory and research address an important gap in the environmental sociology literature, which does not treat these types of institutions and organizations as theoretically distinct and important conceptual categories. As a colleague and Liam demonstrate in a recently published article (Organization & Environment 2010), this is a serious oversight that undermines environmental sociologists’ understanding of the social-structural roots of environmental degradation.

Downey, Liam and Susan Strife. 2010. “Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment.” Organization & Environment 23(2): 155-188.

Also see:
Downey, Liam, Eric Bonds, and Katherine Clark. 2010. “Natural Resource Extraction, Armed Violence, and Environmental Degradation.” Organization & Environment 23(4): 417-445.

Graduate students, post docs and faculty working in population studies, health, and related areas such as environmental sociology meet biweekly during the academic year. The workshop is open to anyone in Sociology or related departments, and graduate students from the first year through the end of their degree are welcome. We arrange a meeting time each semester that fits with workshop members' schedules. Workshop meetings are spent on an in-depth discussion of one or two workshop members' pre-circulated work in progress. Research can be presented at the idea, conference presentation, rough draft, or polished stages. Work that has been discussed in the past includes dissertation proposals and chapters, journal article drafts and revisions, grant proposals, and conference presentations and posters. Workshop members sign up for presentation slots at the beginning of the semester. The workshop occasionally brings in guest panelists on professional socialization topics requested by participants, such as reviewing journal articles or careers outside academia for PhD's. The workshop is organized by Professor Ryan Masters. Research topics presented at past workshop meetings include:

  • Social disparities in organ donation
  • School norms about teen sex, contraception, and pregnancy
  • Social drivers of city- and county-level greenhouse gas emissions
  • Sexual health education needs of women students of color at CU
  • Experiences of family members of people with unipolar and bipolar depression
  • Patient identities among medical marijuana users
  • Interactions among institutions providing mental health care in Colorado

Interested in this workshop? Contact the faculty coordinator Ryan Masters .