Social Inequalities

Person holding cardboard sign asking for help due to homelessness.

UB sociologists and students explore the causes and consequences of social inequalities. Through the examination of cultural ideologies and practices (such as gendered parenting and bodywork practices), gendered, raced, and classed social institutions (including law, medicine, science, the labor market, and the military), and the unequal distribution of social advantages and disadvantages (such as pollution, crime, and affordable housing), scholars in this field untangle the complex web of intersectional inequality that characterizes contemporary social life.

Sub-fields

Race and Social Exclusion

Race is a central axis of social inequality. It is a social construction, yet it is also a basic instrument for the unequal distribution of advantage and disadvantage: resources and penalties, opportunities and roadblocks. Faculty in this area examine the causes and consequences of racial inequality through analysis of, for example, the governance of social space, exposure to toxins, and military service.

Faculty

Class and Socioeconomic Stratification

Socioeconomic class is an instrument of division as well as one of unification. It is a taught and performed identity, as well as a fundamental means by which resources are allocated. Faculty in this area examine how socioeconomic inequality shapes—and is shaped by—social dynamics such as urban development, academic achievement, employment, and economic change.

Faculty

Gender and Sexuality

Gender and sexuality are embedded in culture, policy, organizations, and institutions, as well as taught, performed, and resisted in everyday life. They are cultural straightjackets, but they are also sources of personal creativity, expression, and opposition. At the social level, however, they are mechanisms of inequality and discrimination. Faculty in this area examine how gender and sexuality shape—and are shaped by—social dynamics and institutions, including work, education, health, and well-being.

Faculty

Immigration and Citizenship

Citizenship is a central mechanism of exclusion and inclusion. Who is allowed—and who is denied—access to the full rights (and obligations) of citizenship has expansive implications for individuals’ work, well-being, and families, as well as for society writ large. Faculty in this area examine multiple intersections between immigration and inequality, including residential segregation, homeownership, health, and environment.

Faculty

Bodies, Ability and Disability

Bodies are not just vessels that we inhabit. They are vehicles of power, repression, and social control. Bodies thus shape not only how we see ourselves and how we interact with others, but also the opportunities and lived experiences we have. Faculty in this area examine the embodied experience and consequence of inequalities related to the body, including those associated with attractiveness, size, chronic pain, and aging.

Faculty

Faculty

Robert Adelman.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8478

adelman4@buffalo.edu

Department Chair
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Racial and Economic Residential Segregation; Immigration; Internal Migration; Occupational, Industrial and Earnings Inequality

Jorge Arditi.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2417

arditi@buffalo.edu

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Classical and Contemporary

Jordan Fox Besek.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2417

jfbesek@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Environmental Sociology; Historical Sociology; Social Theory; Philosophy, History, and Sociology of Science; Law and Society; Animal Studies

Christopher Dennison.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8473

crdennis@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Life Course Criminology; Social Mobility; Social Responses to Crime; Social Stratification; Quantitative Methods

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk.

430 Park Hall

Phone: 716) 645-8480

hgrol@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Medical Sociology; Demography; Chronic Pain; Criminal Justice; Research Methods

Erin Hatton.

404 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8476

eehatton@buffalo.edu

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Work and Labor Markets; Labor and Labor Movements: Law and Social Policy; Race, Gender, Class and Inequality

Lee faculty photo.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8469

kslee4@buffalo.edu

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Gender and the Life Course; Sociology of the Family; Aging; Education; Happiness; Japan

Christopher Mele.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2417

cmele@buffalo.edu

Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Urban Sociology; Sociology of Race and Ethnicity; Urban Governance; Community Studies

Brenda L. Moore.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8470

socbrend@buffalo.edu

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Race and Ethnic Relations; Military Sociology; Social Stratification

Gregory Sharp.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8479

gsharp@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Urban and Community Sociology; Social Stratification; Population Health; Quantitative Methods

Kevin T. Smiley.

407 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2417

ktsmiley@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Environmental Sociology; Urban Sociology; Race and Ethnicity; Community

Debra Street.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8475

dastreet@buffalo.edu

Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Health and Income Security; Long-term Care; Families, Aging and the Life Course; Comparative Public Policies/Welfare State; Mixed-methods Research Design

Jessica Houston Su.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8471

jhsu2@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Family; Children and Youth; Population; Inequality

Mary Nell Trautner.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8477

trautner@buffalo.edu

Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Sociology of Law; Gender, Sexuality, and the Body; Work and Organizations