Carmel Price

ACS Postdoctoral Fellow

B.A. Elementary Education and Psychology: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MSW Social Work:
Tulane University

 Ph.D. Sociology
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Bio     |     Courses     |     Research     |    Vitae

My path to a career in academics evolved organically; it has been an unconventional path that has shaped me as a scholar and a teacher. In May 2000, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Elementary Education and Psychology. With my K-6 teaching license in hand, I worked as a third-grade teacher in rural North Carolina before joining AmeriCorps and the National AIDS Fund for two years of service, respectively. After AmeriCorps, I moved to New Orleans where I studied at Tulane University School of Social Work, graduating with a MSW in December 2003. I then worked as a licensed social worker for two years, primarily in the area of gender-based violence, before beginning my PhD at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I graduate from Tennessee with a PhD in Sociology in August 2011. My unique background strongly influences me as an academic. My pedagogical training at UNC has helped me excel in the classroom and my social work experiences have helped me create meaningful research projects.

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SOC 101 – Introduction to Sociology

SOC 222 – Population and Environment

SOC 251 – Social Movements and Collective Behavior

SUS (Sustainability Science) 241 – Social Systems 

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My first program of research relates to my dissertation project and focuses on understanding gender differences in environmental perceptions. As a group, women tend to express more concern for the environment than men do. Previous researchers’ assertions about the causes of gender differences in environmental concern either focus on ideas about men and women having intrinsically different levels of compassion or men and women occupying different social roles in society (i.e. men as laborers and women as moms; see Davidson and Freudenburg, 1996). I argue that these theories are outdated and oversimplified. I provide a more nuanced theoretical understanding of the complex identities that shape environmental values and how these values change over the life course. I examine statistical interactions, a technique not widely used by scholars working in the area of environmental values research. I find that gender in conjunction with other socio-demographic characteristics has the potential to produce different effects on levels of environmental concern than when gender is considered alone.


More specifically, for decades now researchers have been explaining the difference between men’s and women’s environmental attitudes by theorizing about the effects of motherhood on environmental values. The idea is that women are concerned about the quality of their local environment because it affects the health and safety of their children and their families. However, I find no empirical evidence to support this theory. Using data from the General Social Survey in 2000 and 2010, I do not find any differences in multiple measures of environmental concern between men with children and women with children or between women with children and women without children. I find a complete lack of support for the relevance of children as a mechanism for explaining gender differences in environmental concern. I do however, find differences between men’s and women’s overall concern for the environment, with women being slightly more concerned about environmental problems than men, as expected. The question then follows: why do we concentrate on motherhood as an explanatory factor despite that fact that the relationship between motherhood and environmental concern has not been empirically established? In addition, the majority of research is trying to explain women’s high levels of environmental concern, as opposed to focusing on why men express less concern for the environment than women do. As a result, I am increasingly focusing my research on masculine identities.


Toward that end, I have a working manuscript titled Are Tomatoes Feminine? The Gendered Nature of Food and Implications for Ecological Public Health.”  This piece, co-authored with an undergraduate student, examines gendered perceptions of food. Essentially, we find that food is gendered in ways that may affect men’s willingness to eat foods (or not eat foods) recommended to improve our personal health and the health of our environment. As food movements are calling for communities to engage in more sustainable eating habits, we cannot ignore the role of masculinity in resisting these social movements. This paper is part of a larger group of research projects that I am working on involving food systems, and represents my second, closely related, program of research. My long-term research goal is to explore the gendered occupation of farming. I am interested in how gender and family norms in agriculture are changing with an increase in organic, small, and local farms and how these changes might affect our health and the health of our environment. I plan to interview local farmers and their families to parse out the relationship between gender and farming. I currently have access to several South Carolina farmers through my membership in Furman’s Food Research Consortium.

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