David E. Redburn


B.A., North Carolina State University
Ph.D., University of Utah

Demography, Environmental Sociology, Research Methods and Stratification


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Soc 222 - Population and Environment

Soc 475 - Environmental Sociology

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My current research centers on the issue of the academic origins and destinations of sociology professors.  More specifically I am interested in the question of whether going to a liberal arts college as an undergrad influences one's choice concerning which type of institution one wants to teach at.  That is, do those who attend liberal arts colleges have a greater propensity to want to return to that environment as a professor or do graduate programs "socialize" you to prefer larger research oriented schools?

Some of my other current research is on the concept of “Social Capital”.The concept has its origins in the work of Durkheim and his emphasis on group life as an antidote to anomie and self-destruction and in Marx’s distinction between an atomized “class-in-itself” and a mobilized and effective“class-for-itself”.  Interest in the concept of social capital has, in recent years, exploded with articles in both the popular and academic press.  Perhaps the most influential of these works is that of Robert Putnam whose 2000 Bowling Alone is probably the most cited of the recent works on the topic.          

Many argue that there are two major types of social capital.The first is “bonding” social capital and refers to relations among family members, close friends and neighbors, whereas the second is the “bridging” type and refers to connections to more distant friends, associates and colleagues.

One of my principle interests lies in the relationship between“neighborhood characteristics”, more specifically what are referred to as “New Urbanism” characteristics, and social capital.  That is, do communities that exhibit these characteristics have higher levels of social capital?  As part of this interest in new urbanism and social capital I am collaborating with an economist colleague and we are exploring the issue of trust as a measure of social capital and whether housing prices are related to levels of social capital.

Another of my current research interests concerns cruising sailors. My spouse and I have cruised our sailboat in the summers for many years and over those years we have met many couples who live aboard and cruise their boats either full or part-time.  Now as we know, sociologists have over the years have looked at both extraordinary and not so extraordinary groups but no one has looked systematically at this group.  I am currently involved in a project to do so.

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