Professor of Public Policy
The University of North Carolina Charlotte
My research (see “Publications” tab above) and teaching centers on economic inequality, social movements, religion and the nation state. Substantively, one branch examines the social, political, and economic consequences of religious participation. A second branch focuses on the causes and consequences of economic inequality and social change. A third branch addresses symbolic discourse and meaning creation.
I am also a faculty member in the UNC Charlotte Public Policy PhD program and former co-editor of the Political Sociology Section of Sociology Compass. I currently teach and serve as the College of Liberal Arts (CLAS) Coordinator for UNC Charlotte’s Prospect for Success program for incoming students.
I served as the faculty advisor for the UNC Charlotte Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and routinely teach various study abroad programs: a 5-week study abroad program in Manchester, UK; a 10-day program in the Netherlands, and a 10-day collaborative program with Habitat for Humanity in El Salvador.
Additionally, I served as Diversity Coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2010-2013 and as Coordinator for the first-year student Global Village Learning Community from 2009-2014. I have also worked with the non-partisan Interactivity Foundation to facilitate citizen discussion groups.
I was formerly the Director of Graduate Studies for our M.A. Program in Sociology.
Click here for my c.v.
New THIRD EDITION now available! In accessible prose for North American undergraduate students, this short text provides a sociological understanding of the causes and consequences of growing middle class inequality, with an abundance of supporting, empirical data. The book also addresses what we, as individuals and as a society, can do to put middle class Americans on a sounder footing.
Based on income alone, nearly half of all adults in the United States can be considered “middle class,” complete with the reassurance of a steady job, the ability to raise a family, and the comforts of owning a home. And yet, for many, because of structural forces reshaping the finances of the American middle class, the margin between a stable life and a fragile one is narrowing.
The new edition of Middle-Class Meltdown in America: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies tells the story of the struggling American middle class by weaving together sociological and economical research, personalized portraits and examples, and a profusion of current data illustrating significant social, economic, and political trends. The authors extend their analysis to include the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on the effect of race and ethnicity, as well as the ever-increasing costs of housing, health care, and education.
In clear, accessible writing, the authors provide a sociological and balanced understanding of the causes and implications of increasing middle class precarity. Middle-Class Meltdown in America is particularly well-suited for courses in sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, and American Studies.
Podcast of my interview on Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins (WFAE 90.7) discussing Middle Class Meltdown, 2nd edition; original air date September 16, 2014.