Welcome to Berkeley Sociology

Berkeley’s Sociology Department is known around the world for its excellence in research and teaching. Our faculty advance cutting edge research and teach in most sociological specialities. Our PhDs are leaders in universities and research centers across the US and in many other countries. And our BAs populate the ranks of innumerable professions, bringing with them the skills and special perspective of Berkeley sociology. 

We are proud to make these contributions from the world’s leading public university. At Berkeley, we combine intellectual rigor with a commitment to public service through our research, teaching, and service on campus and beyond. 

For the past six decades, Berkeley’s Sociology Department has consistently been ranked among the world’s top sociology departments. Our graduate program is ranked #1 in the latest U.S. News and World Report, and our undergrad degree is currently the best in the US according to College Factual and features on Grad Reports’ Best College List 2020.

Faculty Spotlight
Marion Fourcade
Economic sociology, culture, political sociology, comparative methods, knowledge and science, digital society
Jennifer Johnson-Hanks
Professor and Executive Dean, College of Letters & Science
Culture and population, intentions, uncertainty, epistemology, history of population thought, sub-Saharan Africa, family, fertility, gender, life course
David J. Harding
poverty, inequality, causal inference, mixed methods, incarceration and prisoner reentry, education, neighborhood effects, urban communities, adolescence
In Memoriam
Albert Einstein (1941)
Albert Einstein (1941)

Prof. Einstein served graduate students as a model of prudence in remaining unfashionably true to the grand…

Faculty Publishing
This concise overview of the labor movement in the United States focuses on why American workers have failed to develop the powerful unions that exist in other industrialized countries. P...

Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement

This concise overview of the labor movement in the United States focuses on why American workers have failed to develop the powerful unions that exist in other industrialized countries. Packed with valuable analysis and information, Hard Work explores historical perspectives, examines social and political policies, and brings us inside today's unions, providing an excellent introduction to labor in America. Hard Work begins with a comparison of the very different conditions that prevail for labor in the United States and in Europe. What emerges is a p...
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Departmental Colloquium Series

Mathieu Desan “Realist and Historicist Modes of Critique in Critical Sociology”

Monday, April 24, 2023 - 2:00 pm - April 24, 2023 - 3:30 pm
Blumer Room - 402 Social Sciences Building

Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology is often described as a “critical sociology,” but there are two distinct modes of critique present in his work. At times he engages in what I call the realist mode of critique, which is premised on the idea that our naïve experience of the social world dissimulates real relations of domination, which critique then reveals. At other times, Bourdieu engages in what I call the historicist mode of critique, which denaturalizes the doxic experience of the social order by demonstrating its arbitrary character. Whereas realist critique claims the social world really is other than it appears, historicist critique suggests that it could be otherwise. Though these two modes of critique co-exist with some tension in Bourdieu’s work, I argue that this tension is not unique to Bourdieu, but rather something that has structured interpretive debates in other critical social scientific traditions, such as the Polanyian and Marxist literatures. This suggests a general ambiguity in what it means to do critical social science.