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
Kim Voss
Labor, social movements, inequality, higher education, political sociology, historical sociology
Ann Swidler
Professor of the Graduate School
Culture, religion, theory, institutionalization, African responses to HIV/AIDS; social ecologies of religion in Africa; chieftaincy, congregational religion and capacities for collective action
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
With the rise of the service sector, more middle class Americans are living their personal lives on a “market frontier.” More people hire—and take up jobs as—nannies, childcare center wor...

The Outsourced Self

With the rise of the service sector, more middle class Americans are living their personal lives on a “market frontier.” More people hire—and take up jobs as—nannies, childcare center workers, eldercare workers, eldercare managers, pet care workers, on-line dating services, life coaches, wedding planners, party animators, funeral service providers and even “rent-a-friends.” Through an on-line service called TaskRabbit, one woman hired a person to cheer for her at a marathon. What constellation of trends underlie this shift, the book asks, and what con...
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Departmental Colloquium Series

Cameron Campbell "Social Origins of Educational and Bureaucratic Elites in 19th Century China: Findings from Historical Big Data"

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

The assumption that in China before the 20th century the examination system made it possible for men to qualify for appointment as an official based on their talent and without regard to their family background underpins claims that the imperial bureaucracy was meritocratic. However, decades of empirical investigations of the family backgrounds of examination degree holders have yielded conflicting results about the possibilities for upward mobility into educational and bureaucratic elites via the exams. I advance the debate on the role of family background by shifting the focus from exam degree attainment to appointment and promotion as an official. By analysis of examination records and career histories, I show that between 1830 and 1911, men whose patrilineal ancestors held degrees or who had been officials w