I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at Grinnell College where I teach Deviance and Youth Subcultures, Sociological Theory, Men and Masculinities, and introductory sociology courses. I love teaching and try to teach classes that create possibilities for students to live more engaged and fulfilling lives.
My research focuses on how everyday people engage in social change as participants in subcultures and loosely organized social movements. Since most people do not consider themselves “activists,” I am interested in how they create changes in their own lives that reflect their values and how they believe that these individual actions add up to social change. Along with my colleagues I developed the concept of “lifestyle movement” to explain ongoing, diffuse change efforts seeking cultural (rather than policy) change, enacted largely in daily life rather than the streets. Examples include voluntary simplicity, slow food, locovores, green lifestyles, and abstinence pledgers.
I write widely on deviant subcultures, especially punk, hardcore, and straight edge. These scenes profoundly impacted me as a young person and continue to inspire me today. Much of my work addresses the complicated masculinities that emerge in subcultures and music scenes, and recently I have begun studying how young subculturists transition to “adulthood” - work, family, and careers.