Justin Van Ness

Justin is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Notre Dame. His areas of specialization include Cultural Sociology, Social Movements and Collective Behavior, Microsociology, Sociological Theory, Qualitative Methods, Social Control/Deviance, and the Sociology of Religion. Broadly defined, Justin’s research focuses on (1) cognitive and emotional processes in judgment and decision-making, (2) persuasion, creativity, and situated information-transmission, and (3) sociocultural stasis and change. To view his CV, click here.

Justin’s research has appeared in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Sociological Theory, Thesis Eleven, Journal of Classical Sociology, Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, and the Handbook of Contemporary Sociological Theory.

Currently, his research reveals the micro and cultural processes influencing the production and reception of campaigns for social equality and cultural inclusion. One project from this research agenda focuses on how surprising situations create opportunities for novel information-transmission. He draws on in-depth ethnography with an activist religious movement to analyze the composition of situations to reveal how the situation structures cognition and emotion and to explain when situations enable or constrain change. In another project, he focuses on situations where sympathetic audiences create unintended meaningsĀ  in situ, often creating unintended interpretive and interactional outcomes. By focusing on the social and material composition of situations, he explains how objects can hold multiple cultural meanings which can problematize communication and meaning-making.

Justin has instructed Introduction to Social Psychology, conducted and supervised research for the Fourth Wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion, and assisted teaching with guest lectures for Social Problems and Social Psychology. He has given numerous presentations related to his ongoing dissertation research and is an active affiliate of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Social Movements, Center for the Study of Religion and Society, and the Sociology Department’s Culture Workshop. He serves as an occasional reviewer for the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Mobilization: An International Journal, The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, Sociology of Religion, Current Sociology, and others. Justin is also a contributing editor at Mobilizing Ideas.

cssm

The University of Notre Dame is home to the Center for the Study of Social Movements. This research center is home to a vibrant international and interdisciplinary epicenter for research related to collective action, group dynamics, social movements, and social, political, and cultural change.

culture workshop

The Culture Workshop at the University of Notre Dame is an interdisciplinary community hosted by the Department of Sociology. This community provides faculty and graduate students a platform to exchange ideas and develop research projects, dissertation chapters, articles, conference papers, grant proposals, and job talks. Research tends to focus on meaning and interpretation, cultural practice, ideology, cultural objects, discourse, creativity, framing, production or reception of culture, morality, categorization, narrative, visual culture, schema and cognition, materiality, tastes, media, and much more.

csrswhite2

The Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame is an interdisciplinary research community dedicated to advancing social scientific understanding of religion through empirical research, scholarly publications, and intellectual interchange.

Education

  • Ph.D. Expected 2018

    Ph.D. in Sociology

    University of Notre Dame

  • M.A. 2015

    M.A. in Sociology

    University of Notre Dame

  • B.S. 2012

    B.S. in Sociology

    University of California, Riverside

  • B.A. 2012

    B.A. in Psychology

    University of California, Riverside

Positions

  • Fall2016

    Instructor, Intro to Social Psychology

    University of Notre Dame, Sociology

  • Present2013

    Graduate Research Assistant

    University of Notre Dame, Dr. Erika Summers-Effler

  • Fall2015

    Teaching Assistant, Guest Lecturer

    University of Notre Dame, Social Psychology

  • Fall2014

    Teaching Assistant, Guest Lecturer

    University of Notre Dame, Social Problems

  • 20132012

    Research Project Manager

    National Study of Youth and Religion, Fourth Wave

  • 20122010

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    University of California at Riverside, Sociology, Dr. Seth Abrutyn

  • 20112010

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    University of California at Riverside, Psychology, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky

  • 20112010

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    University of California at Riverside, Psychology, Dr. David Funder

Awards and Service

  • 2017
    The Jeanine Becker Award for Best Graduate Student Paper
  • 2017
    Center for the Study of Religion and Society Research Grant
  • 2016
    Center for the Study of Social Movements Research Grant
  • 2016
    Convener, Cultural Dimensions of Gender, Work, and Love, American Sociological Association
  • 2015
    Convener, New Religious Movements, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
  • 2014
    Convener, Individuals, Family and Groups in Urban Life, Chicago Ethnography Conference
  • 2013
    Convener, Social Movements and Religion Session, Society for Scientific Study of Religion Conference
  • 2013
    Center for the Study of Social Movements Research Grant
  • 2013
    Gradudate Student Union Conference Grant