Contact Information

321C Garland Hall

Research Interests

  • Science and Technology
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Political Sociology
  • Social Movements


PhD, Cornell University, 1987

Curriculum Vitae

David J. Hess

Professor of Sociology
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sociology
Associate Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment
Director, Program on Environmental and Sustainability Studies

What is the role of social movements, industry, scientific research, and political parties in the pace at which governments support the transition to more sustainable technologies?

The world today is often described as a “knowledge or technological society.” Yet I view attention to issues of knowledge, technology, and the politics of industrial development not merely as specialty areas, but as crucial sites for understanding the contemporary world. My current work focuses on social movements as mobilized publics and on the changes in the relations between science and other social fields during the period of global neoliberalization. In this area I am known especially for work on scientific counterpublics and undone science.

My second main area of current research is on the politics of industrial transitions, especially factors that lead to a more sustainable economy and society and factors that lead to stasis in transition policies. In this area of work I am interested especially in the role of countervailing industrial power, including the role of the small business sector and the financial industry. This body of work includes studies of industrial opposition movements and alternative industrial movements.