What Our Members Say

David A Smith"Oddly enough, I was quite unaware of SSSP as a graduate student, despite the fact that I quickly adopted “Introduction to Social Problems” as my main “go to” teaching offering. In the PhD program at Chapel Hill, we were trained to be very oriented to the “big meeting” of the ASAs (and “network” with key “players” in the field): that was seen as the most efficacious way to move forward in one’s career as a young sociologist. It was only in the mid-1990s, shortly after I “survived” a rather harrowing tenure process at UC-Irvine, that I discovered SSSP. My immersion in world-system analysis and global inequality (and my political sensibilities) led me to various other forms of critical sociology, including other forms of Marxism, labor studies, gender and development work, and radical analysis of the growing worldwide environmental crisis. I also became very aware of Social Problems as an outstanding outlet for sociological work that was just as rigorous, but a bit more relevant, than that found in those other major journals. While I don’t remember exactly what prompted me to become a member, it is possible that Executive Officer Tom Hood personally recruited me: I’d known him as a North Carolina grad student and found him both genial and inspiring, a scholar who really believed in linking sociology with a vision of how to change the world. Soon I attended my first SSSP sessions – and, again, I was taken by the smaller, more informal (less pretentious?) atmosphere and drawn to the people, their values and their warmth. In 1998 the plot thickened: Rodolfo Alvarez at UCLA was the Chair of the Editorial & Publication Committee and starting a search for a new Editor of SP: I believe he wanted to bring the journal to a University of California campus, and looked south toward Irvine. I emerged as the candidate (partly because I was foolish enough at the time to not fully understand what I was getting myself into!) – and proudly served as Editor from 1999-2002. Now I am extremely honored to serve as President of this society that brings together fine scholars and dedicated activists (not to mention some wonderful scholar-activists!) and is committed to radical inclusivity, combating so many forms of inequality and discrimination, and addressing mounting societal and global crises. It is wonderful to be part of a organization whose members understand that the point is to both interpret the world, and to change it!"

David A. Smith, University of California, Irvine

Marlese Durr"I became a member of SSSP as an Assistant Professor in the late 90s and immediately cherished the nurturing, civic, and progressive space that the society offered me as a young professional. Fast forward fifteen years later, I continue to 'keep that same ole feeling' as I interact with scholars and practitioners focused on investigating the roots of social problems that remain a part of our society. I invite you to join the SSSP and become a part of our ever expanding society.”

Marlese Durr, Wright State University

Anna Maria Santiago

"My affiliation with SSSP began with a serendipitous invitation in 1988 to serve on the Editorial Board of Social Problems. Numerous invitations followed including the privilege of serving SSSP as President. What has continued to draw me over the years is SSSP’s commitment to supporting scholars, activists, practitioners and students who are interested in research, teaching or service aimed at building a more just society. In SSSP, I found support to engage in research that was rigorous as well as socially meaningful. I am proud to belong to an organization that has served as the primary professional vehicle expanding the study of social problems for more than 60 years. SSSP and its members have done this by affirming the relevance of applied research and praxis, by encouraging critical scholarship and debate on a constantly evolving array of social issues, and through the inclusion of diverse, interdisciplinary and international voices on these issues. SSSP offers numerous opportunities for scholar-activists to meet like-minded colleagues; to be encouraged in their pursuit of scholarship that makes a difference; to actively shape the scholarly discourse on social issues; to participate in the organization in a variety of roles; and to receive ongoing mentoring that supports professional development."

Anna Maria Santiago, Michigan State University
SSSP Sustaining Member


"In the early 1970s, I was a newly-minted Assistant Professor. Armed with a commitment to critical inquiry and social activism, I was carried by the winds of academic fortune to the very uncritical environment of North Carolina, where I found myself feeling intellectually alone. Then, a colleague, somewhat disdainfully, suggested I attend a meeting of the SSSP because it was for “your kind of sociologist.” Since I was, indeed, looking for “my kind,” I took him up on it. From the first SSSP annual meeting I attended, it was clear that I had found a welcoming and vibrant intellectual environment where I could learn, grow, and share a commitment to social justice with other like-minded scholars and activists. Since then, the SSSP has been my intellectual and organizational home - now for over forty years. During all that time the SSSP has never failed to provide me and all of its members with the uncommon opportunity to blend activism on behalf of social justice with the kinds of informed inquiry and scholarship essential to the effective pursuit of social change." 

Raymond J. Michalowski, Northern Arizona University

Shirley Jackson

"I belong to many professional associations but the one that I can always count on for engaging sessions, supportive colleagues, and challenging ideas is SSSP. Very early on in my involvement with SSSP I found an environment in which I can interact with scholars – novice and seasoned – who are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and social justice. You are always made to feel as though you are at home in SSSP."

Shirley A. Jackson, Portland State University

marj devault"I began attending SSSP meetings as a graduate student, and it has been one of my intellectual “homes” ever since. This is an organization with a venerable history of supporting sociology in pursuit of social justice; a first class journal, Social Problems; and one of the most prestigious book prizes in the discipline, the C. Wright Mills Award. In recent years, SSSP has been especially important for my work because of the lively network of scholarship that has developed in the Institutional Ethnography Division. The divisional structure makes it easy to find like-minded colleagues—and to get involved."

Marjorie DeVault, Syracuse University

Nowotny"As a graduate student conducting research on prisoners and prisons, I appreciate how the SSSP community combines rigorous scientific research and activism to create social justice scholarship. The SSSP is great community for early career scholars because there are numerous opportunities for mentorship and professionalization. Some of my best conference memories are from division meetings and socials! The SSSP has truly been a welcoming community of intellectual exchange and support."

Kathryn M. Nowotny, University of Colorado Boulder

Jim"As a life member of the SSSP, I've found it to be an unmatched intellectual and professional home. Young scholars and activists especially will find the SSSP to be a welcoming and nurturing environment--and a space for challenges on all fronts."

James A. Holstein, Marquette University
SSSP Sustaining Member

r.a. dello buono, 2012-2013 SSSP president

"As a graduate student in the ‘80s, I quickly developed a fond appreciation of the respectful and progressive space that the SSSP offers young professionals. Thirty years later, I remain deeply engaged in this truly unique association. As social scientists and practitioners, we focus on the structural roots of social problems to confront their underlying causes and the system which reproduces them. If you identify with the larger struggle for social justice, I invite you to join the SSSP to help us “occupy” the social sciences and transform social practice."

R.A. Dello Buono, Manhattan College
SSSP Sustaining Member

wendy simonds

"I first started coming to SSSP as a graduate student in the late 1980s; over time, it became my sociological home in many ways. I found the world of mainstream sociology pretty inhospitable and anomic. SSSP was far more welcoming, and easier to negotiate as a student, as a feminist, and as someone who spent the first eight years of my career in non-tenure track positions. Here were people who thought that sociologists should not only observe society or attempt to predict what would happen next, but who cared about working toward change. Here were people who could also critique the inequitable power dynamics within our own profession. Here were people who were friendly, supported each other, and had created a sense of community. Here were people, too, who knew how to have a good time! That’s what attracted me most of all, and what has kept me involved over the years."

Wendy Simonds, Georgia State University
SSSP Sustaining Member

trevino"For over six decades SSSP, its journal, Social Problems, and members have endeavored, each in their own way, to promote social justice and solve social problems. Motivated by care and compassion, SSSP members are actively involved in the application of sociological knowledge in neighborly service. There is no other community like it. Won’t you join us in our efforts to make this a more just world?"

A. Javier Treviño, Wheaton College

walda katz-fishman "As a graduate student and very junior faculty in the 1970s I found SSSP to be an open and inviting space for radical scholars and scholar activists searching for an intellectual home within sociology. I have been engaged in many ways over the decades. And today find myself drawn to SSSP for its ongoing invitation to push the boundaries of theory and praxis in a moment of deep and irreversible crisis of global capitalism and rising social struggle in the U.S. and globally. Here we can explore, model, and build the practice of transformative theory through teaching, scholarship, intellectual debate, and movement struggle among scholar activists in relation to grassroots movement actors."

Walda Katz-Fishman, Howard University

Lisa_East"As a graduate student, I benefit primarily from the professional resources and intellectual community provided through the SSSP. From established scholar activists, I receive mentorship and excellent examples of academics and practitioners engaged in research and community work for social justice. The SSSP also provides opportunities to build lasting relationships and networks with members from many different backgrounds, professional trajectories, and stages of professional development. This critical and diverse community is one that I know I can continue to grow in for years to come!​"

Elizabeth A. East, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

valarie jenness"For over a quarter of a century I have been pleased to be affiliated with the Society for the Study of Social Problems. In 1987 I gave my first professional talk at the annual meeting of the SSSP. In 2007 I gave my first presidential address at the annual meeting in SSSP.  My experiences in between--and after--have reminded me of why SSSP is a special professional organization: it takes students seriously, it embraces basic and action-oriented research, it provides an intellectually engaging place to share ongoing work, and it does all of this with an ongoing commitment to the pursuit of justice. For all these reasons, I look forward to the next quarter century with the SSSP!"

Valerie Jenness, University of California, Irvine
SSSP Sustaining Member

Elroi J. Windsor "SSSP connected me with numerous opportunities that aided my professional growth while I was a graduate student. During the annual meetings, I witness tremendous support for scholar-activism and benefit from the organization's ample networking opportunities. SSSP is a place where I can expect to find friendly colleagues eager to lend support and work for social justice."

Elroi J. Windsor, Salem College

Luis A. Fernandez

“My love and appreciation for SSSP started as a graduate student. Back in the early 1990s, I was testing the waters of academia, trying to understand how it worked and if I belonged. I was full of energy and armed with a desire to fight injustice. SSSP not only welcomed me, but also gave me a push forward. From the start, the organization awarded me a scholarship that helped me complete the dissertation, publish a book, and ultimately get my first job. I am deeply grateful for that push. Since then, SSSP members have continued their support. And now, as a more senior scholar, I am part of a broad network that supports emerging activist scholars. SSSP is an intellectual refuge, built over decades, to sustain activist scholars engaged in praxis.”

Luis A. Fernandez, Northern Arizona University

Suzanne Vaughn

"SSSP and Social Problems have always welcomed new and critical approaches to contemporary justice issues. As a graduate student I was drawn to SSSP by the seriousness with which members embraced alternative methodologies and conceptual frameworks.  For me, the SSSP meetings continue to be a forum for putting me in touch with an interdisciplinary, international group of scholars and community activists doing significant justice work."

Suzanne Vaughan, Arizona State University

Claire Renzetti "I consider myself fortunate to have been actively involved in SSSP for over 30 years. It is a dynamic, activist-oriented professional organization, in which I find myself consistently challenged by some of the most innovative and provocative thinkers in the discipline of sociology and related fields today. It is also, though, an organization of friends -- of people I look forward to seeing and catching up with every year at the annual meeting, people who value one another as individuals, who are committed to social justice personally and professionally, and who make me feel instantly 'at home.'"

Claire Renzetti, University of Kentucky
SSSP Sustaining Member

Héctor L. Delgado “What I love about the SSSP is that it is a community of scholars, activists, and practitioners who do what they do because of an interest, bordering on an obligation, to make this world a more just one. If that's you, you'll feel right at home in the SSSP.  That's who we are and that's why I'm serving as the society's Executive Officer."

Héctor L. Delgado, University of La Verne

Steven Barkan “For more than 50 years, SSSP has been committed to scholarship in the pursuit of social justice. Its annual meetings provide a warm, friendly venue for faculty, practitioners, and students from sociology and related disciplines.”

Steven E. Barkan, University of Maine

Nancy Naples "SSSP is one of the few professional academic organizations that captures the spirit of praxis: the importance of linking scholarship and activism. With a focus on cutting edge research on contemporary issues and public and political engagement, SSSP is the intellectual home to academics and practitioners committed to producing and disseminating scholarship for social justice in the 21st century."

Nancy A. Naples, University of Connecticut
SSSP Sustaining Member

Peter Conrad “The SSSP is a terrific progressive sociological organization, with a great journal and an always friendly and interactive annual meeting. It is a particularly good place for young scholars to present their work and get to know others in their field.”

Peter Conrad, Brandeis University

Joel Best “SSSP has been my principal intellectual home--and Social Problems has been my favorite journal--for more than fifty years.”

Joel Best, University of Delaware
SSSP Sustaining Member

rodney coates"SSSP has been one of the most dynamic, engaged, and progressive collective of scholars for over 50 years. Over much of my career, I have used its research, its theoretical orientations, and its concern for praxis and dynamic change to inform my pedagogy and my own research. I am pleased to be associated with such a fantastic group of scholars."

Rodney D. Coates, Miami University

jay borchert"I was introduced to SSSP, at our 2010 annual meeting in Atlanta, just weeks before I started graduate school in Ann Arbor. Here I was, new to everything, presenting an ethnographic documentary film I had made at a session on grassroots community development practice and social change. Was I anxious? Definitely. Was my presentation perfect? Certainly not! Yet, I received an abundance of support and good advice from my co-presenters and from many of those in attendance. Why? SSSP is community that believes in the possibility of all of us as activist scholars doing well. Since that time I have become even more convinced of SSSP's unique ability to support individuals who do work that is not only methodologically and theoretically rigorous but who keep a solid footing on the ground where social problems happen and are eventually solved. SSSP is a perfect starting point for graduate students and a great place for more senior, socially oriented colleagues to maintain a base in activist, social justice scholarship."

Jay Borchert, University of Michigan

Chris Wellin"I am a critical sociologist with interests in aging/life course, work and occupations, and qualitative methods. My involvement in SSSP in recent years has given me an opportunity to help shape the annual program, as a division chair. The Society has also provided me a renewed sense of community and shared commitment--with people in other disciplines, as well as roles in direct service and advocacy--that is extremely hard to find in other professional associations. Both the scale and the ethos of SSSP have greatly enhanced my career and my ties with essential colleagues."

Chris Wellin, Illinois State University

Betsy Ettorre“In my years of membership in SSSP, I have consistently found it to be an open, friendly, scholarly community of colleagues committed to social justice. I particularly enjoy meeting young scholars who are always welcome in divisions, on committees and at the annual conference. A real plus is Social Problems, the SSSP’s flagship journal, which makes an outstanding contribution to contemporary sociology.”

Betsy Ettorre, University of Liverpool