Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Debies-Carl Headshot
Associate Professor

Sociology Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D., Sociology, Ohio State University
M.A., Sociology, Ohio State University
B.A., Sociology/Anthropology, Kent State University

About Jeffrey

My research applies the sociological imagination—the perspective that emphasizes the interrelationship of social forces and individual agency—to the physical environment. The places around us have tangible form, but they are also full of symbolic meanings. They are partly the product of social action, but they can also influence those actions. We create these environments based on our needs and desires but, once created, they can exert their own influence back upon us. My work examines how the physical environment influences feelings, thoughts, behaviors, social organization, and culture, as well as how these in turn shape the environment itself. To examine these processes, I use diverse approaches ranging from quantitative applications to ethnographic methods. Substantively, I have examined the role of the environment across a diverse range of specific topics. For example, these topics have included the effects of urban environments on personality, the use of localism in beer marketing campaigns, the role of space in maintaining subcultural practices, and the allure of legendary environments in motivating travel. My overarching goal is to improve our understanding of the significance of the spatial component of life and, in the process, invigorate sociology’s contributions to this interdisciplinary concern.

As an educator, it is my mission to cultivate and encourage the inherent drive to learn new things and apply these lessons to the world around us. I believe learning should not be a chore, that it should emphasize the relevance of lessons to our lives or other interests, and that whenever possible it should occur through experience. I teach a wide variety of courses, ranging from Introduction to Sociology and Social Psychology to Qualitative Methods and Simulations, to name a few examples. I am also an enthusiastic supporter of student research and am always pleased to advise, mentor, or otherwise encourage emerging researchers. Practice with research is important to cultivate the ability to produce and not simply consume knowledge. However, experience with the methods and logic of scholarly inquiry are beneficial for everyone, not just aspiring researchers. A strong familiarity with these tools empowers us all by allowing us to evaluate critically whatever claims we hear and to make informed decisions in our everyday lives.

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Published Books and Articles

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. In Press. "Beyond the Local: Place Attachment, Collective Identity, and the Rise of the Microbrewery." Journal of Cultural Geography.

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. 2017. "Pizzagate and Beyond: Using Social Research to Understand Conspiracy Legends." Skeptical Inquirer 41(6): 34-7. (cover story).

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. 2015. "Print is Dead: The Promise and Peril of Digital Media for Subcultural Resistance." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 44(6): 679-708.

Huggins, Christopher M. and Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl. 2015. "Tolerance in the City: The Multilevel Effects of Urban Environments on Permissive Attitudes." Journal of Urban Affairs 37(3): 255-69. (recipient of Honorable Mention Award for Best Article Published in the Journal of Urban Affairs in 2015).

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. 2014 (softcover 2016). Punk Rock and the Politics of Place: Building a Better Tomorrow. New York: Routledge.

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. 2013. "Are the Kids Alright? A Critique and Agenda for Taking Youth Subcultures Seriously." Social Science Information 51(1): 110 -33.

Buettner, Cynthia K. and Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl. 2012. "The Ties That Bind: Bonding vs. Bridging Social Capital and College Student Party Attendance." Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 73(4): 604-12.

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. 2011. "Mapping the Residual Landscape: Abandonment, Dilapidation, and Ruin." Environment, Space, Place 3(2): 51-81.

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. and Christopher M. Huggins. 2009. "‘City Air Makes Free’: A Multi-Level, Cross-National Analysis of Self-Efficacy." Social Psychology Quarterly 72(4): 343-64.

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