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School of Environment and Natural Resources

Border of USA and Mexico
Rural and Environmental Sociology

Rural and Environmental Sociology

Rural and environmental sociologists engage in applied, multidisciplinary research and develop sociological theory and knowledge relevant to public policy and local development related to communities, the environment, natural resources, food, energy, and agriculture, both domestically and internationally. Our research, extension, and teaching focuses on social and economic well-being of people and places.   

  • Our research foundation and knowledge base are sociological. 
  • We examine how social inequalities (social groups such as race/ethnicity, class, and gender) relate to the environment and natural resources. 
  • We explore how and why social processes vary across geographic space and the consequences of these spatial patterns. 
  • We explore the complex relationships between communities and the environment.  
  • We ask questions about how rural and urban spaces influence perspectives, families, communities, and policy.   
  • We work at the global, national, regional, and local levels.  
  • By practicing community-engaged and service learning, we work with communities, non-profits, and decision-makers, to create a positive impact in the world. 
  • We bring sociological perspectives to interdisciplinary teams within SENR and across the university.  
  • As engaged faculty we work with students and communities on real-world issues to create equitable and sustainable development. 
  • We explore the social impacts of technological, economic, and political change. 

The rural & environmental sociology faculty are a part of a larger cluster of social science faculty in the School and maintains ties to Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). 

Active Graduate Advisors:

Kerry Ard
Douglas Jackson-Smith
Shoshanah Inwood
Jeffrey Jacquet
Kristi Lekies
Kenneth Martin
Sayeed Mehmood
Jeff Sharp
Eric Toman

Recent Theses and Dissertations (available on OhioLink*)

K. Ana MS People's Participation in Decision Making in Mining in Peru: Exploitation or Opportunity?

D. Apudia-Sjogreen


"We used to...": The Decline of Social Capital on Providencia Island, Colombia

G. Apaliyah


An Analysis of the Effects of Program Structure and Content on Outcomes of Community Leadership Education Programs

M. Barnett MS A Multilevel Analysis of Social, Built, and Natural Drivers of Household Water Use in Northern Utah

E. Caricofe


Handcrafting The Change They Want To Eat In The World? An Inquiry Into The Who, What, and Why of Artisanal Food Production in Central Ohio

D. Deemer**


Spatial Inequalities in Fiscal Distribution of the US Welfare State
L. DiGiulio MS Food Policy Councils: Does Organization Type Matter
N. Garcia PhD Disability and disadvantage in Ohio: A cross-county comparison of livelihood barriers among wheelchair users
D. Gupta PhD Explaining Enforcement Mechanisms in Collaborative Natural Resource Governance: A Study of Cases of Van Panchayats from Central Himalayan Region, India

J. Glastra


Inequality in Farmworker Wages: Race, Space, and Legal Status

L. Harrington


PROGRESA/Oportunidades Mexico's Conditional Cash Transfer Program: Promises, Predictions and Realties

S. Haught MS An Examination of Contemporary Initiatives to Facilitate Sustainable Agriculture Experiences

T. Henshaw**


Agricultural Social Infrastructure: People, Policy, and Community Development

M. John


The Impact of Race, Class, and Gender on the Assimilation Patterns of Second-Generation Caribbean Immigrants in the United States

A. Kim


People's participation in decision making in mining in Peru: Exploitation or opportunity?

K. Paige MS Rurality, Region, and Republican Voting

E. Parisian


Health Care Reform and Rural Hospitals: Opportunities and Challenges under the Affordable Care Act

M. Porter MS Farm Household Motivations and Diversification Strategies of Organic Farmers at the Rural Urban Interface

T. Sherry


The Life Satisfaction of Voluntary Simplifiers: Is Low Materialism a Path to Happiness

H. Scott


Interst groups and contemporary agricultural policy: an examination of niche theory

A. Stough-Hunter


Examining the Role of Community and Gender on Perceptions of Impaired Water Quality: A Comparative Case Study

A. Thatcher


Using Gender and Location to Examine the Effects of Geographic and Social Proximity in Determining Attitudes and Behavior about Animal Welfare

S. Walton MS “The Real Issue Is…”: A Case Study of Anti-Muslim Mobilization in a Rural Great Plains Community

*OhioLink articles available to Ohio State students, faculty, and staff
**Student advised by SENR faculty in other Ohio State graduate programs