Research Centers

The Sociology Department supports two research centers dedicated to scholarship in the areas of  Cultural Sociology and Social Theory, and Social Stratification and Life Course Research.


Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS)

The Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS) provides a focus for meaning-centered analysis in the social science tradition, with openings to normative themes such as democracy, justice, tolerance and civility. Drawing on classical and contemporary social and cultural theory, CCS students and researchers develop concepts and methods that illuminate the cultural texture of social life at both individual and collective levels. They apply these to understanding the full range of activities and processes from local to global levels. Because culture is always closely intertwined with the patterning of social organization, the CCS is centrally concerned with institutional life and the intersection of culture with social structure. The Center’s own institutional life is carried on through the ongoing Workshop, seminars and courses offered by CCS faculty and students, guest lectures from distinguished visiting scholars, and an annual conference. Through activities such as these, CCS also provides a meeting point for the humanities and social sciences, both at Yale and beyond.

Center for Empirical Research on Stratification and Inequality  (CERSI)

The mission of the center is to support empirical research on the causes and consequences of social inequalities. Our research adopts both an inter-generational perspective, in its concern with how advantage and disadvantage is transmitted between generations, and an intra-generational perspective, focusing on the life course and human development. Much of our work is comparative in nature, across time (comparing the experiences of different birth cohorts, for example) and space (cross-national comparative research), allowing us to explore the impact of different institutional environments on the processes that generate social inequalities.

The members of CERSI – faculty, postdocs and graduate students – are engaged in a variety of research falling within this broad area. Current projects include work on the causes and consequences of the prison boom in the U.S.; the relationship between assortative mating and income inequality; racial inequality in family formation among the highly educated in the U.S.; school context and educational attainment; social change in the transition to adulthood (East and West Germany); the relationship between education and health; and mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment. A full list can be found here: CERSI Research Projects.

CERSI runs a weekly workshop, CERSI Inequality and Life Course Workshop, at which faculty, postdocs, students and visitors present their work. Faculty affiliated with CERSI provide research training in the Department’s graduate program and CERSI organizes occasional weekend methods workshops. We are interested in, and employ, a range of quantitative methods in our work. These include models for causal inference with observational data, simulation, agent-based modeling, and social network analysis.