Simon Gottschalk joined the department in 1992 after earning a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.A. from the University of Houston, and a B.A. from the University of Haifa (Israel). Combining critical symbolic interaction theory and qualitative research methods, his interests revolve around understanding the society-psyche link in phenomena as varied as youth cultures, the mass media, mental disorders, terrorism, and interactions in virtual, urban, and natural spaces. His current research projects include the social psychology of computer-mediated communication, ecopsychology, mobility studies, and sensory social science. His articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Symbolic Interaction, Qualitative Sociology, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, the Journal of Consumer Culture, Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Space and Culture, Qualitative Inquiry, and others. He also has published book chapters in Inside Social Life: Readings in Social Psychology and Microsociology, Food for Thought, Social Science and Fiction, Drugs and Popular Culture, Pathology and the Postmodern. From 1996 through 2000, he directed the interdisciplinary cultural studies program at UNLV. He frequently is interviewed by local, regional, and national news outlets about a variety of social, psychological, and cultural topics. After serving as editor of the journal Symbolic Interaction, he was voted president of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction in 2011.
Recent Courses Taught
- CST 200 — Introduction to Cultural Studies
- SOC 403/603 — Techniques of Social Research
- SOC 464/664 — Advanced Social Psychology
- SOC 705 — Sociology of Mental Disorders
- SOC 769 — Ecology, Sociology, and Social Psychology
- SOC 771 — The Virtual Society
Current Research Projects
- Computer-Mediated Communication
Extending Goffman’s theory of encounters, he is examining the social psychology of computer-mediated communication, as well as locating its main risks and suggesting ways to avoid them.
- Using Unscripted Simulation to Improve Communication in Health Care Settings
Miscommunication is the main source of medical error. Relying on recent findings from social neurosciences, he uses unscripted simulations to help participants improve their communication patterns among health care practitioners and with patients.
- Sensory Social Sciences
In his recent co-authored articles and book, The Senses in Self, Society and Culture, he explores the sensory dimension of the self, culture, and everyday life.
- The Senses in Self, Society, and Culture