Simon Gottschalk, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

CHB-B 244


I 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, my 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. My current research projects include the social psychology of computer-mediated communication, hypermodern theory, and sensory social science. From 1996 to 2000, I directed the interdisciplinary Cultural Studies program at UNLV. After serving as editor of the journal Symbolic Interaction from 2004 to 2007, I was elected president of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction in 2011.

Recent Courses Taught

  • SOC 403/603 — Techniques of Social Research
  • SOC 464/664 — Advanced Social Psychology
  • SOC 458 – Sociology of Mental Health
  • SOC 705 — Qualitative Research Methods
  • SOC 769 — Ecology, Sociology, and Social Psychology
  • SOC 771 — The Virtual Society

Current Research Projects

  • Web 3.0 Research
    Web 3.0 — the third internet revolution — is characterized by the interpenetration between face-to-face and online interactions, and the personalization of online interactions. Using a critical symbolic interactionist approach, I research how these new forms of interaction transform us.
  • Sensory Social Sciences
    In recent co-authored articles and book, The Senses in Self, Society and Culture, I am developing scholarship on the sensory dimension of the self, culture, and everyday life in the digital era.
  • The Hypermodern Project
    As an associate of the Paris-based International Research Center on Hypermodern Individuals and Societies, I am collaborating with colleagues to develop the Hypermodern Project. Grounded in contemporary critical theory, this interdisciplinary community advances a new understanding of the present by analyzing trends such as: acceleration, surveillance, visibility, and excess; new forms of mental disorder, of consumption, of interaction, of inequality, and of subjectivity; and transformations in the economic, cultural, and political spheres.
    My articles have been published in 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. I have also 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.