University of Mississippi

John Sonnett

Associate Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Leavell Hall 207
University, MS 38677-1848
Office: Leavell 207

I received my B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Virginia, and my M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Arizona. I have previously taught at Denison University. I joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in Fall 2006. My areas of specialization are Environmental Sociology, Culture/Knowledge, and Research Methods.

Much of my recent research has focused on how environmental issues are represented in the media. In this work, I have been particularly interested in developing a method for mapping patterns of language use across social fields. One recently published paper examines how global warming and/or climate change have been represented in a diverse mix of media—including scientific, environmentalist, industry, and popular publications. I am revising a second paper which examines changes in the framing of climate issues in recent years. I have also done research on newspaper reporting about drought and wildfires, and am designing a new research project on the intersections of power, knowledge, and water conflicts.

In my teaching I highlight the ways in which our knowledge about the social world is shaped by our social positions within contexts of political, economic, and cultural power. I hope to give students a better sense of how existing social and environmental patterns have come to be, and how they might be changed. For the Environmental Studies minor, I teach SOC 411 Environment, Technology and Society. Major topics in this course have included: the co-development of urban and rural areas, treadmills of production and consumption, the social construction of nature, advertising and corporate propaganda about the environment, and environmental justice movements.