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Research Organizations

sociology department

Research in the Boston College Sociology Department covers a broad range of specializations, reflected on our faculty profiles and faculty clusters pages. Faculty members as well as students and alumni are also affiliated with research organizations, notably those listed below.


Center on Wealth and Philanthropy
formerly Social Welfare Research Institute

Directed by Paul Schervish, The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy (CWP) is a multidisciplinary research center specializing in the study of spirituality, wealth, philanthropy, and other aspects of cultural life in an age of affluence. Founded in 1970, CWP is a recognized authority on the relation between economic wherewithal and philanthropy, the motivations for charitable involvement, and the underlying meaning and practice of care.


Media Research and Action Project (MRAP)

Directed by William Gamson and Charlotte Ryan, MRAP's mission is to strengthen communication for social change. MRAP undertakes a network or related activities designed to help grassroots and social change organizations with their media and public education strategies, further the practice of public (or civic) jounalism, and further our understanding of the interaction between the mass media system and social movements in the U.S. and other countries. The central coordinating mechanism of MRAP is an ongoing, weekly, non-credit seminar in which Boston College graduate students in Sociology are welcome to participate. MRAP works with under-represented and misrepresented communities to identify and challenge barriers to democratic communication, to develop proactive messages and strategies, and to build ongoing communication capacity.


Center for Retirement Research

The focus of the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) is on the analysis of large quantitative datasets, but some of the research is also qualitative. Although research is mainly in the economic realm, there is a very real desire for this center to be interdisciplinary. Thus an effort will be made to support graduate students in social work, sociology, psychology, and political science as well as economics and finance. The center's director is Alicia Munnell of the Carroll School of Management, and John Williamson of the Sociology Department is a member of the center's research team.