Stephen J. Pfohl
Social Theory, Deviance and Social Control, Digital Cultural Studies, Visual Sociology, Social Psychoanalysis, Critical Criminology, Global Technologies of Gender, Race, and Class
My scholarly passions have long been sparked by critical analyses of the ritual intersections between culture, history, and social power. Animated by an amalgam of interpretive, poststructuralist, feminist, social psychoanalytic, global economic, and critical race theories, this approach to the sociological imagination has led me to research a diverse, yet interrelated, set of topics. These include analyses of the “discovery” of child abuse; the social construction of psychiatric diagnoses of “dangerousness;” the historical specificity of theories and policy initiatives pertaining to crime, deviance and social control; the global emergence of ultramodern forms of power, resistance, and change; the relationship between public sociology and classroom pedagogy; and, more recently, affinities and tensions between the realms of magic, religion, and technology.
I am currently completing work on a multiple-volume study of the origins and systemic impact of new global technologies of cybernetic social power. Of particular importance to this investigation is the cultural, political, and economic power of suggestive communicative technologies that produce mesmerizing streams of fascination and fear. In recent years, I have also created and collaborated on variety of mixed-media sociological performances and video-texts, exploring the sensory contours, social-psychic constraints, and imaginative new pathways for social justice engendered by contemporary digital culture.
COURSES TYPICALLY TAUGHT
SC030 - Deviance and Social Control
SC532 - Images and Power
SC533 - Sociology and Psychoanalysis
SC583 - Postmodernity and Social Theory
SC716 - Contemporary Social Theory
PROFESSIONAL HONORS AND AWARDS
President, Society for the Study of Social Problems, 1992-93
Distinguished Teaching Award, Boston College, 2006
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching, Boston College, 2006
Post-doctoral Fellowship, Yale University, 1981-82
Corresponding Editor, CTheory: an International Journal of Theory, Technology, and Culture, 1989-present
"Digital Magic, Cybernetic Sorcery: On the Politics of Fascination and Fear," CTHEORY, CDS 001, Special Issue on “Code Drift: Essays in Critical Digital Studies,” (June 2010), WWW.Theory.net, pp. 1-19.
“The Reality of Social Constructions,” Chapter 33 in James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium, eds., Handbook of Constructionist Research, New York: The Guilford Press, 2008, pp. 645-668.
“Technologies of the Apocalypse: The Left Behind Novels and Flight from the Flesh,” in Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, eds, The Digital Culture Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008, pp. 346-367.“
‘We are all Cho Seung-Hui!’: American Social Psychosis and the Virginia Tech Killings,” in Ben Agger and Timothy W. Luke, eds., There is a Gunman on Campus: Tragedy and Terror at Virginia Tech. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2008, pp. 93-104.
“New Global Technologies of Power: Cybernetic Capitalism and Social Inequality,” Chapter 23 in Mary Romero and Eric Margolis, eds., The Blackwell Companion for Social Inequalities, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2005, pp. 246-592.
"Theses on the Cyberotics of History: Venus in Microsoft, remix," in Joan Broadhurst Dixon and Eric J. Cassidy, eds., Cyberotics: Virtual Futures, Technology and Post-Human Pragmatism, New York: Routledge, 1998, pp. 11-29.
Images of Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological History, 2nd Edition, reissued in paper back, Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2009.
Left Behind: Religion, Technology and Flight from the Flesh with Arthur Kroker, Born Again Ideology: Religion, Technology and Terrorism. Victoria, Canada: CTheory Books/ New World Perspectives, 2007.
Culture: History and Power: Studies in Critical Sociology. Co-edited with Aimee Van Wagenen, Patricia Arend, Abigail Brooks and Denise Leckenby. Chicago: Haymarket Press, 2009.