Bert Useem

Office Information

  • Specialization

  • law and society; social movements and political sociology

  • Bert Useem is Head of the Department of Sociology.   He received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1980. He has published two books on prison riots – one on their causes and another on strategies for their resolution. A more recent book examines the prison buildup – its causes, impact on order behind bars, and the effect on the crime rate.  Recent articles, in the American Journal of Sociology and American Sociological Review, with Jack Goldstone, develop the idea that theories of revolution can be used to explain prison riots.  A current project, funded by the National Institute of Justice and in collaboration with the RAND Corporation, examines strategies for reducing the prison population nationwide.  He has also written about social movements, such as the popular effort to resist court-ordered school desegregation and the effort to promote nuclear power.

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