A-to-Z Index

Dr. Stephen Poulson

Associate Professor of Sociology

Office Location: Sheldon 118
Phone: (540) 397-1156 
E-mail: poulsosc (at) jmu (dot) edu
Curriculum Vita


B.S. (Political Science), James Madison University
M.A. (International Affairs) Florida State University
Ph.D. (Sociology) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia State Certification as a Mediator for General District Court.


Social Movements
Muslim Movements of the Middle East
Social Issues in a Global Context
Politics in Society
Sociological Inquiry


Social Movements, Applied Sociology, Conflict Resolution, Political Sociology, Sociology of Sport, Middle Eastern Politics

Current Projects:

"Why Would Anyone Do That? The Appeal of Endurance and Adventure Sport in the Twenty-First Century." (Draft Completed. Under contract at the University of Rutgers Press). This book investigates “adventure” sport within the context of advanced capitalist systems. It also explores how athletes create their sociological “self” through participation in difficult sport.

"The Logic of Ethnic and Religious Violence in Iraq." (In Preparation). This study investigates why movement factions in Iraq use violence against civilians as a tactic and whether targeting civilians is judged "successful" by movement activists.  (In preparation)



2006. Social Movements in Twentieth Century Iran: Culture, Ideology and Mobilizing Frameworks. Lexington Books.

Recent Editorials:

"Iraq: Patterns of Violence against Civilians." September 30th, 2011 in Muftah

"American Responsibility in Iraq," October 5th, 2007 in the Roanoke Times.

Recent/Forthcoming Articles:

Poulson, Stephen C. (with Cory Caswell and Latasha Grey). Forthcoming. “Institutional Parochialism and the Study of Social Movements,” Social Movement Studies

Poulson, Stephen C. (with Thomas Ratliff and Emily Dollieslager). 2013. “You Have to Fight! For Your Right! To Party! Structure, Culture and Mobilization in a University Party Riot,” Pp. 271-305 in Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, edited by Patrick McCoy. Bingley, UK: Emerald Press.

Poulson, Stephen C.  2011. “Institutional Parochialism in Social Science: Response to Cornwall,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 50(2):227–228.

Poulson, Stephen C. (with Colin Campbell) 2010. "Isomorphism, Institutional Parochialism, and the Sociology of Religion," The American Sociologist, 41(1):31-47.

Poulson, Stephen C. 2009. "Nested Institutions, Political Opportunity and the Decline of the Iranian Reform Movement Post 9/11," American Behavioral Scientist 53(1):27-43.

Poulson, Stephen C. 2009. "Autism, Through a Social Lens," Contexts: Understanding People in the Social World 8(2):40-46.