Liam Downey has two primary areas of research. In a recently published book, Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment, I study the role that elite-controlled organizations, institutions, and networks play in harming people, societies, and the environment, focusing in particular on elitecontrolled policy planning networks, armed violence organized by the state, commodity chain power, and international trade and finance institutions such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. In a new research project, I study the role that violence, broadly defined, plays in producing social order, with a particular emphasis on gender and race violence, the violence of profit and consumption, and the violence of U.S. militarism.
environmental sociology, environmental inequality, environmental justice, inequality democracy and the environment, natural resource extraction and violence, political economy, political sociology, violence and social order
SOCY 1001 - Introduction to Sociology
Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
Examines basic sociological ideas including social relations, social interaction, social structure, and social change. Examples are drawn from societies around the world.
SOCY 1021 - United States Race and Ethnic Relations
Examines how concepts of race and ethnicity have manifested historically and manifest currently in U.S. society. Covers foundational concepts such as prejudice, discrimination, and privilege. Also addresses the structural causes and consequences of race and ethnicity in various aspects of U.S. society, such as the housing market, the criminal justice system, and education.
SOCY 4027 - Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment
Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
Focuses on the structural forces affecting environmental degradation and environmental behavior by examining the relationships between (a) inequality and democratic decision making and (b) undemocratic decision making; U.S. and corporate food and energy policy; and global environmental degradation. Focuses on the role that global inequality plays in fostering environmental degradation. Same as ENVS 4027.
SOCY 5350 - Comparison, Narrative, Meaning, and Method in Historical Sociology
Examines the comparative, narrative, and interpretive methods historical sociologists use when investigating temporally unfolding social processes occurring in the recent or distant past. Through an introduction to the methodological literature and a close reading of exemplary historical research, students will learn to (a) critically evaluate historical sociological research and (b) design methodologically sophisticated historical research projects that address questions that most interest them, potentially incorporating ethnographic and/or quantitative methods into their research designs. Previously offered as a special topics course.
SOCY 6017 - Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment
Spring 2018 / Fall 2020
Focuses on the structural forces affecting environmental degradation and environmental behavior by examining the relationships between a) inequality and democratic decision making and b) undemocratic economic and political decision making, U.S. and corporate food and energy policy; and global environmental degradation. Focus will also be placed on the role that global inequality plays in fostering environmental degradation.