Indiana University Bloomington

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Brian Steensland

Brian Steensland

Brian Steensland is Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University. He received his PhD from Princeton in 2002 and joined the IU faculty in the same year. His research interests include culture, religion, and politics in American society. His book The Failed Welfare Revolution highlights the role that cultural factors played in shaping American welfare policy development during the 1960s and 1970s. Current research projects examine contemporary patterns of religious social engagement and the fusion of religious traditionalism with economic conservatism in the decades following World War II.

Brian teaches courses on social theory, social policy, religion and society, and cultural analysis. He has twice received the Trustees Teaching Award from Indiana University; he also received the Edwin H. Sutherland Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Sociology.


Brian Steensland and Philip Goff (eds.). Forthcoming. The New Evangelical Social Engagement. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Steensland, Brian. 2008. The Failed Welfare Revolution: America's Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
■  Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book on Culture, American Sociological Association, 2009
■  Political Sociology Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship, 2009

Selected Articles/Chapters

Steensland, Brian and Christi Smith. 2012. “Culture, State, and Policy.” Pp. 229-239 in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology, edited by Edwin Amenta, Kate Nash, and Alan Scott. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Steensland, Brian and Zachary Schrank. 2011. “Is the Market Moral? Protestant Assessments of Market SocietyReview of Religious Research. 53: 257-277.

Steensland, Brian. 2010. “Moral Classification and Social Policy.” Pp. 455-68 in The Handbook on the Sociology of Morality, edited by Steven Hitlin and Stephen Vaisey. New York, NY: Springer

Steensland, Brian. 2009. “Restricted and Elaborated Modes in the Cultural Analysis of Politics.” Sociological Forum. 24: 926-934. (with response and rejoinder)

Steensland, Brian. 2008. "Why Do Policy Frames Change? Actor-Idea Coevolution in Debates over Welfare Reform." Social Forces 86:1027-1054.

Steensland, Brian. 2006. "Cultural Categories and the American Welfare State: The Case of Guaranteed Income Policy." American Journal of Sociology 111:1273-1326.
■  Best Article Award, Sociology of Culture section, American Sociological Association, 2007
■  Honorable Mention, Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, Political Sociology section, American Sociological Association, 2007

Steensland, Brian. 2002. "The Hydra and the Swords: Social Welfare and Mainline Advocacy, 1964-2000." Pp. 213-36 in The Quiet Hand of God: Faith-based Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism, edited by Robert Wuthnow and John H. Evans. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

Steensland, Brian, Jerry Z. Park, Mark D. Regnerus, Lynn D. Robinson, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Robert D. Woodberry. 2000. "The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art." Social Forces 79:291-318. (RELTRAD syntax)
■  Best Article Award, Sociology of Religion section, American Sociological Association, 2001