Indiana University Bloomington

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Sheldon Stryker

Sheldon StrykerSheldon Stryker is Distinguished Professor of Sociology. (Actually, as he discovered at recent ASA meetings, his name is now "Robin's father, formerly known as Sheldon Stryker.") Coming to Indiana in 1950, when then-chair Clifford Kirkpatrick put together two teaching assistantships to create a position for him, he joined the faculty proper as an Instructor in 1951 and has been here ever since except for an SSRC Fellowship year spent at Minnesota in 1959-60, a Fulbright Research Fellowship year spent in Italy in 1966-67, and a year as a Fellow in the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto in 1986-87. Formerly a Chair of the Department and a Director of the Institute for Social Research at Indiana, the administrative role he takes most pride in is that of Director, from 1977-2000, of the NIMH-sponsored Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training Program in Social Psychology, continuing now under the leadership of Jane McLeod. He has received the Cooley-Mead Award for Lifetime Contributions to Social Psychology from the Section on Social Psychology of the ASA, and the George Herbert Mead Award for Lifetime Scholarship from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, strange awards in that he, as he will tell you, is still a promising young man! As these awards suggest, his principal theoretical and research interests are in social psychology, particularly in the development of what has been called Identity Theory, which seeks to formulate and extend insights of Mead in a theory that is testable using reasonably rigorous empirical methods. Most recently, his theoretical and research writings have centered on extending Identity Theory, on applying that theory to social movement phenomena, and on advancing the project of meeting the responsibility of a sociological social psychology to examine social psychological processes in their social structural contexts. He has edited the ASA's Rose Monograph series, Sociometry now Social Psychology Quarterly, and the American Sociological Review. His published work includes monographs, edited volumes, journal articles, chapters in edited books, and encyclopedia articles, and occurs through six decades at this point, something it is possible for anyone to accomplish providing (a) they live long enough and (b) they live by what is known in Indiana sociology circles as Schuessler's Law, which in its simplest statement reads "Sociology must be fun" and which he has amended to say "If it isn't, it's not worth doing."