Department of Sociology

Michael Nooy-Strand

Mike Strand

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Michael Nooy-Strand's research and teaching interests range from classical and contemporary social theory, to the philosophy of social science, culture, morality, knowledge, and economic sociology.

At the moment, he is working on a book project ("The Victorian Burden: Morals, Markets and the Birth of Social Justice") in which he argues that moralities are not merely ideas or values, but distinct fields of practice generated around symbolic divisions and social relations in historical contexts. The book examines the birth of central categories of social justice during the Victorian period, arguing that they appeared within a discourse of civil equality linked to a specific form of social relations made possible by market competition. This is significant, he claims, because it reveals unrecognized limits placed on contemporary meanings of social justice. Among other projects, he is attempting to develop new (and empirically useful) understandings of two fundamental concepts in sociological research: action and models. He’s also interested in mining the critical insights available at the intersection of field theory and theories of power. Finally, he is trying to contemplate all possible meanings of the phrase: "that may be true in theory, but it is of no use in practice."


  • PhD, University of Notre Dame

  • BA, University of Wyoming

Selected Publications

  • (forthcoming). "Historicizing Social Inequality: A Victorian Archive for Contemporary Moral Discourse." American Journal of Cultural Sociology.

  • (forthcoming). "The Hysteresis Effect: Theorizing Mismatch in Action." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour (with Omar Lizardo)

  • 2016. "Causality in Contemporary American Sociology: An Empirical Assessment and Critique" Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 46: 3-26. (with Brandon Vaidyanathan, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick and Thomas Buschman)

  • 2015. "The Genesis and Structure of Moral Universalism: Social Justice in Victorian England, 1834-1901." Theory and Society 44: 537-573

  • 2015. "Beyond World Images: Belief as Embodied Action in the World." Sociological Theory 33: 44-70 (with Omar Lizardo).

  • 2014. "Authenticity as a Form of Worth." Journal for Cultural Research 18: 60-77.

  • 2013. "Interest-Oriented Action." Annual Review of Sociology 39: 85-104 (with Lyn Spillman).

  • 2011. "Where Do Classifications Come From?" Theory and Society 40: 273-313.

  • 2010. "Skills, Toolkits, Contexts, and Institutions: Clarifying the Relationship Between Different Approaches to Cognition in Cultural Sociology." Poetics 38: 205-228 (with Omar Lizardo).

  • 2009. "Postmodernism and Globalization." Protosociology 26: 38-72.