Carol Petty

Carol Petty

Carol Petty

Adjunct Faculty

Sociology: Globalization, Global Subjectivities, Civic Engagement, Citizenship Studies, Social Inequalities, Integration Policy, Sociology of Culture, Interpretive Sociology, Sociological Theory

Carol Petty is a faculty member in the Sociology and Anthropology Department. Dr. Petty's research analyzes transformations in citizenship and subjectivity, focusing on state and civic projects for social integration. Her work addresses two primary questions: how do participants in educational settings constitute, bridge, and shift the symbolic boundaries of citizenship? And, how does civic education render opportunities for political participation among new migrants? She approaches these questions through the context of "integration through education" programs, particularly those serving young refugee students in Germany. Dr. Petty developed a theory of "civic conversion" to express the institutional rites occurring within integration programs. The rite of civic conversion initiates dramatic movements through which the construction of social difference is simultaneously concealed, defeated, and rendered legitimate. Civic conversion provides a novel framework for understanding contemporary cultural integration efforts (forthcoming in the Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change). 

Dr. Petty has extensive experience in university teaching and social science research (quantitative and qualitative methods). Most recently, she provided consultation to the LWL-Museum in Dortmund, Germany on a 2023 EU-Grant Application titled, "Industrial Culture Creators for Future.” In 2020, she co-authored a Public Sociology Task Force report, which outlined techniques for institutionalizing public sociology. She worked for the American Sociological Association on the NSF-sponsored project, Understanding the Structure of Sociological Knowledge, a multi-year project to build a searchable database of digitized manuscripts submitted to the ASA’s academic journals. Her contribution to this project included designing and distributing large-scale surveys, producing statistical reports, and constructing analytical files for a public-use database. 

She uses a range of methods to answer research questions, including content analysis, interpretive interviewing, critical ethnography, and statistical analysis. Prior to earning her PhD in Sociology, she studied as a Fulbright Grantee in Germany (2010-2011) and worked as a writing tutor (2009-2010) for George Mason’s Writing Center. 

Selected Publications

(forthcoming, Summer 2024). “Rites without Passage: The Civic Conversion of Young Refugees in Contemporary Germany.” Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change.  

(forthcoming, Summer 2024). Book Review. "Forever 17: Coming of Age in the German Asylum System" by Ulrike Bialas. Contemporary Sociology.

2024. "Sociology is Worth Fighting for." The Baltimore Sun. February 2nd. 

Grants and Fellowships

Fulbright Grant to Germany, U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Critical Language Scholarship to Turkey, U.S. Department of State

2020 CHSS Dissertation Completion Grant ($10,000)

2019 Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Sociology Program ($8,000)           

2018 & 2017 PhD Summer Research Fellowship, Provost's Office ($7,000)

2015 MA Summer Research Fellowship, Provost's Office, ($5,000)

Courses Taught

Methods & Logic of Inquiry, Globalization & Society, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Introductory Sociology, Contemporary Sociological Theory, RS: Sociological Analysis and Practice, Social Inequality


PhD Sociology, George Mason University

Dissertation: Belonging in Refuge: Cultural Logics of Refugee Incorporation in Contemporary Germany

Recent Presentations

Panelist, "Life after Mason" Alumni Panel, Public Sociology Seminar, Fall 2023

Panelist, “Writing Successful Fellowships in Graduate School,”  Center for Social Science Research, Spring 2023

“Privatized Difference: The German Integration Regime in Institutional Context.” Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, February 2021.

“Brokers of the ‘Refugee Crisis’: Schools and the Integration Regime in Contemporary Germany.” Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 2019.

“Gendered Citizenship and the ‘Refugee Crisis:’ Impacts of Gender Ideology on Perceptions of Immigration in Germany,” with Shannon Davis. Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, March 2019.

“Teachers’ Narratives on Migrant Incorporation Strategies in Contemporary Germany.” University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), Institute for Sociology Colloquium Series, May 2018.