Patricia Anne Masters

Patricia Anne Masters

Patricia Anne Masters

Director of Undergraduate Program in Sociology


Sociology: Gender, social psychology, community, children and youth, family. and qualitative research methods

Patricia Masters, born in Philadelphia, usually responds to the question "Where are you from?" by sharing her experiences as an Army "brat" who traveled around the United States and to Germany and Iran with her family. More recently, though, Professor Masters settled in Northern Virginia where she returned to school in the 1970s initially at Northern Virginia Community College, as did many other women who were responding to the Women's Movement message that careers and family could be combined.

From NOVA, she moved to George Mason University where she majored in Sociology, graduating in 1990. Professor Masters received a graduate assistanceship at the American University in Washington, D.C, and received her Master's degree in 1993 and her PhD in 1998 from American University.

Her areas of interest include Stratification, Gender, Social Psychology, Community, and qualitative research. Her doctoral dissertation focused on The Philadelphia Mummers Parade, a 100-year old neighborhood sponsored and organized folk event that illustrates the importance of play as the basis for forming and reinforcing a sense of connection within neighborhoods. This research used ethnographic techniques including gathering life histories from the Philadelphians who perform in and organize the Parade, participant observation (during which she was a courtesy member of one of the small clubs that perform and learned a great deal about not only using a glue gun for attaching sequins but also about patterns of interaction among group members), and historical research. It also gave her an opportunity to learn about the ethnic history of Philadelphia--a city where her mother's family lived. Professor Masters' dissertation research was published in 2007  by Temple University as an ethnography, The Philadelphia Mummers:  Building Community through Play. Other publications include articles on play theory and notable sociologists, Harriet Martineau and  Elliot Liebow.  

Professor Masters teaches a broad array of courses on classical theory, deviance and social control, juvenile delinquency, marriage and families, children and youth, and qualitative methods.  Presently, she is beginning an exploratory study on Muslim-American college women and their decision to adopt Muslim dress. She plans to conduct a series of life history interviews looking at the identity transformation that occurs with this practice, especially in relation to the their experiences as members of two cultures.   


Selected Publications

The Philadelphia Mummers: Building Community Through Play, Temple University Press, 2007 


B.A. in Sociology, 1990

M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology, 1998