(updated January 2009)
Robert M. Emerson
Department of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1551
Harvard College, BA, magna cum laude, 1962 (History)
Brandeis University, MA, 1964 (Sociology)
Brandeis University, Ph.D., 1968 (Sociology)
Dissertation: The Juvenile Court: Labelling and Institutional Careers
Fellow, NIMH Field Training Program, Department of Sociology, Brandeis University, 1965-67.
Post-Doctoral Fellow in Law and Sociology, Russell Sage Foundation, 1967-69.
Research Associate, Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley, 1967-1969.
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, UCLA, 1969-1974.
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, UCLA, 1974-1983.
Professor, Department of Sociology, UCLA, 1983-2008.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, 2008-present.
Vice Chair and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, UCLA, 1989-1992.
Chair, Department of Sociology, UCLA, 1995-1999.
Faculty Director, Center for Experiential Education and Service Learning, UCLA, 2000-2001.
Awards and Honors
Lecturer in Residence, Network for Research on Criminology and Deviance, Lund University, Sweden, May 9-21, 1994.
Plenary Address, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, Couch-Stone Symposium, Nottingham, UK, July 1996.
Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Lund, Sweden, June 1, 2001.
Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, Pacific Sociological Association, 2004.
1969 Judging Delinquents: Context and Process in Juvenile Court. Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Company.
Reprinted: Pp. 52-55, 39-51. In Sanford J. Fox (ed.), Modern Juvenile Justice. St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Company, 1972.
-- Pp. 101-06, 137-41, and 155-71. In Earl Rubington and Martin S. Weinberg (eds.), Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective. New York: MacMillan, Second Edition, 1973. (Through Sixth Edition, 1994).
-- Pp. 137-41, 155-63. In Delos H. Kelly (ed.), Delinquent Behavior: Interactional and Motivational Aspects. Belmont, CA: Dickenson/Wadsworth, 1978.
-- Pp. 83-96. In Peter Worsley (ed.), Problems of Modern Society: A Sociological Perspective. Second Edition. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1978.
-- Pp. 137-41, 155-63. In Delos H. Kelly (ed.), Deviant Behavior: A Text-Reader in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979. Second Edition (1984).
-- Pp. 268-78. In Jack D. Douglas (ed.), The Sociology of Deviance. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1984.
-- Pp. 83-86, 89-90, 137-41, 155-64, In Ronald J. Berger (ed.), The Sociology of Juvenile Delinquency. Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1991.
1974 "Role Determinants in Juvenile Court." Chapter 16 in Daniel Glaser (ed.), Handbook of Criminology. Chicago: Rand McNally. Reprinted: Barry C. Feld (ed.), Readings in Juvenile Justice Administration. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
1976 (with Melvin Pollner) "Dirty Work Designations: Their Features and Consequences in a Psychiatric Setting." Social Problems 23 (3):243-54.
Reprinted: Hiasaura Rubenstein and Mary Henry Bloch (eds.), Things That Matter: Influences on Helping Relationships. New York: MacMillan, 1982.
1977 (with Sheldon L. Messinger) "The Micro-Politics of Trouble." Social Problems 25 (2):121-34.
Reprinted: Oscar Grusky and Melvin Pollner (eds.), The Sociology of Mental Illness: A Book of Readings. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981.
-- Ken Plummer (ed.), Symbolic Interactionism, Volume II -- Contemporary Issues. London: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1991.
-- James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium (eds.), Inner Lives and Social Worlds: Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
1978 (with Melvin Pollner) "Policies and Practices of Psychiatric Case Selection." Sociology of Work and Occupations 5 (1):75-96.
1981 (with E. Burke Rochford, and Linda L. Shaw) "Enterprise and Economics in Board and Care." American Behavioral Scientist 24 (6):771-85.
1981 Review of Stephen J. Pfohl, Predicting Dangerousness: The Social Construction of Psychiatric Reality. Contemporary Sociology 10 (1):100-01.
1981 "On Last Resorts." American Journal of Sociology 87 (1):1-22.
1981 "Observational Field Work." Annual Review of Sociology 7:351-78.
French translation: Daniel Cefai, in L’enquete de terrain. Paris: Editions La Decouverte, 2003.
1983 "Holistic Effects in Social Control Decision-Making." Law and Society Review 17:425-55.
Reprinted: Richard Abel (ed.), The Best of Law and Society Review. New York: New York University Press, 1995.
1983 Contemporary Field Research: A Collection of Readings. Boston, MA: Little, Brown. (Reissued by Waveland Press, 1988)
1983 (with Melvin Pollner) "Dynamics of Inclusion and Distance in Fieldwork Relations." Pp. 235-52 in R. M. Emerson (ed.), Contemporary Field Research: A Collection of Readings. Boston, MA: Little Brown.
1983 (with E. Burke Rochford, and Linda L. Shaw) "The Micro-Politics of Trouble in a Psychiatric Board and Care Facility." Urban Life 12:349-67.
1983 (with Carol A. B. Warren) "Trouble and the Politics of Contemporary Social Control Institutions." Urban Life 12:243-47.
1984 (with Linda L. Shaw) Review of Sue E. Estroff, Making It Crazy: An Ethnography of Psychiatric Clients in an American Community. Urban Life 13(1):103-07.
1985 Review of Robert Dingwall, John Eekelaar, and Topsy Murray, The Protection of Children: State Intervention and Family Life. Sociology of Health and Illness 7:119-21.
1987 "Reflection and Reflexivity in Ethnographic Fieldwork." Review Essay, Contemporary Sociology 16:35-37.
1987 "Four Ways to Improve the Craft of Fieldwork." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 16(1):69-89.
Reprinted: Paul Atkinson and Sara Delamount (eds.), Ethnographic Discourse. London: Sage Publications. 2008.
1988 Review of Douglas W. Maynard, Inside Plea Bargaining: The Language of Negotiation. Contemporary Sociology 17(1):64-66.
1988 (with Melvin Pollner) "On the Use of Members' Responses to Researchers' Accounts." Human Organization 47(3):189-98.
1989 "Tenability and Troubles: The Construction of Accommodative Relations by Psychiatric Emergency Teams." Pp. 215-237 in Gale Miller and James A. Holstein (eds.), Perspectives on Social Problems: A Research Annual. Vol. 1. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
1991 "Case Processing and Interorganizational Knowledge: Detecting the `Real Reasons' for Referrals." Social Problems 38:198-212.
1992 (with Melvin Pollner) "Difference and Dialogue: Members' Readings of Ethnographic Texts." Pp. 79-98 in Gale Miller and James A. Holstein (eds.), Perspectives on Social Problems: A Research Annual, Vol. 3. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Reprinted: Darin Weinberg (ed.), Qualitative Research Methods. Blackwell Publishers. 2001.
1992 "Disputes in Public Bureaucracies." Pp. 3-29 in Susan S. Silbey and Austin Sarat (eds.), Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol. 12, Part A. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
1992 (with Blair Paley) "Organizational Horizons in Complaint-Filing." Pp. 231-47 in Keith Hawkins (ed.), The Uses of Discretion. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Reprinted: Lisa Frohmann (ed.), Prosecutors and Prosecution. Ashgate Publishing, 2008.
1993 "Capital Trials and Representations of Violence." Law and Society Review 27:59-63.
1994 "Doing Discipline: The Junior High School Scene." Pp. 260-72 in Mary Lorenz Dietz, Robert Prus, and William Shaffir (eds.), Doing Everyday Life: Ethnography as Human Lived Experience. Toronto: Copp Clark Longman, Ltd.
1994 "Constructing Serious Violence and Its Victims: Processing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order." Pp. 3-28 in Gale Miller and James A. Holstein (eds.), Perspectives on Social Problems: A Research Annual, Vol. 6. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press
Swedish translation: Malin Akerstrom (ed.), Kriminalitet, Kultur, Kontroll: En Antologi. Stockholm: Carlsson Bokforlag, 1996.
Reprinted: Gale Miller and James A. Holstein (eds.), Social Problems in Everyday Life: Studies of Social Problems Work. JAI Press, 1997.
1995 (with Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw) Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Japanese translation: Ikuya Sato, Shinyosha Press, 1998.
Spanish translation: Sergio Eduardo Visacovsky, Buenos Aires, in progress.
Reprinted: Chapter 6, “Processing Fieldnotes: Coding and Memoing,” in Alan Bryman (ed.), Ethnography. Bardwell Press, forthcoming.
1996 "Fieldwork since Hughes: Continuities and Change." Pp. 35-45 in Actes de la “Journee Hughes”. Centre de Recherches Sociologiques et Historiques sur l”Eduction, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France.
French translation: “Le Travail de Terrain apres Hughes: Continuites et Changements,” Societes Contemporaines, n. 27, pp. 39-48, July 1997.
1997 (with Carol Brooks Gardner) "Bus Troubles: Public Harassment and Public Transportation." Pp. 265-73 in Perspectives on Social Problems, Vol. 9. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
1998 (with Kerry O. Ferris and Carol Brooks Gardner), “On Being Stalked.” Social Problems 45:289-314.
Reprinted: Bernadette H. Schell and Nellie Lanteigne (eds.), Stalking, Harassment and Murder in the Workplace. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2000.
Claire M. Renzetti and Raquel Kennedy Bergen, Violence Against Women. Lanham, MD. Rowman and Littlefield. 2004.
2001 “Participant Observation and Fieldnotes” (with Rachel I. Fretz and Linda L. Shaw). Pp. 352-68 in Paul Atkinson, Amanda Coffey, Sara Delalmont, Lyn Lofland, John Lofland (eds.), Handbook of Ethnography. London: Sage Publications.
2001 Ethnomethodology and Ethnography” (with Melvin Pollner). Pp. 118-35 in Paul Atkinson, Amanda Coffey, Sara Delalmont, Lyn Lofland, John Lofland (eds.), Handbook of Ethnography. London: Sage Publications.
2001 Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations. Second edition. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
2001 “Constructing Participant/Observer Relations.” (with Melvin Pollner) Pp. 239-59 in Robert M. Emerson (ed.), Contemporary Field Reseach: Perspectives and Formulations. (Second Edition.) Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Reprinted: Mark R. Pogrebin (ed.), Qualitative Approaches to Criminal Justice: Perspectives from the Field. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003.
2003 “Working with ‘Key Incidents.’” Chapter 29 in Clive Seale, David Silverman, Jay Gubrium and Giampetro Gobo, eds., Inside Qualitative Research: Craft, Practice, Content. Sage Publications.
2004 “Introduction.” Pp. 8-13 in Elijah Anderson, Scott N. Brooks, Raymond Gunn and Nikki Jones, eds., Being Here and Being There: Fieldwork Encounters and Ethnographic Discoveries. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 595. Sage Publications.
2006 “Reflections on the Study of Informal Social Control. Sociologisk Forskning nr1-2006:71-76.
2008 “Responding to Roommate Troubles: Reconsidering Informal Dyadic Control.” Law & Society Review 42:483-512.
“Ethnography, Interaction and Ordinary Trouble.” Forthcoming in Ethnography, 2009.
“The Micro-Politics of Close Relationships: Interpretive Framing and Constructing Rule Violations in RoommateTroubles.” Ms. in progress.
The Micro-Politics of Trouble: Studies in Informal Social Control. Book manuscript.
Making a Case of It: The Legal Ordering of Personal Troubles. Book manuscript..
"Cooperation and Resistance in Alzheimer Family Caregiving." (with Nancy S. Blum) Ms. in progress.
"The Role of Third-Person Supporters in Applying for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders." (with Wendy Lin) Ms. in progress.
Papers Presented, Invited Lectures and Conferences (since 1996)
"The Continuing Significance of Cicourel's The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice." Pacific Sociological Association, Seattle, WA, March 21, 1996.
"Fieldwork since Hughes: Continuities and Change." La Journee E. C. Hughes, Ecole Normale Superieure de Fontenay-Saint-Cloud, Paris, France, March 25, 1996.
"Ambivalently Motivated Complaints in the Processing of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders." Joint Meetings of the Law and Society Association and the ISA Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, Glasgow, Scotland, July 12, 1996.
"Reclaiming the Field." Plenary Address, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, Couch-Stone Symposium, Nottingham, UK, July 17, 1996.
“Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes.” (with Rachel Fretz and Linda Shaw) Didactic Seminar, American Sociological Association, Toronto, Canada, August 9, 1997.
“Some Issues in Contemporary Ethnographic Field Research.” Department of Sociology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, March 10, 2000.
“Constructing Participant/Observation Relations.” Kercher Speaker Series, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University, October 27, 2000.
“Current Issues in Ethnographic Research.” Seminar Series, LeRoy Neiman Center for the Study of American Society and Culture, UCLA, February 7, 2001.
“Some Reflections on Fieldnotes and Contemporary Ethnography.” Third Annual Chicago Ethnography Conference, Loyola University, Chicago, IL, February 24, 2001.
“Reflections on the Sociology of Trouble.” Department of Sociology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, May 30, 2001.
Workshop on Ethnographic Field Work for the European Union Reseach and Training Network: Women in European Universities, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, October 4-7, 2001.
“Naturalistic Perspectives in Analyzing Field Data: Working with ‘Key Incidents.’” Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, October 14, 2002.
“Remedying Roommate Troubles.” Couch-Stone Winter Symposium, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, February 8, 2003.
“Introductory Remarks: From UCLA to Penn.” Conference on Fieldwork Encounters and Ethnographic Discoveries, University of Pennsylvania, November 7, 2003.
“Lay and Institutional Identities in Making and Processing Complaints.” Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Assocation, San Francisco, CA, August 17, 2004. “Neglected Issues in the Analysis of Informal Social Control.” Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Assocation, Montreal, Quebec, August 2006.
“Informal Control Processes Prior to the ‘Circuit of Agents’: Extending Goffman’s Analysis of Informal Social Control.” Annual Meetings of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, Montreal, Quebec, August 2006.
“The Interactional Dynamics of Dyadic Troubles: Roommate Conflict and Deviance.” Department of Sociology, University of California, Riverside, May 2007.
“Ethnography, Interaction and Ordinary Trouble.” Conference on Urban Ethnography: Its Traditions and Its Future. Yale University, April 26, 2008.
“From Normal Conflict to Normative Deviance: A Natural History of Escalating Roommmate Troubles.” Department of Sociology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, October 15, 2008.
Robert M. Emerson and Susan M. McCoin, Co-Principal Investigators "The Pro Se Litigant: Self-Representation in Consequential Civil Cases." National Science Foundation, Law and Social Science Division, 1988-1991.
Robert M. Emerson, Principal Investigator "A Pilot Study of Support Group Participation by Alzheimer Family Caretakers." Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association, 1989-1990.
Robert M. Emerson and Nancy S. Blum, Co-Principal Investigators "Caregiving Practices in Latino and White Families." National Institute on Aging, 1992-95.
Howard Gadlin, Carol Peterson, and Robert M. Emerson, Co-Principal Investigators "UCLA Multicultural Collaborative Proposal." Hewlett Foundation, 1996-98.
Robert M. Emerson, Principal Investigator “The Community Ethnography Project.” UCLinks, University of California Office of the President, 2001-04.
Robert M. Emerson and Jack Katz, Co-Principal Investigators Research Experience for Undergraduates Site: Summer Program in Ethnographic Research on LA at Play.” National Science Foundation SES-0244216, 2003-05, 2006-08.
Society for the Study of Social Problems
Elected to Editorial and Publications Committee, 1992-95
Chair, SSSP Editorial and Publications Committee, 1994-95
Law and Society Association
Nominated for the Board of Trustees, Class of 1996.
Member, LSA Ad Hoc Newsletter Committee, 1997-98
American Sociological Association
Organizer, Sessions on Qualitative Methodology, 1995 Annual Meetings.
Membership Committee, Sociology of Law Section, 1997-98.
Sociology of Law Article Prize Committee, 2002-03
Associate Editor for: Californian Sociologist, 1977-1982
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 1986-present
Qualitative Sociology, 1982-present
Social Problems, 1974-1980
Symbolic Interaction, 1983-1987
Urban Life, 1974-1983
Editorial Advisory Board, Law & Society Review, 1995-1997.
Editor, Urban Life, 1983-1986
Deputy Editor, Sociological Methodology, 2000-04
Book Series Editor (with Jack Katz), Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries,
University of Chicago Press, 2001-
University & Community Service
President, Board of Directors, Beverlywood Mental Heath Center, 1986-1996.
Staff Sociologist, Kolts Commission Investigation of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, February-July 1992.
Co-Chair, Chancellor’s Service Learning Task Force, UCLA, 1998-99.
Chair, External Review Committee, Community Studies Department, UCSC, October 1999.