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Dr. Seth Abrutyn

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
University of Memphis
Clement Hall, Room 305
Memphis TN 38152

Phone: (901) 678-3031
Fax: (901) 678-2525


Dr. Seth Abrutyn is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Riverside in 2009 and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute for Research on World-Systems at UC Riverside from 2009 to the spring of 2011. His areas of interest include General Sociological Theory, Macrosociology and Human Institutions, Religion, Polity, and Economy, Evolutionary Sociology, and, most recently, the Sociology of Suicide.

Dr. Abrutyn's current work focuses on two particular tracks. Along with Dr. Anna Mueller, he is studying the sociology of suicide. Their particular emphasis is on understanding how and when suicidal behavior and attitudes are likely to spread from person to person; especially among adolescents. His second line of research continues to elaborate and extend his macrosociological focus on human institutions and their evolution over time and space. This includes examining how macro-level institutions are constructed from the 'inside-out', or through the efforts of institutional entrepreneurs. Much of this work has culminated in a monograph, Revisiting Institutionalism in Sociology: Putting the ‘Institution’ Back into Institutional Analysis (Routledge) due out in the Fall ’13 and a second manuscript currently under review.

Selected Publications

Abrutyn, Seth, and Anna S. Mueller. Forthcoming. "The Socioemotional Foundations of Suicide: A Microsociological View of Durkheim's Suicide." Sociological Theory.

Abrutyn, Seth, and Anna S. Mueller. 2014. "Are Suicidal Behaviors Contagious? Using Longitudinal Data to Examine Suicide Suggestion." American Sociological Review 79(2):211-27.

Abrutyn, Seth. 2014. "Religious Autonomy and Religious Entrepreneurship: An Evolutionary-Institutionalist’s Take on the Axial Age." Comparative Sociology 13(2):105-34.

Abrutyn, Seth. 2013. "Teaching Sociological Theory for a New Century: Contending with the Time Crunch." The American Sociologist 44(2):132-54.

Abrutyn, Seth and Jonathan H. Turner. 2011. "The Old Institutionalism Meets the New Institutionalism." Sociological Perspectives 54(3):283-306.

Abrutyn, Seth and Kirk Lawrence. 2010. "From Chiefdom to State: Toward an Integrative Theory of the Evolution of Polity." Sociological Perspectives 53(3):419-42.

Brint, Steven G. and Seth Abrutyn. 2010. "Who's Right About the Right?: Comparing Competing Explanations of the Link Between Conservative Protestants and Conservative Politics in the United States." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49(2):328-50.

Abrutyn, Seth. 2009. "Toward a General Theory of Institutional Autonomy." Sociological Theory 27(4):449-65.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14