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Department of Sociology Sherman, Jennifer

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2006


Poverty, Inequality, Rural Communities, Gender, Family, Culture

Research Interests

My research looks at the interactions of economic conditions, cultural norms, gender, and family outcomes, particularly in rural areas. I focus on families experiencing poverty, unemployment and low incomes in order to understand the ways in which their choices and decisions are impacted by economic constraints and community contexts.  I pay particular attention to symbolic boundaries based on moral understandings, which are significant in organizing social life and influencing behaviors in cohesive communities. Through qualitative methods including in-depth interviews and ethnography, I have investigated issues facing families in a Northern California timber community; rural and urban communities in New England; and agricultural and tourism-dependent communities in the Pacific Northwest. My current research, in collaboration with Sociology faculty Jennifer Schwartz and Clay Mosher, focuses on rural jails and the growth of incarceration in rural Washington State.


(509) 335-4163

Wilson-Short Hall 215

Graduate Student Office Hours:

Curriculum Vitae


Selected Publications

Sherman, Jennifer. 2021. Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream. Oakland: University of California Press.

Tickamyer, Ann, Jennifer Sherman, and Jennifer Warlick, editors. 2017. Rural Poverty in the United States.  New York: Columbia University Press. Winner, Rural Sociological Society Frederick H. Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award for a book, 2018.

Sherman, Jennifer. 2009. Those Who Work, Those Who Don’t: Poverty, Morality, and Family in Rural America. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.


Articles and Book Chapters
Sherman, Jennifer, Jordan M. Burke, and David H. Gent. 2019. “Cooperation and Coordination in Plant Disease Management.” Phytopathology. 109(10): 1720-1731.

Cervantes, Marisa and Jennifer Sherman. 2019. “Falling for the Ones Were Abusive: Cycles of Violence in Low-Income Women’s Intimate Relationships.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Online First: 1-29.

Sherman, Jennifer. 2018. “‘Not Allowed to Inherit my Kingdom’: Amenity Development and Social Inequality in the Rural West.” Rural Sociology. 83(1): 174-207.

Sherman, Jennifer.  2017. “‘Stress I don’t Need’: Gender Expectations and Relationship Struggles amongst the Poor.” Journal of Marriage and Family 79(3): 657-674

Sherman, Jennifer and David H. Gent.  2014. “Concepts of Sustainability, Motivations for Pest Management Approaches, and Implications for Communicating Change.”  Plant Disease 98(8): 1024-1035.

Sherman, Jennifer.  2014. “Rural Poverty: The Great Recession, Rising Unemployment, and the Underutilized Safety Net”.  Chapter 27 in Rural America in a Globalizing World: Problems and Prospects for the 2010s, Conner Bailey, Leif Jensen & Elizabeth Ransom, editors.  West Virginia Press: 523-539.

Sherman, Jennifer.  2013. “Surviving the Great Recession: Growing Need and the Stigmatized Safety Net.”  Social Problems 60(40): 409-432.

Sherman, Jennifer and Elizabeth Harris.  2012. “Social Class and Parenting: Classic Debates and New Understandings.”  Sociology Compass 6(1): 60-71.

Sherman, Jennifer and Rayna Sage. 2011. “‘Sending Off All Your Good Treasures’: Rural Schools, Brain-Drain, and Community Survival in the Wake of Economic Collapse.” Journal of Research in Rural Education 26(11): 1-14.

Sherman, Jennifer. 2009. “Bend to Avoid Breaking: Job Loss, Gender Norms, and Family Stability in Rural America.” Social Problems 56(4): 599-620.

Sherman, Jennifer. 2006. “Coping with Rural Poverty: Economic Survival and Moral Capital in Rural America.” Social Forces, 85(2): 891-913.