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Department of Sociology Sherman, Jennifer
Associate Professor

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, 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 and future research will continue to look at the connections between structural conditions, cultural discourses, gender norms and family lives, particularly for the residents of homogenous, cohesive, and rural communities that have experienced labor market and economic upheavals.


(509) 335-4163

Wilson-Short Hall 215

Graduate Student Office Hours:

Curriculum Vitae


Selected Publications


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. 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.

Sage, Rayna and Jennifer Sherman.  2014.  “‘There are no Jobs Here’: Opportunity Structures, Moral Judgment, and Educational Trajectories in the Rural Northwest.”  Chapter 5 in Dynamics of Social Class, Race, and Place in Rural Education, Craig B. Howley, Aimee Howley, & Jerry Johnson, editors.  Information Age Press: 67-94.

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. 2011. “Home Improvement: Supporting, Empowering, and Controlling Parents.” International Journal of Sociology of the Family 37(1): 105-130.

Sherman, Jennifer. 2011. “Men Without Sawmills: Job Loss and Gender Identity in Rural America.” Chapter 4 in Economic Restructuring and Family Well-Being in Rural America, Kristin Smith and Ann Tickamyer, editors. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press: 82-102.

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.