Stephen Sweet

Professional Headshot

Specialty:  Work, Family, and the Life Course


Ph.D. (1994) Sociology, University of New Hampshire 
M.A. (1988) Sociology, University of New Hampshire 
B.A. (1985) Psychology, State University of New York at Potsdam 


My interests in social relationships led me to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of New Hampshire.  In the process of becoming a social scientist, I developed a passion for teaching students not only about social processes, but also the skills needed to apply sociological perspectives to their lives and communities. 

At Ithaca College, I teach a variety of courses, including introduction to sociology, family, work, and inequality.  Students in my classes research their home towns using data from the U.S. Census, they study family dynamics and the life course with in-depth interviews of their own family members, and they research their future careers using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By making sociological research relevant to student lives, I try to reveal how culture and social structures influence life chances and choices, as well as the power individuals have to humanize social relations. 

Much of my research focuses on the tensions individuals experience as they manage job and family responsibilities, examining adaption throughout the life course. My current research focuses on the factors that influence organizations to adopt flexible work arrangements, as well as the ways alternate work arrangements affect workplace performance.  In my most recent books Changing Contours of Work: Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy (2017 Sage with Peter Meiksins), The Work Family Interface ( 2014 Sage), and Work and Family Policy: International Comparative Perspectives (2012 Routledge), I reveal chasms that separate workers from meaningful, stable, and economically rewarding careers.  Included in my publications are the ways that individuals, grassroots organizations, employers, unions, governments, and the international community can contribute to refashioning an economy that better serves the interests of working families.  

Access to a Wall Street Journal interview with Steve on the importance of flexible work arrangements can be found at:

Access to a Sage web video on Steve's appraisal of how sociologists study work and opportunity can be found at:,AAADbGWsArk~,5UmEqOPE2FJrPbMV8iB4XSPDtj6hz95g&bctid=bd-sociology-inte-ssdsow-AA04760

I currently serve as editor of the journal Teaching Sociology and welcome all suggestions and inquiries.