Gary Alan Fine John Evans Professor of Sociology

Area(s) of Interest:  Cultural Sociology


Gary Alan Fine received his Ph. D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Gary's current research has four distinct streams. He is interested in understanding difficult reputations and problematic collective memories of figures such as Joseph McCarthy, Charles Lindbergh, Warren Harding, and Benedict Arnold. This research was most recently published in Sticky Reputations: The Politics of Collective Memory in Midcentury America (2012). His current research involves shifting reputations and political positions of Southern segregationist politics.

As an ethnographer he is currently completing a book on the worlds of competitive chess, examining the development of status systems and reputation markets. He is also beginning a project to examine the field of public relations, particularly as involving the management of celebrity reputation.

His third stream of research involves the interpretation of rumor and contemporary legend, particularly political and economic rumor. Fine is the author of The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism. Immigration and Trade Matter (2010).

Finally he writes on microsociological theory, focusing on small group culture, and has recently published Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Culture and Action (2012).

Collaboration with Graduate Students:

I am delighted to work with students on my research on historical reputations. My research focuses on negative or difficult reputations, and at the moment my attention deals with the reputations involved in contentious politics and also on images of sedition in the United States. This research is such that students can work jointly on these projects, and the research has been quite successful in terms of publication placement (AJS, Social Problems, Poetics, Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Forum, and Social Forces)...

Courses Taught

SOCIOL 101: Freshman Seminar: Scandal and Reputations Syllabus

SOCIOL 403: Field Methods of Social Research Syllabus

SOCIOL 476: Special Topics: Collective Memory Syllabus

SOCIOL 476: Special Topics: Microsociology Syllabus


Symbols, Selves, and Social Reality
(with Kent L. Sandstrom, Kathryn J. Lively, Daniel D. Martin)
Oxford Univeristy Press, 2013

Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Culture and Action
New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2012

Sticky Reputations: The Politics of Collective Memory in Midcentury America
Routledge, 2012

Authors of the Storm: Meteorology and the Culture of Prediction
Chicago Press, 2010

Everyday Genius: Self-Taught
Chicago Press, 2004

Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America
(with Patricia Turner), Chicago Press, 2004

Gifted Tongues: High School Debate and Adolescent Culture
Princeton Press, 2001

Morel Tales: The Culture of Mushrooming
Harvard Press, 1998

Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work
California Press, 1996


The Politics of Expertise in the "Who Lost China?" Debate
(with Bin Xu), Social Problems, Vol. 58, No. 4 (November 2011), pp. 593-614

The Sociology of the Local: Action and its Publics
Sociological Theory, 2010

DUST: A Study in Sociological Miniaturism
With Tim Hallett; Social Psychology, 2008

The Chaining of Social Problems: Solutions and Unintended Consequences in the Age of Betrayal
Social Problems, 2006

Tiny Publics: Small Groups and Civil Society
With Brooke Harrington; Sciological Theory, 2004

Opening the "Black" Box: Small Groups and Twenty-First-Century Sociology
With Brooke Harrington; Social Psychology, 2000