Gary John Adler Jr. Twitter

Gary John Adler, Jr.

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Faculty Affiliate, PSU Rock Ethics Institute

Faculty Affiliate, PSU Social Thought Program

514 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-5365

Office Hours:

  • By appointment.

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Ph.D., University of Arizona
  2. M.A., University of Arizona
  3. M.A., Jesuit School of Theology/Graduate Theological Union
  4. B.A., University of Dayton


Research Interests

My research sits at the intersection of the sociology of culture, religion, organizations, and collective action. My main research focus has been the organization of social concern for distant issues and cultural outsiders, particularly whether/how religious organizations produce empathy, tolerance, political behavior and activism. I also study the connection of cultural change and religious change.

Current Research Projects

I have two active research projects that use multiple methods.

The first project uses GSS data and a unique dataset of symbolic objects to understand how religious imaginations are organizationally produced, how they have changed over time, and how they influence attitudes and behavior. 

A second project, in its early stages, is an analysis of church-state interaction as it actually occurs among local religious leaders and government bureaucrats at the local level. This project will seek to understand what guides pragmatic strategies of accomodationism and separationism, as well as whether attitudes have changed regarding these topics. My colleagues and I were recently awarded grant money to begin this project. Pilot interviews in a rural PA county are ongoing and have shown intensive church-state interaction, some conflict, and the effects of national-level politicization on local religious life.

My research has been supported by the Louisville Institute, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and other funders.

Research Interests:

Culture, Social Movements, Religion, Civic Organizations, Catholic Parishes

Research Interests:

Social Institutions and Culture:

beliefs and values, religious organizations, collective behavior, moral action