Visiting Senior Lecturer
Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA Stockholm University; MA Columbia University; PhD Columbia University
Research Areas: Race and Ethnicity; Crime and Violence; Historical Sociology; Cultural Sociology; Social Movements; Organizational Sociology; Social Network Analysis
Mattias Smångs’ research spans several substantive and theoretical fields, including research on economic organization, particularly business groups; research using social network theory and methodology to address criminological debates about the nature and significance of juvenile delinquents’ social skills and peer relations; and research on the agrarian populist social movement’s link to Christian evangelicalism in the U.S. South in the 1890s.
In recent years, his research has primarily focused on the historical and cultural sociology of race and racial violence in the United States. His first book, Doing Violence, Making Race: Lynching and White Racial Group Formation in the U.S. South, 1882-1930, develops an argument on how intergroup violence plays into boundary-making and identity-formation processes on the group as well as individual level. Applied to the lynching of African Americans by whites in the U.S. South, the book demonstrates how it fed off as well as into the generation of racial ideologies, boundaries, categories, and identities fomenting the emerging a system of durable oppression and inequality in the form of Jim Crow.
His current book project, Raging for Order and Domination: The Politics of Social Change and Lynching in the New South (under contract with Columbia University Press), explores links between the lynching phenomenon and broad processes of social change previously unattended to by sociological research, including urbanization, industrialization, changing familial and gender relations, and state formation. An article deriving from this project, “Race, Gender, and Lynching in the U.S. South, 1881-1930” (forthcoming in Social Problems), explores the contextual conditions wherein lynchings precipitated by alleged sexual assaults or transgressions by African American men against white females were more likely to occur. The results suggest that traditional ideals of white male racial and gender status and dominance were not merely served as a post hoc exculpatory purposes used to cover up the “real” interests behind lynchings, but culturally and socially influenced lynchings in their own right. In so doing, lynching not only served to oppress African American men and women but to disempower white women as well.
His research has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Sociological Science, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science History, Organization, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, and Sociology Compass.