Betsie Garner

Faculty Advisors: 

David Grazian, Randall Collins, and Robin Leidner

Research Interests: 

Family, gender, work, culture, the rural-urban continuum, and qualitative research methods.


Betsie Garner is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Emory University in 2011 and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. Garner uses various qualitative methods to study culture, religion, family, gender, regionalism, and the rural-urban continuum. Her ethnographic research comparing how mothers and fathers parent their children during family visits to Philadelphia museums appeared in Qualitative Sociology, and her collaborative work with David Grazian illustrating the gender socialization of girls and boys in the context of family visits to urban zoos was recently published in Social Psychology Quarterly.  

Garner’s dissertation project is a community study of Rockdale County, Georgia in which she explores the social construction of regional identity among contemporary residents of the changing Southern United States. By framing the culture of Southern hospitality as lived religion, she analyzes the discourses and practices through which local Christians negotiate the politics of who does and does not belong in their local community. Garner's related paper on the blurring of rural-urban boundaries in Rockdale has been accepted for publication in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Garner is the recipient of several competitive awards including a Dissertation Research Fellowship and multiple Otto and Gertrude Pollak Summer Research Fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Charles Elias Shepard Scholarship for Graduate Study from Emory University. The University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences named her a 2016 Dean’s Scholar.

Garner has experience as a teaching assistant and recitation instructor for undergraduate courses on the family, media and popular culture, and introduction to sociology. She has presented her research at numerous academic conferences and workshops and has appeared as a guest lecturer for several department faculty. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring junior graduate students and volunteering with local non-profit organizations.

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