David Sorge

Faculty Advisors: 

Randall Collins, Guobin Yang

Research Interests: 

Emotions; Conversation; Internal Conversation; Social Movements; Strategic Interaction; Conflict Escalation and De-Escalation; Self-Formation; Theory


David’s primary interests are in the relational processes of conflict escalation and de-escalation. He works primarily in the intersections of micro-sociology (including conversation analysis), social movements, and the sociology of culture.

At the micro-level, this involves analyzing situations in which people deliberate and choose (or don’t deliberate and choose-by-default) to escalate or de-escalate confrontations. The process of escalating into or de-escalating from violent interaction is of particular interest, and a current project studies this in the case of a failed school shooting.

At the meso- and macro-levels, David’s work looks at the phenomenon of waves or cycles of contention, using dynamic network analysis and event history analysis to consider how well current explanations of the phenomenon in terms of resource mobilization, political opportunity, media environment, and innovation diffusion explain variation in India’s social movement sector from 1985-2008.

Before coming to Penn, David worked as a research analyst in the PLATINUM study, the largest interview-based sociological study of America's institutional leadership to date, with interviews of 550 leaders in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors.

He graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in Linguistics and Asian Studies.  He is conversationally proficient in Hindi, Urdu, German, Dhivehi (from the Maldives), and has an intermediate reading knowledge of Classical Arabic.

Contact Information: 


McNeil 331