David Sorge

David Sorge

PhD, Sociology

David’s work looks at the relational processes of conflict escalation and de-escalation at a variety of scales. He works primarily at the intersections of micro-sociology (including conversation analysis) and social movements.

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 resource mobilization, political opportunity, media environment, and innovation diffusion explain variation in collective action in India from 1985-2005.

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.

Because David grew up in the Maldives and South India, his work gives priority to South Asian phenomena. He is conversationally proficient in Hindi, Urdu, German, and Dhivehi, and has an intermediate reading knowledge of Classical Arabic.


BA, Rice University - Linguistics and Asian Studies

AM, University of Pennsylvania - Sociology

Research Interests

Conflict Escalation and De-Escalation; Social Movements; South Asia; Theory; Face-to-Face Interaction; Internal Conversation and Self-Formation

Courses Taught

SOCI 126: Contemporary Sociological Theory (Fall 2018)

SOCI 143: Modern Social Movements (Spring 2017)

Selected Publications

D. Michael Lindsay, Ariela Schachter, Jeremy R. Porter, and David C. Sorge2014. “Parvenus and Conflict in Elite Cohorts”. Social Science Research 47: 148-164