Gordon Gauchat

  • Associate Professor, Sociology


  • Posdoctoral Fellow, Cecil Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  • PhD, Sociology, University of Connecticut
  • MA, Sociology, University of Connecticut
  • BA, Sociology and Economics, University of Connecticut

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 1:00 - 3:00pm
  • Bolton Hall
  • Office # 742

Teaching Schedule

Course Num Title Meets
SOCIOL 304-001 Political Sociology MW 1pm-2:15pm
SOCIOL 911-001 The Sociology of Institutions M 2:30pm-5:10pm

Courses Taught

  • SOCIOL 304: Political Sociology
  • SOCIOL 375: Social Theory
  • SOCIOL 715: Systematic Sociological Theory
  • SOCIOL 911: The Sociology of Institutions

Research Interests

  • Science and Democracy
  • Political Sociology
  • Cultural-Cognition
  • Sociology of Ethics and Institutions
  • Quantitative Methods, Measurement
  • Economic Sociology

Related Activities

Gordon Gauchat. Keynote Address to Open the Conference. "Changing science culture: public perceptions of science in the US over the past 50 years." Science & You 2021. Université de Lorraine, France. Keynotes | science-and-you.com

National Academies of Sciences. 2017. “Public Perceptions of Science: A Social Scientific Approach.” Honorary Presenter. Examining the Mistrust of Science. Public Perceptions of Science: Social Science Approach (nationalacademies.org)

American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2016 “Politics, Ideology, and Social Factors,” Honorary Presenter, The Public Face of Science: Exploring the Determinates of Public Trust in Science.  

Department of Chemistry, Sydney University. 2014. Honorary Presenter: “The Cultural Authority of Science: Public Perceptions of Science in Society.”

Skepticism’s dark side: Sociologist identifies “legitimacy crisis” for science - Issuu

The Mistrust of Science | The New Yorker

Live Chat: The Political Brain | Science | AAAS

This is where distrust of science really comes from — and it’s not just your politics - The Washington Post

The politics of science funding | OUPblog (unc.edu)

Study: Conservatives' Trust In Science At Record Low : The Two-Way : NPR



National Science Foundation, “The Cultural Authority of Science in the Public Sphere: Creating Data Streams for Further Advances,” PI, August 2012-June 2014, Award: $114,000.

Research and Creative Activities Support Award. 2017. “Democratic Values and the Cultural Authority of Science.” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Award: $10,855.

National Science Foundation, “Science Politicization Pre and Post COVID,” PI, (In Preparation, to be submitted in August 2024).

Biographical Sketch

Gordon Gauchat's research focuses on public perceptions of science at the intersection of political and cultural polarization in the US and Europe. He has published research in Annual Review of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Science Research, Sociological Forum, Climatic Change, City and Community, Gender and Society and Public Understanding of Science. He is currently working on his first book, Why People Deny Science, which will offer a synthesis of cognitive and cultural explanations of public engagement with scientific knowledge from a sociological perspective. His interests extend to broader societal questions about the relationship between human cognition, institutions, rapid change to knowledge dissemination systems, and the formation of political identity. The horizon of this research is a social scientific model that addresses “advances” in information technology and its effects on the ways human beings cognitively map their world. Particulary, how destablized information systems have eroded the institutional norms around knowledge-making and truth-telling. 

‪Gordon Gauchat‬ - ‪Google Scholar‬

Selected Publications

Gauchat, Gordon. 2023. “The Legitimacy of Science.” Annual Review of Sociology 49: 263-279.https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-soc-030320-035037
Gauchat, Gordon. 2023. "Changing science culture: public perceptions of science in the US over the past 50 years" Science Communication Today. Edited by Martin Bauer and Bernard Schiele.        
Maura Kelly, Gordon Gauchat, Katie Acosta, Elizabeth Withers, and Joyce McNair. 2019. “Does Science Do More Harm than Good? A Mixed Methods Analysis of African American Women’s Attitudes towards ScienceFeminist Research in Practice Roman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD.
Gauchat, Gordon, & Andrews, Kenneth. T. 2018. "The Cultural-Cognitive Mapping of Scientific Professions." American Sociological Review, 83: 567-595.
Gauchat, Gordon W., O'Brien, Timothy L., and Mirosa, Oriol. “The Legitimacy of Environmental Scientists in the Public Sphere” Climatic Change 143.3-4 (2017): 297-306.
Weakliem, David L., Gauchat, Gordon & Wright, Bradley RE. 2012. "Sociological Stratification: Change and Continuity in the Distribution of Departmental Prestige, 1965–2007." American Sociologist 43: 310–327.
Gauchat, Gordon W., Wallace, Michael, Borch, Casey, and Lowe, Travis S. 2011. “The Military Metropolis: Defense Dependence in US Metropolitan Areas” City and Community 10: 25-48.