James R. Elliott

Areas of Interest: 
Urban and community sociology, social stratification and inequality, and environmental sociology


James Elliott received his Ph.D. in Sociology (with a minor in Geography) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997, after which he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Before coming to Rice he received tenure at the University of Oregon and Tulane University, where he earned university-wide teaching awards for undergraduate, graduate and service-learning education.    

His early research focused primarily on urban development and social inequality with emphasis on racial, ethnic and gender stratification.  It examined how internal migration shapes and reshapes the urban system; how globalization contributes to structural underemployment; how neighborhood segregation shapes job networks and opportunities; how ethnic divisions of labor form and persist over time; and, how race and gender intersect to open and close access to workplace power in diverse urban labor markets.     

More recent research incorporates growing emphasis on urban-environmental change in three related areas.  One focuses on social inequalities revealed and exacerbated by natural hazards and local recoveries; another focuses on the historical accumulation and systemic spread of hazardous wastes in urban areas; and, the third focuses on links between urbanization and carbon emissions at and from the local level.  These lines of research conceptualize urbanization as an ongoing interaction of social and environmental processes that feedback over time and space to shape prospects of a sustainable future.    

Prof. Elliott has received funding from multiple federal agencies; served as an advisor to the National Science Foundation’s program in Sociology; and recently co-edited the journal Sociological Perspectives.

Recent Publications

Elliott, James R. and Kevin T. Smiley. 2017. “Place, Space, and Racially Unequal Exposures to Pollution at Home and Work.” Social
Currents: (Forthcoming).

Bernier, Carl, James R. Elliott, Jamie E. Padgett, Frances Kellerman, Philip B. Bedient. 2017. “Evolution of Social Vulnerability and Risks of Chemical Spills during Storm Surge along The Houston Ship Channel.”
Natural Hazards Review: (Forthcoming).

Elliott, James R. and Junia Howell. 2017. “Beyond Disasters: A Longitudinal Analysis of Natural Hazards’ Unequal Impacts on Residential Instability.” Social Forces 95(3): 1181-1207.

McDonald, Steve, Lindsay Hamm, James R. Elliott and Peter Knepper.
2016. “Race, Place, and Unsolicited Job Leads: How the Ethnoracial Structure of Local Labor Markets Shapes Employment Opportunities.”
Social Currents 3(2): 118-137.

Elliott, James R. and Scott Frickel. 2015. “Urbanization as Socio-Environmental Succession: The Case of Hazardous Industrial Site Accumulation.” American Journal of Sociology 120(6): 1736-1777. †

†2016 Honorable Mention, Jane Addams Award for Best Article, Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.

Elliott, James R. 2015. “Natural Hazards and Residential Mobility:
General Patterns and Racially Unequal Outcomes in the United States.”
Social Forces 93(4): 1723-1747.

Elliott, James R. and Matthew Thomas Clement. 2015. “Developing Spatial Inequalities in Carbon Appropriation: A Sociological Analysis of Local Emissions across the United States.” Social Science Research
51: 119-131.

James R. Elliott
Professor Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison

Sewall Hall 554
713 348-3812