Ross Haenfler

Ross Haenfler

Department chair of Sociology

I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at Grinnell College where I teach Deviance and Youth Subcultures, Sociological Theory, Men and Masculinities, and introductory sociology courses. I love teaching and try to teach classes that create possibilities for students to live more engaged and fulfilling lives.

My research focuses on how everyday people engage in social change as participants in subcultures and loosely organized social movements. Since most people do not consider themselves “activists,” I am interested in how they create changes in their own lives that reflect their values and how they believe that these individual actions add up to social change. Along with my colleagues I developed the concept of “lifestyle movement” to explain ongoing, diffuse change efforts seeking cultural (rather than policy) change, enacted largely in daily life rather than the streets. Examples include voluntary simplicity, slow food, locovores, green lifestyles, and abstinence pledgers.

I write widely on deviant subcultures, especially punk, hardcore, and straight edge. These scenes profoundly impacted me as a young person and continue to inspire me today. Much of my work addresses the complicated masculinities that emerge in subcultures and music scenes, and recently I have begun studying how young subculturists transition to “adulthood” - work, family, and careers.

I can be helpful to students who

·       Want to use qualitative methods to conduct original research.

·       Have interests in social movements and change.

·       Study issues around youth, gender, masculinities, and sexualities.

·       Have an interest in deviant subcultures and music scenes.


Subcultures: The Basics (Routledge)

Goths, Gamers, and Grrrls: Deviance and Youth Subcultures (Oxford)

Straight Edge: Clean-Living Youth, Hardcore Punk, and Social Change (Rutgers),2768.aspx

The Better World Handbook: Small Changes that Make a Big Difference (New Society)

Selected publications:

“Punk, Hardcore, and Globalization.” 2015. Pp. 278-295 in The Handbook of Popular Music, Andy Bennett and Steve Waksman, eds. London and New York: Sage.

Straight Edge – Minor Threat.” 2015. In Rebel Music: Resistance Through Hip Hop and Punk, Priya Parmar, Anthony J. Nocella II, Scott Robertson, and Martha Diaz, eds. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

“Countercultures.” 2013. In The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements, David Snow, Donna Della Porta, Bert Klandermans, and Doug McAdam, eds. Oxford: Wiley/Blackwell.

2012. “Lifestyle Movements: Exploring The Intersection of Lifestyle and Social Movements.” With Brett Johnson and Ellis Jones, in Social Movement Studies 11, 1:1-20.

2012. “‘More than the X’s on My Hands’ - Older Straight Edgers and the Meaning of Style.” In Ageing and Youth Cultures: Music, Style and Identity, Andy Bennett and Paul Hodkinson, eds. Oxford: Berg.

2010. “Why I’m Still Straight Edge.” In Sober Living for the Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, and Radical Politics. Oakland, CA: PM Press.

2010. Hutcherson, Ben and Ross Haenfler. “Musical Genre as a Gendered Process: Authenticity in Extreme Metal.” Forthcoming in Studies in Symbolic Interaction.

2009. “Sociology and Social Change: Creating a More Just and Sustainable World.” With Brett Johnson and Ellis Jones, in Sociological Odyssey: Contemporary Readings in Introductory Sociology, edited by Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage.

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