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Joseph H. Michalski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
King's University College at The University of Western Ontario

266 Epworth Avenue
London, Ontario, Canada
N6A 2M3


phone: 519-433-3491
fax: 519-432-0353

Professional Biography and Analytic Focus

Joe Michalski is a scientist teaching in the Department of Sociology at King's University College at The University of Western Ontario.  He earned his Ph.D. in 1993 in Sociology from the University of Virginia (pictured above), where he studied primarily under Murray Milner, Jr. and Donald Black.  Dr. Michalski then spent most of the 1990s at the University of Toronto engaged in program evaluation research after helping launch the Centre for Applied Social Research.  He served simultaneously as the Project Coordinator to help develop the Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS).  In 1999, Dr. Michalski had the glorious opportunity to join the Department of Sociology at Trent University fulltime, where once again he could pursue his passion for sociology unencumbered by the burden of chasing grant funding.  He then had the pleasure of joining King's University College as a tenure-track appointee in 2003.

These days as a tenured professor, Dr. Michalski focuses his sociological energies primarily on the pursuit of pure sociology:  the scientific study of social life without reference to individual psychology, motivations, or "human nature."  Pure sociologists examine the geometry of social relations as these unfold in a multidimensional social space.  By studying the contextual aspects of social interactions, pure sociologists aim to discover the underlying principles that predict and explain all forms of social life (e.g., the behavior of law, violence, welfare, and ideas).  As such, pure sociology demands an historical and cross-cultural focus.  The diverse works of historians and anthropologists thus provide much of the grist for the analytic mill of pure sociologists, although in-depth interviews and surveys, case studies, and social experiments can yield important insights as well.

Consistent with the mission statements of the American Sociological Association and the Canadian Sociological Association, Dr. Michalski has been committed for many years in his teaching and research "to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline."  He rejects entirely the politicization of the discipline or the academy in general, or the notion that sociologists should be "world savers" or left-wing (or right-wing) ideologues.  Instead, Dr. Michalski agrees with Mathieu DeFlem's view that "Sociology should not be driven by politics nor narrowly constrained to serve the needs of political ideas, whatever their ideological persuasion... Likewise, political issues cannot be a legitimate foundation for sociology.  Sociology aspires to universal knowledge."  In the pursuit of that loftiest of intellectual aims, Dr. Michalski has published several papers on pure sociology, including work on intimate partner violence, altruism, and scientific discovery. 

In addition, he has published scholarly work on phenomena such as social inequality, poverty, low-income survival strategies, food banks, child sexual abuse, immigration and settlement.  Current projects include a study of youth encounters with the police, the social geometry of genocide, comparative research on conflict management in families and workplaces, a comparison of life course trajectories of prison inmates with university students, and a comparative study of sociology in Canada and the United States.  His main work during his sabbatical year (2007-08), however, will be the completion and publication of An Invitation to Pure Sociology: A Scientific Perspective.