Ph.D., UCLA, 1979
Deviance, Collective Behavior, Ethnography
1061 General Classroom Building
Research and Teaching Interests
In his research, Dr. Davis focuses on deviance and social control. Most forms of control he has studied, including police intervention and parental discipline, have a "life of their own," and are not necessarily triggered by rule-breaking behavior. His interest in deviant occupations has led to ethnographic research on a number of unconventional workers, including polygraph examiners, fortunetellers, and religious seers.
One new research project involves the analysis of violent altercations in public settings. He is interviewing "bar fight" participants to better understand the emergence and meaning of these confrontations. Another project involves the corporal punishment controversy as a socially constructed social problem. What are the claims being made about spanking, and who are the claimsmakers who make them?
Undergraduate and graduate instruction in deviance, social control, and family is ongoing. Dr. Davis believes that his own research activities should be brought into the classroom. As a symbolic interactionist, he believes it is important for students to avoid the naive reification of social structure and to recognize the importance of interaction, process, and meaning for understanding social life.