Elizabeth A. Armstrong is a sociologist with research interests in the areas of sexuality, gender, culture, organizations, social movements, and higher education. She is author of Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-1994 (Chicago 2002). Her 2008 paper with Mary Bernstein, “Culture, Power, and Institutions: A Multi-institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements,” published in Sociological Theory, explores the implications of institutional theory for the study of social movements. With Suzanna Crage, she has also investigated how the Stonewall riots came to be viewed as the starting point of the contemporary gay movement, while earlier events in other cities have been forgotten. This paper, “Meaning and Memory: The Making of the Stonewall Myth” was published in the American Sociological Review (2006).
Armstrong is currently working on a book with Laura Hamilton exploring how class background and the organizational machinery of the university intersect to shape the varied ways in which young women move through and transition out of the university. This book is based on a year of ethnographic observation on a women’s floor in a residence hall and fives waves of in-depth interviews with more than 40 residents of this floor. This research was supported by the Spencer Foundation.
Professor Armstrong joined the Department of Sociology and the Organizational Studies Program at the University of Michigan in 2009. Before that, she held a faculty appointment in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and a recipient of a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology at the University of California-Berkeley and a B.A. in Sociology and Computer Science from the University of Michigan.