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McCright, Aaron M.

401A Berkey Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824


517- 432-8026
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Aaron M. McCright, Lyman Briggs College

Aaron M. McCright

Associate Professor of Sociology

Aaron M. McCright is Associate Professor of Sociology in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology.  He also has an appointment in the Environmental Science and Policy Program.  He holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Northern Iowa and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Washington State University.

Most of Dr. McCright’s scholarship spans the fields of environmental sociology, political sociology, social movements, and sociology of science and technology.  His intellectual agenda is to enhance our sociological understanding of how interrelationships among scientific developments, political processes, and social dynamics influence society’s capacity for recognizing and dealing with environmental degradation and technological risks.

Dr. McCright is most well-known for his work analyzing the political dynamics and public understanding of climate science and policy in the United States—especially organized climate change denial and political polarization on climate change.  Integrating insights from scholarship on power, social movements, and reflexive modernization, he has developed the Anti-Reflexivity Thesis to explain how and why certain industries, political organizations, and members of the general public deny the reality and seriousness of climate change.

Dr. McCright’s recent work also helps to improve our sociological understanding of societal risk and increase the effectiveness of our risk governance for promoting a more sustainable society.  He also investigates the roles of public opinion for social movements, especially how we can use public opinion surveys to investigate how citizens identify with different social movements over their life course.  Further, he conducts research on the effectiveness of inquiry-based learning projects for improving students’ scientific and statistical knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Research Interests

  • Political dynamics and public understanding of climate change.
  • Political, social, and demographic predictors of environmental decision-making
  • Social movement identity and ideology for the environmental movement and beyond.
  • Our sociological understanding of societal risk.

Areas of Specialization: Environment

Subareas: Environment, Gender, Globalization, Risk, Science, Social Movements

Selected Publications

McCright, Aaron M., Riley E. Dunlap, and Chenyang Xiao. 2014. “Predicting Perceived Winter Warming in the USA.” Nature Climate Change 4:1077-1081.

McCright, Aaron M., Chenyang Xiao, and Riley E. Dunlap. 2014. “Political Polarization on Support for Government Spending on Environmental Protection in the USA, 1974-2012.” Social Science Research 48:251-260.

McCright, Aaron M., and Chenyang Xiao. 2014. “Gender and Environmental Concern: Insights from Recent Work and for Future Survey Research.” Society and Natural Resources 27:1109-1113.

Clements, John M., Aaron M. McCright, and Chenyang Xiao. 2014. “An Examination of the ‘Greening of Christianity’ Thesis among Americans, 1993-2010.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 53:373-391.

Kojola, Erik, Chenyang Xiao, and Aaron M. McCright. 2014. “Environmental Concern of Labor Union Members in the United States.” The Sociological Quarterly 55:72-91.

Recent Publications

McCright, Aaron M., and Riley E. Dunlap. 2011. “Cool Dudes: The Denial of Climate Change among Conservative White Males in the United States.” Global Environmental Change 21:1163-1172.

McCright, Aaron M., and Riley E. Dunlap. 2011. “The Politicization of Climate Change and Polarization in the American Public’s Views of Global Warming, 2001-2010.” The Sociological Quarterly 52:155-194.

More Publications

Awards and Honors

Recipient of the Larry T. Reynolds Award for Outstanding Teaching of Sociology from the Michigan Sociological Association, 2014

Recipient of the Midwest Sociological Society’s The Sociological Quarterly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, 2013

Recipient of Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award from Michigan State University, 2009

Recipient of Teacher-Scholar Award at Michigan State University, 2009

Selected as Lilly Teaching Fellow at Michigan State University, 2008-2009

Recipient of the Larry T. Reynolds Award for Outstanding Teaching of Sociology from the Michigan Sociological Association 2015