Portrait of Joe Soss
261 Humphrey School
Currently reviewing Ph.D. applicants
Social Policy Area
Areas of Expertise
Race and ethnicity; social welfare policy; gender; civic engagement and public participation; democracy; income inequality and poverty


    Joe Soss is the inaugural Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service at the University of Minnesota, where he holds faculty positions in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of Sociology. His research and teaching explore the interplay of democratic politics, societal inequalities, and public policy. He is particularly interested in the political sources and consequences of policies that govern social marginality and shape life conditions for socially marginal groups. His coauthored book, Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race (2011), was selected for the 2012 Michael Harrington Award (APSA, New Political Science) and the 2012 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award (ASA, Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities), the 2012 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award (American Library Association), and the 2015 Herbert Simon Award (APSA, Section on Public Administration). In 2010, he received the campus-wide Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Minnesota's Council of Graduate Students (COGS). In 2013-14, he served as Dale T. Mortensen Senior Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark. In 2016, Professor Soss was honored with the University's campus-wide award for outstanding contributions to graduate education, named a Distinguished University Teaching Professor, and inducted into the UMN Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Outside his academic work, Soss is an active musician and recently released an album, The Sound of Sweet Ruin.


    PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996)

    MA (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991)

    BA (University of Texas-Austin, 1989)

    Page, J., Soss, J. & Piehowski, V. (2019). “A Debt of Care: Commercial Bail and the Gendered Logic of Criminal Justice Predation.”, RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences., 5(1), 150–72.