Kenneth H. Tucker, Jr.

Helen P. Bibbero Professor of Sociology; on leave fall 2020
Sociological theory, social movements, social inequality, historical sociology

Kenneth Tucker is the author of five books, most recently “Workers of the World Enjoy! Aesthetic Politics from Revolutionary Syndicalism to the Global Justice Movement” (Temple University Press, 2010). This book explores how left and right-wing social movements from the late 19th century to today have used images, art and performance to express and publicize their ideas and goals. His other books explore topics such as the relevance of the classical social theory of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Du Bois and Freud for the understanding of contemporary societies, the sociological theory of Anthony Giddens, the public sphere and French labor movements in the early 20th century and the rise of manufacturing elites in the 19th century United States. His articles have been published in journals including the American Journal of Cultural Sociology; American Nineteenth-Century History; Sociological Theory; Theory, Culture, and Society and Critical Studies in Mass Communications, among other scholarly journals.

His current work focuses on how social movements such as Black Lives Matter and the election of Donald Trump both reflect and contribute to significant changes in American political culture. He is also working on a project that explores the role of women in creating upper class culture in 19th century New England.

Tucker teaches Introduction to Sociology, Collective Behavior and Social Movements, Development of Social Thought, Contemporary Sociological Theory and Social Inequality. He was rated as one of the best 300 teachers in the country by the Princeton Review. Students consistently praise him for his clarity, the challenging nature of his courses, and his sense of humor and participatory style of teaching.

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Selected Publications


  • Workers of the World Enjoy!  Aesthetic Politics from Revolutionary Syndicalism to the Global Justice Movement (Temple University Press, 2010)
  • Industrializing Antebellum America: The Rise of Manufacturing Entrepreneurs in the Early Republic (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008) (with Barbara M. Tucker).
  • Classical Social Theory: A Contemporary Approach (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2002). Turkish translation rights sold to Babil Yayinlari, Publishers.
  • Anthony Giddens and Modern Social Theory (London: Sage Publications, 1998). Korean translation by Ilshin Publishing Co. (2001).
  • French Revolutionary Syndicalism and the Public Sphere (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996).


  • "The Political is Personal, Expressive, Aesthetic, and Networked:  Contemporary American Languages of the Self from Trump to Black Lives Matter."  American Journal of Cultural Sociology. ( June 2017).
  • "(S)he Conquers Who Endures":  Theodora DeWolf Colt and the Birth of a New American Elite," American Nineteenth Century History 18 (2017):  63-85 (with Barbara Tucker).
  • "Politics and Aesthetics," Sociology Compass 5 (August 2011): 712-20.
  • "One True Friend, with Six Hearts in his Body," Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds 4 (Summer 2007): 73-75.
  • "From the Imaginary to Subjectivation: Castoriadis and Touraine on the Performative Public Sphere," Thesis Eleven 83 (November 2005): 42-60.
  • "Public Discourse and Civil Society: Habermas, Bourdieu, and the New Social Movements," Pierre Bourdieu, vol. 2, edited by Derek Robbins (London: Sage Publications 2005), Part Five: 73-97.
  • "The Limits of Homo Economicus: An Appraisal of Early American Entrepreneurship," Journal of the Early Republic 24 (Summer 2004): 208-218 (with Barbara M. Tucker). Reprinted in Whither the Early Republic: A Forum on the Future of the Field, edited by John Larson and Michael Morrison (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), pp. 58-68.
  • "Harmony and Transgression: Aesthetic Imagery and the Public Sphere in Habermas and Poststructuralism," Current Perspectives in Social Theory 16 (1996): 101-10.
  • "Aesthetics, Play, and Cultural Memory: Giddens and Habermas on the Postmodern Challenge," Sociological Theory 11 (2), July 1993: 194-211. Reprinted in Chris Bryant and David Jary, eds., Anthony Giddens: Critical Assessments. Vol. 4 (Routledge, 1996).
  • "How New are the New Social Movements?" Theory, Culture, and Society 8 (2), May 1991: 75 98.
  • "Culture, Opposition, and Television: Reformulating the `Cultural Studies' Perspective on the Audience," Critical Studies in Mass Communication 7 (1990): 97 116 (with Ron Lembo).
  • "Ideology and Social Movements: The Contributions of Habermas," Sociological Inquiry 59 (1), February 1989: 30 47.

Recent Campus News

This is a picture of Kenneth Tucker

MHC professor on the rise of individualism

Mount Holyoke sociology professor Kenneth Tucker probes the decline of trust in institutions and concomitant rise of individualism in the United States.

Recent Mentions in the Media