Kelly Bergstrand

Assistant Professor in Sociology, University of Texas at Arlington

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About Kelly

Bergstrand’s research centers on whether some types of issues or social problems are inherently more powerful in attracting resources and public support, which can help inform why some social and environmental problems are routinely ignored by the civil and political sectors. She also conducts research in climate change and examines how communities are vulnerable or resilient to environmental threats.



"Compensation and Community Corrosion: Perceived Inequalities, Social Comparisons, and Competition Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill" (with Brian Mayer and Katrina Running). Sociological Forum (forthcoming).
Finds that, after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, many Gulf residents perceived randomness and unevenness in the disaster compensation process, which in turn led to negative social comparisons and competition among community members and contributed to a corroding sense of community.
"Effectiveness of U.S. State Policies in Reducing CO2 Emissions from Power Plants" (with Don Grant and Katrina Running). Nature Climate Change (2014).
Examines the effects of U.S. state climate change policies on power plants’ CO2 emissions and finds that some policies (emission caps, GHG targets, public benefit funds, and electric decoupling) are more effective than others at curbing carbon pollution.
"Cognitive Shocks: Scientific Discovery and Mobilization" Science as Culture 23 (2014): 320-343.
Examines the role of scientific discoveries in changing individuals’ beliefs or understandings about the world in a way that affects attitudes toward, and support for, social change.
"Assessing the Relationship between Social Vulnerability and Community Resilience to Hazards" (with Brian Mayer, Babette Brumback, and Yi Zhang). Social Indicators Research (2014).
Maps how community resilience and social vulnerability differ across regions, highlighting inequalities in communities’ abilities to weather and recover from hazards and environmental threats.
"The Mobilizing Power of Grievances: Applying Loss Aversion and Omission Bias to Social Movements" Mobilization: An International Quarterly 19 (2014): 123-142.
Applies concepts from psychology and behavioral economics to investigate how the nature of grievances can confer advantages or disadvantages to social movements. Finds that losses, as opposed to gains, are particularly powerful for motivating activism, and that direct acts, rather than acts of omission, garner more support for campaigns.