Silvia Domínguez

Associate Professor of Sociology, Northeastern University
Chapter Member: Boston SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Silvia

Domínguez conducts research on immigration, mental health, social networks, race and minority populations in urban communities. She teaches on poverty, violence and ethnography. Domínguez is knowledgeable on how people get ahead, what keeps them stagnated, the origins and consequences of violence and the value of social networks. Her current work is on micro-aggressions and the consequences of police brutality over social media. Silvia used to direct the psychiatric services at MCI Norfolk where her team brought down the suicides and homicides to zero over several years. She uses that forensic training currently doing evaluations to prevent deportations. Domínguez is affiliated with the MGH Global Psychiatry Division and helped to put together the mental health policy for Liberia. Silvia has served on many boards of human service organizations such as gang violence, HIV/ AIDS, and legal services. She is also active with Brand New Congress.


How People Get Ahead Despite Difficult Circumstances

In the News

Opinion: "A Call to Men: Ending Violence against Women," Silvia Domínguez, The Square, New York University Press, July 31, 2013.
Opinion: "Marathon Bombers' Refugee Roots Shed Light on Trajectories," Silvia Domínguez, Huffington Post, May 22, 2013.


"More than Just Insults: Rethinking Sociology's Contribution to Scholarship on Racial Microaggressions" Sociological Inquiry 87, no. 2 (2017): 193-206.

Examines racial microaggressions from a sociological point of view promises additional insight to help understand the complexities of contemporary race and racism in America and abroad.

"Transnational Ties, Poverty, and Identity: Latin American Immigrant Women in Public Housing" (with Amy Lubitow). Family Relations 57, no. 4 (2010): 419-430.

Discusses how Latin American mothers utilize transnational ties to help maintain the cultural identities of themselves and their children, to alleviate social isolation, and to provide a safer summer housing alternative for their children. Transnational ties may have had some negative consequences, including financial and social burdens associated with maintaining long-distance familial relationships. 

"Beyond Individual and Visible Acts of Violence: A Framework to Examine the Lives of Women in Low-Income Neighborhoods" (with Cecilia Menjivar). Women's Studies International Forum 44 (2014): 184-195.

Finds that any qualitative data on low-income populations suffer from structural, interpersonal, and symbolic forms of violence. In this case, we looked at low-income minority-status women gathered ethnographically in low-income neighborhoods in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York through the Three City Study of Moving to Opportunity

"Mixed Methods: Social Network Research" (with Betina Holstein) (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Presents evidence about mixing methods research using social networks.

"Getting Ahead: Social Mobility, Public Housing and Immigrant Networks" (New York University Press, 2011).

The results of a three-year comparative ethnography of Latin American immigrants in public housing in South and East Boston. While the majority of the immigrant women were getting ahead through their own agency and social networks, violence kept the others stagnated. Two interdisciplinary frameworks are presented.     

"It is All about Who You Know: Social Capital Based Interventions to Eliminate Health Disparities among Low Income Populations" (with Tammi Arford). Health Sociology Review 9, no. 1 (2010): 114-129.

Describes capacity-building interventions based on social capital, including empowerment, community youth development and collective efficacy models, which can work at the individual and community level in preventive and treatment-based interventions.

"Creating Networks for Survival and Mobility: Social Capital among African-American and Latin-American Low-Income Mothers" (with Celeste Watkins). Social Problems 50, no. 1 (2003): 111-135.

Pays attention to how respondents generate social capital to obtain resources for survival and social mobility. Physical proximity, reciprocity, and family tensions keep women from relying on family. Also, finds that women generate social support through friendships and non-profit institutions. Social support networks can inhibit social mobility by enforcing time-consuming and professionally limiting expectations on women.