Main content

Sebastian Guzman Rivera

Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

As a teacher, scholar, and public sociologist, I seek to engage my students and research with people trying to solve social problems outside of academia. My students work in service learning (for instance, with The Garage Community & Youth Center and POWER Interfaith), I cooperate with social movements and community organizations I study or related to my interests, and I have published multiple op-eds and letters to the editor.

More About Me

As a college student, I decided I wanted to help social movements struggling against inequality. I was especially interested in how they can deal with difficult challenges and dilemmas and why so many people accept inequality. This led me to Public Sociology, which involves sharing the knowledge produced by sociologists with the broader public, to help us all make the world better. This also led me to a research program focused on understanding how political and class subjectivities are produced and how these subjectivities relate to political and economic action that reproduces or challenges inequality. I have developed this program especially (but not exclusively) by studying struggles for social rights (such as housing and education) and debt resistance in Chile. These projects have led me to multiple interests within Sociology and with related disciplines: Political Sociology, Social Movement Studies, Inequality, Sociology of Culture, Economic Sociology, Social Theory, Social Psychology, Education, Urban Studies, Political Science, Anthropology, and Latin American studies. Beyond my sociological research agenda, I have also published teaching-related work on grading group projects.

Research Interests

  • Debt resistance and beliefs about debt
  • Student movements and inequality in higher education
  • Social movements and politics in Latin America
  • Political subjectivities (culture, identities, beliefs, justifications)
  • Sociological theory (especially on issues of class, power, and culture and the works of Marx, Weber, Gramsci, Bourdieu, and Habermas)

Representative Courses

  • Sociology of Education
  • Cultural Activism in Latin America
  • Class, Power, and Privilege
  • Social Movements, Action, Advocacy
  • Politics, Policy and Society
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Modern Social Theory
  • Research Methods

Publications

Guzmán, Sebastián G. 2018. “Monte Carlo Evaluations of Methods of Grade Distribution in Group Projects: Simpler is Better.” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 43(6): 893-907.

Guzmán, Sebastián G. 2018. “Rational Legal Authority.” In The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd edition, edited by G. Ritzer and C. Rojek.

Guzmán, Sebastián and James Hill. 2017. Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Macat/Routledge, 2017.

Guzmán, Sebastián. 2017. “Contemporary Chilean Students’ Protests: From Education as Commodity to Education as a Social Right.” Pp. 55-57 in The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America, 1967-2017, edited by M. Di Giovine. West Chester, PA: West Chester University Press.

Guzmán, Sebastián G. 2015. “‘Should I Trust the Bank or the Social Movement?’ Motivated Reasoning and Debtors’ Work to Accept Misinformation.” Sociological Forum 30(4): 900-924.

Guzmán, Sebastián G. 2015. “Substantive-Rational Authority: The Missing Fourth Pure Type in Weber’s Typology of Legitimate Domination.” Journal of Classical Sociology 15(1): 73-95.

Guzmán, Sebastián G. 2013. “Reasons and the Acceptance of the Authoritative Speech: An Empirically-Grounded Synthesis of Habermas and Bourdieu.” Sociological Theory 31(3): 267-289.

Guzmán, Sebastián, Marizza Espinoza and Andres Herrera. 2006. ¿Microempresa? Nuevas Respuestas para Antiguas Preguntas [Micro-enterprise? New Answers for Old Questions]. PET, Santiago de Chile.

Presentations / Conferences

Panels Organized:

2019 “Engaging Students in Social Change through Community Organizing Courses,” Organizer and presider, Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York.

2016 “Student Protests: Identities and Strategies,” Organizer, Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Seattle.

2013 “Organizing Foreclosure Resistance” and “Historical Experiences of Debt Resistance in the United States.” Co-organizer, Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston.


Papers Presented:

2018 “Reducing Default Rates, the Wealth Gap, and Inequality in Access to Housing by Lending Pension Funds.” Paper presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Philadelphia.

2017 “Contemporary Chilean Students’ Protests: From Education as a Commodity to Education as a Social Right.” Paper presented at the 9th Annual Latino Communities Conference, West Chester University, West Chester.

2017 “The Chilean Winter at Five: Development, Achievements, and Challenges of the Student Movement.” Paper presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Montreal (with Javier Álvarez*).

2016 “‘Hope is the Last Thing You Lose:’ Motivated Reasoning and Continued Social Movement Participation” Paper presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Seattle.

2016 “A Mortgage Strike without a Crisis? Lessons from the Strategy of Chilean Debtors,” Paper presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Seattle.

2016 “Dealing with ‘Divide and Conquer’ when Struggling for Social Rights in Chile,” Paper presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Seattle (with Javier Álvarez*).

2016 “Challenges of the Movement for Education as a Social Right in Chile,” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston (with Javier Álvarez*).

2015 “Challenges of the Movement for the Right to Higher Education in Chile.” Paper presented at the XXXº Congreso de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Sociología, San José, Costa Rica (with Javier Álvarez*, in Spanish).

2015 “Peer Assessment of Individual Contributions to Group Projects: A Method to Encourage and Compute Valid Evaluations.” Paper presented at the IV Congreso Internacional de Evaluación en la Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile (in Spanish).

2015 “Class or Student Solidarity? Solidarities in Conflict in the Chilean Higher Education Student Movement.” Paper presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Chicago (with Javier Álvarez*).

2015 “‘Should I Trust the Bank or the Social Movement?’ Motivated Reasoning and Debtors’ Work to Believe Misinformation.” Paper presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Chicago.

2015 “The Rationalizing Subaltern: The Emotional Roots of Beliefs in Legitimacy.” Paper to be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, New York.

2014 “‘Ideology, Protest, and Party Politics: What We Can Learn from Strikes in Chile.” Paper presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco.

2014 “‘Mortgage Installments are Sacred:’ Normalizing and Breaking Normalized Consent to Mortgage Payment in Chile.” Paper presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Baltimore.

2013 “Confusion, Acquiescence and Resistance: The ‘Confusion Struggles’ among the Chilean State, Banks, and Mortgage-Debtors’ Movement.” Paper presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York.

2013 “Politicizing Debt in a Market Economy: The Chilean Social Housing Debtors’ Movement.” Paper presented at the ASA Comparative and Historical Sociology and Political Sociology sections’ Mini-conference “Capitalism, the Politics of Inequality, and Historical Change,” New York.

2013 “Strategies to Organize Debt Resistance: Lessons from the Chilean Public Housing Debtors’ Movement.” Paper presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston.

2012 “Strikes and Leaders’ Ideology: A Critique of Rational Choice Theories of Union-Government Interactions with Evidence from Chile.” Paper presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans.

2012 “Acceptance of Reasons or of the Speaker’s Authority? Habermas versus Bourdieu in the Light of Empirical Evidence.” Paper presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Denver.

2012 “Working-Class Political Consent and Resistance: An Ethnography of Public Housing Mortgage-Debtors in Chile.” Paper presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, New York.

2010 “The Class Locations of the Urban Informal Sector: Possibilities and Limitations of the Competing Marxian Theorizations on the Subject.” Paper presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston.

2010 “Power, Legitimacy, and Crisis: the Question of Historical Continuity in Bourdieu and Habermas.” Paper presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston.

2008 “‘Professional Authority’ and ‘Technocratic Authority:’ Rethinking of the Role of Expertise in Weber’s Typology of Legitimate Domination.” Paper presented at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Boston.