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Name: Brian Obach
Academic Rank: Associate Professor
Department: Sociology

Expertise Keywords: Environmental movement, Environmentalism, Globalization, Labor movement, Labor unions, Organic agriculture, Organic farming, Organic movement, Organized labor, Protests, Social movement coalitions, Social movements, Sustainable agriculture, Unions

Available For: interviews, essays, speaking

Expertise: Brian Obach's main research focus is on social movements with an emphasis on labor unions and the environmental movement. He is the author of "Labor and the Environmental Movement: The Quest for Common Ground" (MIT Press 2004) as well as several journal articles on social movements. He is currently conducting research funded by the National Science Foundation on the organic agriculture movement.

Currrent Research: labor unions, the environmental movement, globalization, the organic agriculture/sustainable agriculture movement

Contact Information

Office Phone: 845-257-3447
E-mail Address:
Home Phone: 845-255-7492
Communication & Marketing: 845-257-3245


SUNY Oswego 1984-87
SUNY Albany 1987-1989 BA 1989 Political Science
University of Wisconsin, Madison 1991-2000 MA, PhD 2000 Sociology


Levin Fellowship for Turkey-United States Professional Exchange, 2010

National Science Foundation Grant: “Coalition Dynamics and Strategic Innovation in the Organic Movement.” $85,000. 2006-2008.

Honorable Mention, Collective Behavior and Social Movements Distinguished Book Award, American Sociological Association, 2005

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant, 1997: funding for doctoral dissertation research on labor-environmental coalition building

Organizational Memberships

American Sociological Association, Eastern Sociological Society, United University Professions



Labor and the Environmental Movement: The Quest for Common Ground. 2004. Cambridge: MIT Press

Peer Reviewed Articles:

“Capitalism, State Economic Policy and Ecological Footprint: An International Comparative Analysis” (with Serife Ilgu Ozler). Global Environmental Politics. Vol. 9, No. 1, 2009, Pp. 79-108.

“Consumption, Ecological Footprints and Global Inequality: A Lesson in Individual and Structural Components of Environmental Problems. Teaching Sociology. Vol. 37, No. 3, July 2009, 294-300.

“Theoretical Interpretations of the Growth in Organic Agriculture: Agricultural Modernization or an Organic Treadmill?” Society and Natural Resources Vol. 20, No. 3, 2007, Pp. 229-44.

“New Labor: Slowing the Treadmill of Production?” Organization and Environment. Vol. 17, No. 3, September, 2004, Pp. 337-354.

"Barriers to Collective Action: A Classroom Simulation," Teaching Sociology. Vol. 31, July 2003, Pp. 1-7.

"Labor-Environmental Relations: An Analysis of the Relationship between Labor Unions and Environmentalists," Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 1, March 2002, Pp. 82-100.

"Teaching about Institutional Discrimination and the Controversies of Affirmative Action," Teaching Sociology Vol. 28, No. 1, January 2000, Pp. 50-55.

"Demonstrating the Social Construction of Race," Teaching Sociology Vol. 27, No. 3, July 1999, Pp. 252-57.

"The Wisconsin Labor-Environmental Network: A Case Study of Coalition Formation among Organized Labor and the Environmental Movement," Organization and Environment Vol. 12, No. 1, March 1999, Pp. 45-74.

Book Chapters

“Political Opportunity and Social Movement Coalitions: The Role of Policy Segmentation and Non-Profit Tax Law.” In Strategic Alliances: New Studies of Social Movement Coalitions, Nella Van Dyke and Holly McCammon, eds. University of Minnesota Press. 2010.

“Labor and the Environment” in Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology, Kenneth Gould and Tammy L. Lewis, eds.New York: Oxford University Press. 2009.

Agriculture Supporting Community in the Mid-Hudson Region. Discussion Brief #5. Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach. State University of New York at New Paltz. Spring 2011.

"Mobilizing Unions for Environmental Protection," Renewable Resources Journal Vol. 22, No. 3, Autumn 2004, Pp. 11-15.

"Minimum wage" The Encyclopedia of New York State. 2005.

Book Reviews:
Blue-Green Coalitions: Fighting for Safe Workplaces and Healthy Communities.In American Journal of Sociology.Vol. 115, No. 4., 2010.Forthcoming.

Making a Living: Work and Environment in the United States. In Environmental History.Vol. 14, No. 2, Pp. 378-79, April, 2009.

The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements. In Mobilization: An International Journal. Vol. 9, No. 2, 212-213, 2004.

On the Edge of Scarcity: Environment, Resources, Population, Sustainability and Conflict. In Contemporary Sociology. Vol. 32, No. 6, 734-36, November, 2003.

Coalitions Across the Class Divide: Lessons from the Labor, Peace and Environmental Movements. In Mobilization: An International Journal. Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2001.