photo of Brian Steensland

Learn more about my book Photo The Failed Welfare Revolution

Brian Steensland

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Adjunct Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Ballantine 744
(812) 856-0447


Ph.D., Princeton University, 2002

Research Interests

Professional Biography

My research interests include politics, religion, culture, and inequality in American society. My current research projects focus on religious views of the economy and free markets in mid-twentieth-century America, contemporary faith-based anti-poverty efforts, and political contention over morality and values. My book The Failed Welfare Revolution examines the rise and fall of guaranteed income policies as a strategy to reform the American welfare system in the 1960s and 1970s. Based on original research in presidential archives as well as quantitative analyses of media coverage, it highlights the role that cultural factors played in shaping anti-poverty policy.


Courses Recently Taught

Publication Highlights


The Failed Welfare Revolution: America's Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy. (Princeton University Press, 2008)

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

"Why Do Policy Frames Change? Actor-Idea Coevolution in Debates over Welfare Reform." Social Forces 86:1027-1054, 2008.

"Cultural Categories and the American Welfare State: The Case of Guaranteed Income Policy." American Journal of Sociology 111:1273-1326, 2006.

The Hydra and the Swords: Social Welfare and Mainline Advocacy, 1964-2000." Pp. 213-36 The Quiet Hand of God: Faith-based Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism, edited by Robert Wuthnow and John H. Evans. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. 2002

"The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art." Social Forces 79:291-318. 2000.(Lead author, with Jerry Z. Park, Mark D. Regnerus, Lynn D. Robinson, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Robert D. Woodberry)


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