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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

Pierce Greenberg

Assistant Professor

Office: 132 Brackett Hall



Educational Background

Ph.D. Sociology
Washington State University 2018

M.A. Sociology
Washington State University 2015

B.S. Journalism
Belmont University 2011

Courses Taught

Environmental Sociology


Pierce Greenberg is a sociologist who studies spatial inequality--the question of "who gets what where and why?" Much of this work revolves around the concept of environmental inequality--how environmental goods and bads are unequally distributed across space. This work includes conducting geographic analysis to determine the existence and extent of environmental inequality as well as survey research that sheds light on how individuals perceive risks to environmental hazards. The primary site of his research has been in the coal mining region of Appalachia. He has also applied this spatial perspective to other social issues such as vaccine refusal and racial segregation. His research has appeared in American Sociological Review, Environmental Sociology, Rural Sociology, Social Science Research, Energy and Social Science. Prior to joining Clemson, he worked as an assistant professor at Creighton University.

Research Interests

Environmental Sociology, Rural Sociology, Spatial Inequality, GIS, Survey Research Methodology

Research Publications

Greenberg, Pierce and Don A. Dillman. 2023. “Mail Communications and Survey Response: A Test of Social Exchange vs. Pre-suasion Theory for Improving Response Rates and Data Quality.” Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology. 11(1): 1-22.

Greenberg, Pierce. 2023. “Sites of Ambivalence?: Conflicting Attitudes Towards Coal in Southern West Virginia.” Environmental Justice. 16(1): 19-28.

Downey, Sean, Pierce Greenberg, and Mary Ann Vinton. 2022. “Explaining Resident Attitudes Towards Wind Energy Development in the Sandhills.” Great Plains Research. 32(1): 57-68.

Estep, Kevin and Pierce Greenberg. 2020. “Opting Out: Individualism and Vaccine Refusal in Pockets of Socioeconomic Homogeneity.” American Sociological Review. 85(6): 957-991.

Greenberg, Pierce. 2020. “Risk perceptions and the maintenance of environmental injustice in Appalachia.” Environmental Sociology. 6(1): 54-67.

Katano, Yohei, Pierce Greenberg, and Jon Agnone. 2020. “Traditional or Economic Values? Analyzing Absentee Landowner Attitudes Amid Social and Agricultural Transformation in Japan.” Rural Sociology. 85(3): 683-705.

Greenberg, Pierce and Dylan Bugden. 2019. “Energy consumption boomtowns in the United States: Community responses to a cryptocurrency boom.” Energy Research and Social Science 50 (April 2019): 162-167.

Greenberg, Pierce. 2018. “Coal Waste, Socioeconomic Change, and Environmental Inequality in Appalachia: Implications for a Just Transition in Coal Country.” Society and Natural Resources. 31(9): 995-1011.

Liévanos, Raoul, Pierce Greenberg, and W. Ryan Wishart. 2018. “In the Shadow of Production: Coal Waste Accumulation and Environmental Inequality Formation in Eastern Kentucky.” Social Science Research. 71(March 2018): 37-55.

Greenberg, Pierce. 2017. “Disproportionality and Resource-Based Environmental Inequality: An Analysis of Neighborhood Proximity to Coal Impoundments in Appalachia.” Rural Sociology. 82(1): 149-178.

Greenberg, Pierce. 2016. “Spatial Inequality and Uneven Rural Development: The Local Stratification of Poverty in Appalachia.” Journal of Appalachian Studies. 22(2): 187-209.

Greenberg, Pierce. 2016. “Strengthening Sociological Research Through Public Records Requests.” Social Currents. 3(2): 110-117.

Honors and Awards

2021 - Eliot Friedson Outstanding Publication Award, Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. (With Kevin Estep)

2020 - The President's Distinguished Curriculum Innovation and Pedagogical Research Grant, Creighton University

2019 - BD2K Data Science Innovation Lab Participant, National Institutes of Health

2018-19 - Anne E. Casey Foundation Rural Poverty Research Fellow


NPR's Short Wave Podcast: The Environmental Cost of Crypto

StoryMap: A primer on pollution from the AltEn plant in Mead, Nebraska.

StoryMap: Delaying the Eviction Wave: An evaluation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Omaha.

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
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