David Schweingruber


David Schweingruber is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University. His research, in the symbolic interactionist tradition, is concerned with the cultural and cognitive premises that guide social behavior in a variety of settings, including formal organizations, political demonstrations, and romantic events.

His current research projects include an investigation of human nature discourse, a study of Christian faculty members at public universities, and ongoing research on engagement proposals.

He regularly teaches large sections of Introduction to Sociology.

Schweingruber received his Ph.D. in sociology in 1999 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he wrote a dissertation on the training and organization of door-to-door salespersons.

A native of Bluffton, Ohio, Schweingruber graduated from Bluffton High School (’86) and Bluffton College (’90). He received his master’s degree in sociology from the University of Illinois in 1993.

Schweingruber and his wife, Nancy Berns, live in Ames, Iowa, where they are members of Trinity Christian Reformed Church. Nancy is professor of sociology at Drake University. She is the author of Closure: The Rush and End Grief and What It Costs Us and blogs at the Closure Blog. They have two daughters, Lydia and Chloe.


David Schweingruber

Department of Sociology

318 East Hall

Ames, Iowa 50011




Undergrad Courses

Introduction to Sociology

Soc 134

  1. Syllabus (Spring 2015)

Social Problems

Soc 235 (on-line)

  1. Syllabus (Summer ’15)

Social Dimensions of Religion

Soc/Relig 377

  1. Syllabus (Spring 2009)

Sex & Gender in Society

Soc 327

  1. Syllabus (Fall 2011)

Contemporary Sociology Theories

Soc 401

  1. Syllabus (Spring 2006)

Graduate Courses

Symbolic Interactionism

Soc 525C

  1. Syllabus (Fall 2013)

  2. Reading guide

Contemporary Sociological Theory

Soc 607

  1. Syllabus (Spring 2015)

Religion and Its Connections to Family & Gender

Soc 675

  1. Syllabus (Spring 2007)

2004 Riot Task Force

Final report

Final report (with appendices)

Working group report on the social science of riots

Selected Papers

Door-to-Door Sales

Schweingruber, David, and Nancy Berns. 2003. “Doing Money Work in a Door-to-Door Sales Organization.”Symbolic Interaction 26(3):447-471. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David, and Nancy Berns. 2005. “Shaping the Selves of Young Salespeople through Emotion Management.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 34(6):679-706. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David. 2006. “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude? The Role of Positive Thinking in Door-to-Door Sales.” The Sociological Quarterly 47(1):41-68. (PDF)

Schweingruber. David. 2006. “The Why, What and How of Selling Door-to-Door: Levels of Purpose and Perception in a Sales Company.” Chapter 4 in Kent McCelland and Thomas J. Fararo (eds.) Perception, Meaning, and Action: Control Systems Theories in Sociology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (PDF)

Sociology Textbooks

Best, Joel, and David Schweingruber. 2003. “First Words: Do Sociologists Actually Use the Terms in Introductory Textbooks’ Glossaries?” The American Sociologist 34(3):97-106. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David. 2005. “Looking for the Core in the Wrong Place.”Teaching Sociology 33(1):81-89. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David, and Ron Wohlstein. 2005. “The Madding Crowd Goes to School: Myths about Crowds in Introductory Sociology Textbooks.” Teaching Sociology 33(2): 136-153. (PDF)

Family Violence

Cast, Alicia D., David Schweingruber and Nancy Berns. 2006. “Childhood Physical Punishment and Problem Solving in Marriage.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21(2):244-261. (PDF)

Berns, Nancy, and David Schweingruber. 2007. “When You’re Involved, It’s Just Different’: Making Sense of Domestic Violence.” Violence Against Women 13(3):240-261. (PDF)

Engagement Proposals

Schweingruber, David, Sine Anahita and Nancy Berns. 2004. “‘Popping the Question’ When the Answer is Known: The Engagement Proposal as Performance.” Sociological Focus 37(2):143-161. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David, Alicia D. Cast, and Sine Anahita. 2008. “‘A Story and a Ring’: Audience Judgments about Engagement Proposals.” Sex Roles 58:165-178. (PDF)

Crowds, Demonstrations & Riots

McPhail, Clark, David Schweingruber and John McCarthy. 1998. “Policing Protest in the United States: 1960-1995.” Pp. 49-69 in della Porta, Donatella and Herbert Reiter (eds.)Policing Protest: The Control of Mass Demonstrations in Western Democracies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (PDF)

McPhail, Clark, and David Schweingruber. 1998. “Unpacking Protest Events: A Description Bias Analysis of Media Records with Systematic Direct Observations of Collective Action—The 1995 March for Life in Washington, D.C.” Pp. 164–195 in Rucht, Dieter, Rudd Koopmans and Friedhelm Neidhardt (eds.) Acts of Dissent: New Developments in the Study of Protest. Berlin: Sigma Press. (PDF)

Tucker, Charles, David Schweingruber and Clark McPhail. 1999. “Simulating Arcs and Rings in Gatherings.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 50:581-588. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David, and Clark McPhail. 1999. “A Method for Systematically Observing and Recording Collective Action.” Sociological Methods and Research 27(4):451-498. (PDF)

Schweingruber, David. 2000. “Mob Sociology and Escalated Force: Sociology's Contribution to Repressive Police Tactics.” The Sociological Quarterly 41(3):371-389. (PDF)