Center for Social Science Research
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Amy L Best

Amy L Best

Amy L Best


Sociology of everyday life, social inequalities, feminist and qualitative approaches to social research, youth and gender, sociology of food

Amy L. Best is Professor of Sociology and Chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University. Her research focuses on the study of youth identity formation, youth well-being, and social inequalities, with a particular interest in how gender, ethnicity, sexuality, race and class differently shape the social experiences of contemporary American youth. She is interested in qualitative and feminist approaches to social research. Best is author of Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture (2000 Routledge), which was selected for the 2002 American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award and Fast Cars: Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars (NYU Press 2006), and editor of Representing Youth: Methodological Issues in Critical Youth Studies. (NYU Press, 2007). Her forthcoming book is Fast Food Kids: French Fries, Lunch Lines and Social Ties (NYU Press, 2017).


Selected Publications

Recent articles and book chapters:
Best, Amy L. 2014. “Youth consumers and the fast-food market: The emotional landscape of micro-encounters, Situations as guide for action.” Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research 18:2 (283-300).
“Racing Men: Boys, Risk and the Politics of Race” 2014. reprinted in The Urban Ethnography Reader.  Eds. Mitchell Duneier and Philip Kasinitz, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Best, Amy L. 2013. “Racing Men: Cars, Identity and Performativity” Blackwell’s A Companion to Sport. David Andrews and Ben Carrington (eds.) New York: Blackwell-Wiley.
Johnson, J.L. and Amy Best. 2012. “Radical Normals:  The Moral Career of Straight Parents as Public Advocates for their Gay Children.” Symbolic Interaction 35:3 (321-339).
Best, Amy L. 2011. “Youth Identity Formation: Contemporary Identity Work.” Sociology Compass 5:10 (908-922).

Courses Taught

Qualitative Research Methods
Youth Culture and Society
Micro Sociology


Dissertations Supervised

Virginia D’Antonio, “Vetting” The American Dream: Nostalgia, Social Capital and Corvette Communities (2017)

Jeffrey Johnson, “Meet Them Where They Are”: Social Movement Communication in a Culture of Personal Politics (2017)

Randall Lynn, Hardware, Software, and "Peopleware": Educational Technology and Embedded Struggles in U.S. High Schools (2016)

Kathleen Kerstetter, School Reform, Care Work, and Social Reproduction in Two Public Elementary Schools (2016)

Sara Moore, The Moral Landscape of Modern Motherhood: Ideology, Identity, and the Making of Mothers (2013)