Kelly M. Thames, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelly Thames is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from North Carolina State University and holds an M.S. in Sociology and a B.A. in Criminology from North Carolina State University. Guided by her passion for criminological theory construction and theory testing and her commitment to issues of social justice, her current research primarily explores the effects of global neoliberalization on cross-national rates of violent crime.  More specifically, Dr. Thames is interested in investigating the relationship between neoliberal shifts in social welfare policy and rates of criminal behavior in a variety of political contexts, including western democratic and post-communist countries.  Dr. Thames is also interested in the relationship between crime and public perceptions of social justice in the wake of welfare retrenchment.  


 Courses Taught

  • Criminology
  • Social Deviance
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Corrections
  • Communities and Crime
  • Punishment and Social Control
  • Propaganda, Media, and Society
  • The Sociological Perspective
  • Sociology of Law
  • Crime, Law and Deviance in the European Union

Research Interests

  • Criminological Theory
  • Cross-National Crime
  • Mass Violence
  • Social Control 
  • Theory Construction
  • Inequality (Race, Class, and Gender)
  • Sociological Theory
  • Quantitative Research Methods (Big Data Analysis, Decomposition/”Hybrid” Panel Analysis, Hierarchical Linear Modeling)

Recent Publications

Russell, David, Kelly M. Thames, Naomi J. Spence, and Callie Koeval. 2020. “Where the Fault Lies: Representations of Addiction in Audience Reactions to Media Coverage of the Opioid Epidemic.” Contemporary Drug Problems. 47:83-102. DOI: 10.1177/0091450920929102

Russell, David, Naomi J. Spence, and Kelly M. Thames. 2019. “’It's So Scary How Common This is Now:’ Frames in Media Coverage of the Opioid Epidemic by Ohio Newspapers and Themes in Facebook User Reactions.” Information, Communication,
and Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2019.1566393.

Perdue, Robert Todd, James Hawdon, and Kelly M. Thames. 2018. “Can Big Data Predict the Rise of Novel Drug Abuse?” The Journal of Drug Issues. DOI: 10.1177/0022042618772294.

Thames, Kelly M. and Patricia L. McCall. 2014. “A Longitudinal Examination of the Effects of Social Support on Homicide Across European Regions.” International Journal of Conflict and Violence 8:234-261.

Ray, Bradley, Cindy B. Dollar, and Kelly M. Thames. 2011. “Observations of Reintegrative Shaming in a Mental Health Court.International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 34:49-55.  

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Department of Sociology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6387

Office address
202B Chapell Wilson Hall


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