Kenneth I. Spenner

Kenneth I. Spenner

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

External address: 
268I Soc-Psych, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90088, Durham, NC 27708-0088
(919) 660-5625


My current research involves a multi-year panel study of racial and ethnic differences in academic performance. A substantial body of research documents a gap in performance among different groups, yet the reasons why are only partly clear. Our research design follows two cohorts of Duke University undergraduates, the incoming classes of 2001 and 2002, surveyed before coming to Duke and approximately, annualy thereafter until exit from Duke. Empirical comparisons examine differential in human, cultural and social capital, negative stereotyping and identity dynamics, social networks, and residential, social and academic climates as these evolve during the undergraduate years.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1977

Featherman, D. L., and K. I. Spenner. “Class and the socialization of children: constancy or change?.” Edited by E. M. Hetherington, R. Lerner, and M. Perlmutter. Child Development in Life Span Perspective, 1987, 67–90.

Spenner, K. I. “Review of Career Choice and Development by D. Brown, L. Brooks, and Associates.” Contemporary Sociology, November 1985.

Spenner, K. I., and L. B. Otto. “Work and self-concept: selection and socialization in the early career.” Edited by A. Kerckhoff. Research in Sociology of Education and Socialization 5 (1985): 197–235.

Spenner, Kenneth I. “Deciphering Prometheus: Temporal Change in the Skill Level of Work.” American Sociological Review 48, no. 6 (December 1983): 824–824. Full Text

Spenner, K. I. “Work, Jobs, and Occupations: A Critical Review of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.” Sociology of Work and Occupations., 1983.

Occupations, role characteristics and intergenerational transmission.” Sociology of Work and Occupations 8 (1981): 89–112.

Spenner, Kenneth I. “Occupational Characteristics and Classification Systems.” Sociological Methods & Research 9, no. 2 (November 1980): 239–64. Full Text

Spenner, Kenneth I. “Temporal Changes in Work Content.” American Sociological Review 44, no. 6 (December 1979): 968–968. Full Text