Dr. David Peters

Associate Professor [SOC A]
Dept:Sociology - AGLS
Office:304 East Hall
510 Farm House Ln
Ames IA
Vita:Dr. David Peters CV
Topics of interest: Economic and workforce development, Poverty and Inequality, Quantitative and spatial methods

My broad area of research is regional and rural development, where I take an interdisciplinary approach by using theories and methods from sociology, economics, and geography. The fields of study that most closely match my research are rural sociology, regional science, and applied economics. My theoretical orientation is the theory of structuration, which views societies through the interaction between macro-level social structures and micro-level agents. However, much of my work focuses on structure rather than agency. My methodological approach is positivist, primarily using statistical and other quantitative methods to answer research questions using both primary and secondary data. As a result, my research and teaching responsibilities are highly integrated in terms of methods. 

My primary research areas include: (1) spatial inequality and economic restructuring; (2) human dimensions of agriculture and the green economy; and (3) community and methods dimensions of criminology. A secondary research area is applied rural development and extension practice, which is more closely related to my extension responsibilities. There are three themes that unite these disparate research areas. First, I focus on meso-scale places and counties, rather than on macro-scale states and nations. Second, I focus on applying quantitative methods to consistent and comprehensive secondary data, rather than applying qualitative methods to case study data. Lastly, I focus on the economic shift away from an industrial economy to a post-industrial one to understand how this affects job opportunities for the poor, former prisoners, and those engaged in agriculture.

My teaching focuses on courses in quantitative methods, rural communities, and globalization and development.

Education and Experience

Ph.D. in rural sociology awarded by the University of Missouri - Columbia in 2006, with the dissertation Understanding Rural Poverty Clusters: The Intersection of Agriculture, Economic Structure and Locality Under Postindustrialism. M.S. awarded by the University of Missouri - Columbia; and B.S. awarded cum laude from theUniversity of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Studied urban and regional affairs at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Prior to joining the Iowa State faculty in 2008, I was an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2006-2008 where my focus was on rural development and bioeconomy issues. I also have extensive experience in applied research, having worked for six years with the research division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development providing support to economic and workforce development officials. Prior to this, I worked for three years as a research analyst for the Rural Policy Research Institute and the Community Policy Analysis Center at the University of Missouri - Columbia.