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Faculty Profile

Miguel Centellas

Sociology & Anthropology
CROFT INSTRUCTIONAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY
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561 LAMAR HALL
UNIVERSITY, MS 38677
(662) 915-7421
Joined UM: August 20, 2015

Areas of Expertise

  • COMPARATIVE POLITICS
  • CURRICULUM DESIGN
  • LATIN AMERICA
  • POLITICAL SCIENCE
  • POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY
  • QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
  • QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH

Brief Bio

Although my PhD is in comparative politics, I trained broadly in political sociology. My dissertation analyzed Bolivia's unexpected political stability in the 1980s and 1990s (compared to its Andean neighbors Ecuador and Peru), and how reforms aimed at improving democratic governance contributed to a cycle of instability in the early 2000s that eventually led to the 2005 election of Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous president. Since then, my research uses the Bolivian case to explore the relationship between democratization and political identity at the subnational level, and the role played by institutional and socioeconomic factors in that relationship. Overall, my work seeks to explore not only how democracies "work" (the kratos question), but also how political communities are established (the demos question). Although my expertise is in Bolivian politics, my interests extend beyond Latin America. In a paper in Political Analysis, my co-author Mihaiela Gugiu and I critique a number of democracy scores commonly used in cross-national research. Using a sample of 63 countries in Latin America and Europe across three decades, we established that existing democracy scores vary significantly and are only able to distinguish between democracies and non-democracies: they could not credibly evaluate different levels of democratic quality. Additionally, I am interested in the pedagogy of social science education. I have presented papers and offered workshops on how to integrate research methodology training into "content" courses, and have published research on the pedagogical value of simulations and critical writing exercises. My recent interest is in developing assessment tools to evaluate the impact of social science curricula on the development of "soft skills" and behaviors or attitudes (such as social capital and efficacy) among students.

Degrees

BA
Political Science
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERISTY, MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (1997)
MA
Political Science
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY/ KALAMAZOO, MI (1999)
PhD
Political Science
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY/ KALAMAZOO, MI (2007)