Jaime Kucinskas is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hamilton College, and is also a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland – College Park from 2018-2019. Broadly speaking, her teaching and research interests center on the intersections of: the sociology of religion/spirituality, social movements, cultural and organizational change, elites, and inequality. In particular, she is fascinated by how people, even those with various privileges, can impact and yet be constrained by different institutions.
Her book The Mindful Elite investigates how Buddhist modernist meditators transformed meditation in America into a mainstream practice embraced by esteemed secular organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, Ivy League schools, hospitals, the U.S. military, and K-12 schools. Her work contributes to scholarship on social movements, institutional change, and field theory by identifying various ways actors and movements use consensus-based tactics—rather than confrontation and protest as much of the research on movements and contentious politics suggests—to build a new multi-institutional contemplative field and legitimize meditation.
In other scholarship on spirituality, Kucinskas examines the many ways transcendent spiritual and meaningful states are influenced by different physical places, activities, and social contexts.
Lastly, Kucinskas’s new work examines how federal civil servants respond to times of rapid change in leadership and organizational goals.