About David




David Diehl is Assistant Professor of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. David received his PhD in the sociology of education from Stanford University and was a postdoctoral associate at the Duke Network Analysis Center. In various ways Dr. Diehl’s research focuses on how the opportunity structures and cultural logics of schools and school practices shape, and are in turn shaped by, social networks and relationships. He is especially interested in how these dynamics play out during school change efforts as reformers attempt to instantiate contested moral ideals about how teachers and students ought to live and learn together. 

To this end, his work has focused on issues such as: how differences in organizational contexts can explain varying levels of segregation, hierarchy and clustering in adolescent school networks; using streaming discourse  data to model variation in classroom interactional order in terms of the dynamic relationship between activity structures and forms of talk; and a case study of a failed small school reform explained in terms of the difficulty not of changing teachers’ minds about their practice, but rather the structural and phenomenological nature of their relationships with each other and with their students. 

 Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods, Dr. Diehl works at the intersection of network analysis, interactionism and organizational theory. Recent publications include: “Toward a Historical Sociology of Situations” in the American Journal of Sociology; “Classroom Ordering and the Situational Imperatives of Routine and Ritual” in Sociology of Education; and “Methodological Transactionalism and the Sociology of Education,” in the edited volume Frontiers in Sociology of Education.