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Curtis Child

Department Chair; Associate Professor
Current Faculty

I am an associate professor of sociology at Brigham Young University. I study nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and the legal, cultural, and moral boundaries that separate the two sectors, including how people think about efforts to address social problems. In recent projects, I have investigated the fair trade and socially responsible investing industries, how entrepreneurs choose between nonprofit and for-profit forms, and social movement activism in the apparel industry during the 1990s.

I am also interested in the morals/markets branch of economic sociology. One of my current projects examines how friends and families negotiate relationships in the context of direct selling (sometimes referred to as multi-level marketing).

Here are my Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles.

I teach courses in economic sociology and qualitative research methods.

Selected Publications:

Child, Curtis and Eva Witesman. 2023. “The Social Meanings of the Third Sector: How Action and Purpose Shape Everyday Understandings of ‘Nonprofit’.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Witesman, Eva M., Christ Silvia, and Curtis Child. 2022. “The Enduring Role of Sector: Citizen Preferences in Mixed Markets.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

Child, Curtis. 2021, “How to Sell a Friend: Disinterest as Relational Work in Direct Sales.” Sociological Science.

Child, Curtis. 2020. “Whence Paradox? Framing Away the Potential Challenges of Doing Well by Doing Good 
in Social Enterprise Organizations.” Organization Studies. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

Witesman, Eva M., Curtis Child, and Breck Wightman. 2019. “Sector Choice and Sector Regret.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Child, Curtis and Eva M. Witesman. 2019. “Optimism and Bias When Evaluating a Prosocial Initiative.” Social Science Quarterly.

Child, Curtis. 2016. “Tip of the Iceberg: The Nonprofit Underpinnings of For-Profit Social Enterprise.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

* See my shorter commentary on Sage’s “Social Science Space,” here.
* See also a modified version at Nonprofit Quarterly, here.

Child, Curtis, Benjamin G. Gibbs, and Kristie Rowley. 2016. “Paying for Success: An Appraisal of Social Impact Bonds.” Global Economics and Management Review. 

Child, Curtis, Eva Witesman, Robert Spencer. 2016. “The Blurring Hypothesis Reconsidered: How Sector Still Matters to Practitioners.” Voluntas. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

Nelson, Kyle and Curtis Child. 2016. “Adding the Organizational Perspective: How Organizations Shape Service Work Abroad.” Voluntas. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

Lovell, Erik, Ke’ala Cabulagan, John McMullin, Brent Hutchison, and Curtis Child. 2015. “Homelessness and the High Performance Cycle: A New Lens for Studying Exit Strategies.” Journal of Social Service Research.

Child, Curtis. 2015. “Mainstreaming and Its Discontents: Fair Trade, Socially Responsible Investing, and Industry Trajectories.” Journal of Business Ethics. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

Child, Curtis. 2015. “Bulwarks against Market Pressures: Value Rationality in the For-profit Pursuit of Social Missions.Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

Child, Curtis, Eva Witesman, and David Braudt. 2015. “Sector Choice: How Fair Trade Entrepreneurs Choose Between Nonprofit and For-Profit Forms.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. (Here is a pre-publication version.)

Bartley, Tim and Curtis Child. 2014. “Shaming the Corporation: Reputation, Globalization, and the Dynamics of Anti-Corporate Movements.” American Sociological Review.

Bartley, Tim and Curtis Child. 2012. “Movements, Markets, and Fields: The Effects of Anti-Sweatshop Campaigns on U.S. Firms, 1993-2000.” Social Forces.

Child, Curtis. 2012. “Chasing the Double-Bottom Line: Fair Trade and the Elusive Win- Win.” In Social Enterprises: An Organizational Perspective, edited by B. Gidron and H. Hasenfeld.

Child, Curtis. 2010. “Whither the Turn? The Ambiguous Nature of Nonprofits’ Commercial Revenues.” Social Forces.

Child, Curtis D. and Kirsten A. Grønbjerg. 2007. “Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations: Their Characteristics and Activities.” Social Science Quarterly.