Professor Baumann is chair and associate professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. His main area of expertise is the sociological study of the media, culture, and the arts. He regularly teaches undergraduate courses on the mass media, with an emphasis on media controversies, marketing, and recent developments in theory and evidence regarding media effects. At the graduate level, he has taught a seminar on the sociology of culture and has co-taught the department's required Doctoral Research Practicum, a second-year PhD course that helps students develop their own research projects for publication. His research centres on the key concepts of evaluation, legitimacy, status, cultural schemas, and inequality. Regarding his most recent work, he is finishing a project on television commercials that explores how the content of television commercials reveals cultural schemas about race, gender, and age. This quantitative analysis of advertising content seeks to uncover patters across a large sample of commercials as a way of measuring conceptions about social groups that are difficult to measure more directly. This project also employs qualitative analysis of advertising content to identify cultural schemas about mothers’ consumption and the consumption of older adults. In addition to recently published work, he has a paper forthcoming in the Canadian Review of Sociology from this project, another paper under review, and a chapter forthcoming in an edited book. These papers are co-authored with graduate students.
He also continues to work, with Josée Johnston, on the sociology of food. Within the last five years, they have published a book with Routledge called Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape, a paper in Gender & Society, and several book chapters. Currently, they are together revising Foodies for a second edition. Other work in this area includes a paper on the motivations for organic, local, and farmers’ market food consumption (currently under review), and an analysis of the food choices of people with especially low economic and cultural capital.
Another paper currently underway is a study of the framing of economic inequality in news articles, with a special focus on the impact of the Occupy Movement on public discourse on inequality. In addition, he is an associate editor of Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on the Arts, Media, and Culture until 2015.
Baumann, Shyon, and Loretta Ho. Forthcoming. “Cultural Schemas for Racial Identity in Canadian Television Advertising.” Canadian Review of Sociology.
Baumann, Shyon, and Kim de Laat. 2012. “Socially defunct: A comparative analysis of the underrepresentation of older women in advertising.” Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media, and the Arts 40:514-541.
Cairns, Kate, Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann. October 2010. “Caring about Food: Doing Gender in the Foodie Kitchen,” Gender & Society. Vol 24 (5): 591-615.
Johnston, Josée, and Shyon Baumann. 2015 . Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape. New York: Routledge. Cultural Spaces Series. 2nd edition.
Professor Baumann received a B.A. in sociology from McGill University in 1994 and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University in 2001. He lectured in sociology at Harvard for one year before joining the sociology department at the University of Toronto in 2002.