Professor Mario Venegas

  • Assistant Professor of Sociology
  •  PhD, Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
  • MA, Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
  • BS, Sociology, Boise State University 

Contact Information


Areas of Expertise:

 Social Movements, Political Sociology, Race and Ethnic Politics, Historical Sociology

Academic Interests:

Research: As a political sociologist, my research examines how activists navigate the internal politics of social movements, particularly how they handle episodes of inequality and power dynamics within their organizations. In my dissertation, entitled “Organizing in the Trenches: Philosophies of Organizing and Accountability in Movement Politics,” I reveal how styles of activism shape the tactics activists use to address these problems in three case studies of social movements in Texas: LGBTQ movements in Central Texas; two public sector unions that organize state and municipal employees in North and Central Texas; and the Chicano movement during the 1960s-1970s in San Antonio. I draw on in-depth interviews and archives to document a history of the present.

My research agenda builds on my dissertation by connecting racial-ethnic political movements, whether in labor unions or in community organizations, with the role of organizing philosophies and tactics to build political and social power. In the course of documenting these movements, I seek to contribute in creating an archive of various activists in labor and community that will document struggles today as they respond to economic, political, and social conditions in their lives.

Teaching: My experience in historical and field methods shapes my pedagogy in teaching a history of the present. That is, I connect the past with events in the present and seek to understand larger social phenomena and politics through a broader historical point of view. As a political sociologist, I teach students to make connections between the personal challenges in their everyday lives and the systemic, political, practical, and material forces that shape these circumstances. I introduce students to specific concepts and theories that allow them to explore issues of inequality, rituals of power, politics in everyday life, and the contested nature of social movements and other forms of resistance. A key element of my approach to teaching in liberal arts education is my commitment to developing a sociological imagination that bridges the personal to the political, the past to the present, and the abstract to the concrete. To me, writing is one of most powerful ways to develop this imagination, as writing enables students to express their thoughts and emotions, forge them into arguments, and present them. Writing is a way to be in communication with those who passed, and those whose thought endure the test of time.

Courses Offered:

  • SOCI 263: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
  •  SOCI 300: Sociological Research Methods
  • SOCI 382: Social Movements and Collective Behavior

Selected Papers and Publications:

  • Venegas, Mario. 2020. “Tactical Warfare and Movement Building: Alinskyism and Tactical Dexterity in the Texas Chicano Movement, 1965-1978”.
  •  Venegas, Mario. 2020. “Between Community and Sectarianism: Calling out and Negotiated Discipline in Prefigurative Politics”.
  • Venegas, Mario. 2019. Review of Sina Kramer, “Excluded Within: The (Un)Intelligibility of Radical Political Actors.” Social Forces 98(1), September 2019:1-3.
  •  Venegas, Mario. 2013. “The Racialized Experiences of Video Games.” McNair Scholars Research Journal 9 (1), Article 14.