- Associate Professor of Sociology
- Director, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies Program
- BA in sociology, The George Washington University (1997)
- MPhil in sociology, Oxford University (1999)
- PhD in sociology, University of California, Berkeley (2008)
Professor Mattson’s research investigates the public regulation of private pleasures, especially how communities try to control sexuality or alcohol. His work has appeared in Urban Studies, The American Journal of Cultural Sociology, City & Community, and the Annual Review of Sociology, among others.
- SOCI 203. Sociology of Sexuality
- SOCI 499. Honors Research Seminar
- The Cultural Politics of European Prostitution Reform: Governing Loose Women (Palgrave, 2016).
I have employed undergraduate research assistants to help on my book project and articles. This book analyzes recent European conflicts over prostitution regulation, research that was funded in part by a Fulbright Scholarship to the European Union and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
- Currently, Professor Libby Murphy and I are engaged in curating a digital humanities archive about prostitution in early 19th century Paris.
Mattson Essay on Artificial Intelligence and "Gayface" Widely QuotedSeptember 20, 2017
Associate Professor of Sociology Greggor Mattson's critique of a study about face recognition technology and sexual orientation was widely quoted. The study, conducted by two researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Business, claimed that artificial intelligence could detect gay and lesbian faces more accurately than humans and was evidence of a prenatal hormonal cause of homosexuality. Mattson critiqued the methods used to train the algorithms, the outdated concepts that motivated them, and "the stunning tone-deafness" of of the authors' defense of their ethics. The piece was quoted by such English-language outlets as Inside Higher Ed, Vice's Motherboard, and Outline, and it was quoted in German by Wired and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Read Mattson's critique "Artificial Intelligence Discovers Gayface. Sigh."
Greggor Mattson Presents at Royal Geographical Society Annual ConferenceSeptember 12, 2017
Greggor Mattson, associate professor of sociology, presented about the decline of gay bars on a panel at the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference in London. Mattson examined the characteristics of bars in small cities as a corrective to research that overwhelmingly focuses on LGBTQ places in large metropolises with gay neighborhoods. Based on site visits and interviews with bar owners, he shows how these bars' successes provide insights for those other bars which are a small minority of the total number of gay bars. Read the abstract of his talk and slides.
Greggor Mattson Interviewed for PublicationMarch 29, 2017
Greggor Mattson, associate professor of sociology, was interviewed about his research on Dutch prostitution politics by the Brazilian publication Veja, the largest weekly news magazine in Brazil and Latin America. The interview focused on a recent interpretation by government ministers that exchanging sex for driving lessons, while "undesirable," did not constitute prostitution.
Taylor L. Field ’15 Coauthors Article with Associate Professor Greggor MattsonApril 18, 2016
Taylor L. Field ’15 coauthored an article in the Journal of GLBT Families with Greggor Mattson, associate professor of sociology and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies.
The piece, “Parenting Transgender Children in PFLAG,” grew out of Field’s independent research that eventually became her sociology honors thesis and GSFS capstone. The article analyzes 14 of her interviews with the parents of transgender children drawn from PFLAG, a national support group that provides a model of "activist parenting" and was one of the first national organizations to include transgender in its mission statement.
In the piece, the parents of transgender children recounted four ways in which their parenting experiences were more difficult and isolating than those of the parents lesbian, bisexual, or gay children: the physical changes their children undergo, the lack of media representations of transgender lives, the effect of their child’s gender transition on their identity as a parent, and the tensions involved in their child’s successful transition in public settings.
Parental isolation may be alleviated, however, by recognizing four unrecognized similarities shared among parents of GLBT children: adjusting to changes in their child’s appearance, the process of grief and mourning, the tendency to hierarchically rank parental difficulties, and fears of being a bad parent. The isolation faced by parents of transgender children is imposed not only by anti-trans prejudice and lack of information, but also by the unacknowledged and undiscussed ways in which a child’s gender transition affects parental gender identities.
Taylor Field is currently a graduate student in sociology at the University of Michigan, where her project recently earned her a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Greggor Mattson Article a Top Download of 2015December 10, 2015
The article The Modern Career of the Oldest Profession, and the Social Embeddedness of Metaphors by Greggor Mattson, associate professor of sociology and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies, is the second-most downloaded social science article in 2015 from publisher Palgrave. The article tracks the diffusion of this euphemism for prostitution from its coinage by Rudyard Kipling in 1888. From the 17th century to the 1960s, many careers were the oldest profession, including pirates, lawyers, clowns, doctors, and the lady embalmers of Cincinnati.
Greggor Mattson Presents at EU Prostitution Policy ConferenceApril 28, 2015
Associate Professor of Sociology Greggor Mattson was invited to present at the European Union-funded prostitution policy network conference Troubling Prostitution: Exploring Intersections of Sex, Intimacy, and Labour in Vienna, Austria, on April 18. Conference attendees, who included researchers, sex workers rights activists, and journalists from 52 countries, were welcomed in the town hall by representatives of the mayor and city council.
Mattson presented his paper, entitled "States of Vulnerability: Prostitution Reform as a Symptom of EU Integration," which was taken from his forthcoming book on the cultural politics of European prostitution reform. The book argues that the European Union funding mechanisms to create a European-wide civil society laid the groundwork for competing networks of prostitution policy advocates, polarizing reforms around two options and leading to a scramble of national reform proposals during the period of European expansion 1998-2004.
The contemporary struggle between advocates of prostitution legalization and those who support the criminalization of buying sex crowds out alternative policy solutions, obscures the national differences among those policies, and yet reflects the success of EU efforts to build a continental civil society.