David Hutson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology, Psychological and Social Sciences
Woodland, 236F
Penn State Abington
0199 Sutherland Building
Abington, PA 19001

Research Interests

My research explores the connection between appearance and social status with a focus on the body, gender, health, and inequality. More specifically, I seek to understand how factors such as body weight, body size, muscle tone, and attractiveness influence an individual's opportunities in social life. Much of my research utilizes the framework of "bodily capital"—a multi-faceted concept that explains why individuals invest time, energy, and money into their bodies, and what they expect to receive in return. To investigate these processes, I examine cases of bodily change, as people alter how they look through activities such as exercise, dieting, weight loss, bodybuilding, clothing choices, and surgery.

Currently, I am concluding a project interviewing pregnant and recently pregnant women about the experience of putting on and trying to take off "baby weight," and beginning a new study on men who have undergone bariatric surgery.

Courses and Teaching

Introductory Sociology
Health, Disease, & Society
Sociology of Gender
Sociology of the Body
Qualitative Research Methods
Sociology of Sexuality

Research Areas

Health & Fitness; Medical Sociology; Gender; Body/Embodiment; Inequality; Culture; Qualitative Methods.


Hutson, David J. 2020. "Reframing and Resisting: How Women Navigate the Medicalization of Pregnancy Weight." Pp. 109-128 in Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 20: Reproduction, Health, and Medicine, edited by S. Markens, M. Waggoner, and E. Armstrong. Wales, UK: Emerald Publishing Group.

Gruys, Kjerstin and David J. Hutson. 2019. "The Aesthetic Labor of Ethnographers." The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment, edited by N. Boero and K. Mason. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Hutson, David J. 2017. "Plump or Corpulent? Lean or Gaunt? Historical Categories of Bodily Health in Nineteenth-Century Thought." Social Science History, 41(2): 283-303.

Hutson, David J. 2017. "Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The 'Obesity Epidemic' and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions." Teaching Sociology, 45(1): 41-53.

Hutson, David J. 2016. "Training Bodies, Building Status: Negotiating Gender and Age Differences in the U.S. Fitness Industry." Qualitative Sociology, 39(1): 49-70.

Hutson, David J. 2013. "'Your Body is Your Business Card': Bodily Capital and Health Authority in the Fitness Industry." Social Science & Medicine, 90: 63-71.

Hutson, David J. 2011. "Looking Within from Without." Pp. xxix – xxxvii in Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 12: Sociology of Diagnosis, edited by P. McGann and D. Hutson. Wales, UK: Emerald Publishing Group.

Hutson, David J. 2010. "Standing OUT/Fitting IN: Identity, Appearance, and Authenticity in Gay and Lesbian Communities." Symbolic Interaction, 33(2): 213-233.

Martin, Karin A., David J. Hutson, Emily Kazyak, and Kristin S. Scherrer. 2010. "Advice When Children Come Out: The Cultural 'Tool Kits' of Parents." Journal of Family Issues, 31(7): 960-991.


Ph.D., 2012, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
M.A., 2009, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
B.A., 2004, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA