Arbuckle receives Freudenburg Award for his work in environmental sociology


J. Gordon Arbuckle, professor of sociology, is the 2019 recipient of the William R. Freudenburg Award of Merit from the Rural Sociological Society (RSS) National Resource Research and Interest Group (NRRIG). Arbuckle received the award in early August at the RSS annual meeting.

The award recognizes exceptional contributions to the sociology of natural resources and the environment. Recipients are selected for substantially affecting the trajectory of thinking within natural resources and environmental sociology.

The award has special significance for Arbuckle, who was honored to personally know Freudenburg prior to his death in 2010, thanks to a chance dinner seating arrangement at an RSS conference in Atlanta.

“We had a great conversation,” Arbuckle said. “A month later, he emailed me out of the blue to encourage me to finish the paper I had told him about, and he invited me to attend a celebration in his honor at UC-Santa Barbara. That he took the time to mentor an assistant professor he had just met, even though he was dying of cancer, meant a lot to me. That makes this award especially meaningful.”

Arbuckle’s research and extension efforts focus on improving the environmental and social performance of agricultural systems. He seeks to understand what drives farmers and other agricultural stakeholders to make the decisions they do related to soil and water quality and climate change.