Dr. Miller’s sociological interests include American suburbs (particularly their development, culture, depictions in media, and housing) and cities, culture, McMansions, social network site use among emerging adults, and American evangelicalism and culture. His hobbies include watching the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, and Chicago Bulls, playing the piano, playing basketball, reading all sorts of non-fiction works, and blogging about his sociological interests and observations at legallysociable.com.
University of Notre Dame, IN: Ph.D., Sociology 2009
“Not All Suburbs Are Created Equal: The Dynamic Development, Interaction, and Character of Three Chicago Railroad Suburbs”
University of Notre Dame, IN: M.A., Sociology 2006
“Redeveloping the Cabrini-Green Housing Project: A Sociological Perspective, 1989-2004”
Wheaton College: B.A., Sociology, Anthropology 2004
Areas of Expertise and Research Interests (15)
Professional Affiliations (4)
- American Sociological Association
- Association for the Sociology of Religion
- Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
- Alpha Kappa Delta (Chapter Representative)
Media Appearances (6)
Blue surge in Georgia: What election shows about shifts in suburban values
Christian Science Monitor online
“The suburbs are not just composed of wealthy conservatives, even though such communities do exist,” says Brian Miller, a Wheaton College, Ill., sociologist who studies the suburbs. The difference is that “there are now a variety of populations with a variety of concerns.” That means “local and national elections may [now] depend on reaching voters in middle suburbs who might go either way depending on the candidates, economic conditions [and] quality of life concerns.”
Americans could be killing the McMansion for good
Business Insider online
The term "McMansion" was clearly never meant as a compliment. Though there's no clear consensus on the word's exact genesis, it seems to have entered usage around the year 2000, shortly before the US economy saw the effects of the housing bubble."Generally speaking, it's part of a collection of nouns, such as McWorld and McDonald-ization, that refer to things that are standardized and bland," Brian Miller, an associate professor of sociology at Wheaton College, told the Chicago Tribune in 2012.
McMansions: What's the big deal?
Chicago Tribune print
But what, exactly, is a McMansion, anyway? People who use the word seem to hold wildly varying interpretations of its meaning, according to Brian Miller, assistant professor of sociology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., who combed media references to the term and found few that could be construed as complimentary.
Is that house down the street a ‘McMansion’? Depends on whom you ask
Dallas Morning News online
[Miller] analyzed each appearance of the word, and concluded that its usage tended to imply "one of four general meanings: a large house, a relatively large house, a home with bad architecture or design, or a symbol for other issues, especially sprawl and consumerism."
The Wildly Variable Definition of 'McMansion'
Brian Miller is a sociologist at Wheaton College who's been studying housing and suburban development. He began to notice that the term McMansion was being used to describe wildly different things. "There's not a single process of McMansions going on," says Miller. "Sure, there are big houses across the United States, but not everyone's seeing them the same way or talking about them the same way."...
Tim Tebow's gridiron faith sparks praise, comedic bits and criticism
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette online
One thing may be how visible Mr. Tebow is, said Brian Miller, an assistant professor of sociology at Wheaton College, a well-known evangelical school in Illinois. His practice of singing gospel songs while on the sidelines, taking a knee in prayer at the conclusion of the game, thanking Jesus Christ in postgame interviews and telling reporters "God bless," before leaving all are hard to ignore. "I think that ties to his outspokenness," Mr. Miller said. "Any time someone talks about religion that strongly, people will react strongly."...
Presentations and Event Appearances (10)
Passing Decades, Changing Structures: Continuity and Change in the Church Buildings of Three Denominations in the Chicago Region
Association for the Sociology of Religion meetings Chicago, IL
Measuring Religion in the American Suburbs: How Surveys Involving Religion Inconsistently Determine Locations
American Sociological Association meetings Chicago, IL
The Suburbanization of Protestant Churches in the Chicago Region, 1925-1969
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meetings Indianapolis, IN
From Father Knows Best to Desperate Housewives: Suburban Television Shows, 1950-2007
American Sociological Association meetings San Francisco, CA
Follow the Informal rules to Limit Harm: Avoiding Negative Interactions When Using Social Network Sites. Miller, Brian J. and Peter Mundey.
American Sociological Association meetings New York, NY
The Holy Suburbs: The Suburban Spatial Logic of American Evangelicals
American Sociological Association meetings Denver, CO
Reading the Writing on the all: How Bible Reading Affects SNS Use Among Emerging Adults
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Milwaukee, WI
The Nexus between Sitting in the Pews and Using Facebook: How Religion Affects SNS Use
American Sociological Association Meeting Las Vegas, NV
Not All Suburbs Are the Same: Examining Suburban Character
American Sociological Association Meeting Atlanta, GA
A Two-Edged Swords: The Dynamic and Occasionally Surprising Religious Character of a Chicago Suburb
American Sociological Association Meeting San Francisco, LA
Academics and Published Research (2)
- First Year Seminar: The Suburban Good Life (CORE 101)
- Introduction to Sociology (Soc 115)
- The Suburban Church (Soc 220)
- Contemporary Social Concerns (Soc 238)
- Culture, Media, and Society (Soc 251)
- American Suburbanization (Soc 359)
- Urban Sociology (Soc 364)
- Statistics (Soc 383)
- Social Research (Soc 482)
Dr. Miller is working on projects that examine (1) the portrayal of suburbs and McMansions on television and (2) the connections between American evangelicals and suburbs.
Select Articles, Chapters, Reviews, and Other Publications (11)
Volume 50, 2017 - Issue 3
June 2016, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 285–304
Brenneman, Robert and Brian J. Miller
Miller, Brian J. and Peter Mundey
Volume: 42 issue: 6, page(s): 1135-1152
edited by James Ciment and John Radzilowski
Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference.
Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield
Miller, Brian J., Peter Mundey, and Jonathan P. Hill