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Michael Blain

Contact Information

Face Portrait of Michael Blain
Michael Blain, Sociology, faculty/staff, studio portrait by Priscilla Grover

Phone: 426-1346
Vita: Michael Blain Vita
Office Location: River Front Hall 214-D
Office Hours: By Appointment


Michael Blain earned a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Colorado. His dissertation described how revolutionaries employ language to legitimate acts of revolutionary violence (The Politics of Death, available from ). He has published many papers on how discourse functions in politics, most notably “The Role of Death in Political Conflict” (Psychoanalytic Review), “Fighting Words: What We Can Learn From Hitler’s Hyperbole” (Symbolic Interaction), “Power, War and Melodrama in the Discourses of Political Movements” (Theory and Society), “The Politics of Victimage” (Critical Discourse Studies), and “On the Genealogy of Terrorism” (Interrogating the War on Terrorism). A compilation of his articles on political violence has been published; The Sociology of Terrorism: Studies in Power, Subjection, and Victimage Ritual (available from

A new book by sociology professor Michael Blain titled “Power, Discourse, and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror” has been published by Ashgate Publishers, 2012. Professor of Sociology Michael Blain’s article, “The Politics of Victimage: Power and Subjection in a US Anti-Gay Campaign,” was selected as a key article for inclusion in “Traditions of Discourse and Discourse Analysis,” a Virtual Special Issues edition of Critical Discourse Studies (2012). Michael Blain, Department of Sociology, presented a paper on “Empire and the Global War on Terrorism” to the World Congress of Sociology in Gothenberg, Sweden, (12 July 2011).

Blain has engaged in policy research in Idaho. As a member of the steering committee of the Snake River Alliance (1980-89), Blain produced two influential reports on cancer in populations adjacent to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (with Carl Johnson, M.D.) and Hanford Nuclear Reservation. He also coauthored (with Charles Etlinger) a series on Idaho’s power structure in The Idaho Statesman.

Blain served four terms as Chair of the Department of Sociology. He also served as the Northern Representative to the Council of the Pacific Sociological Association. He teaches courses on Contemporary Social Theory, Research Methods, Drugs, Violence, and Peace and War.

Courses Taught

The following syllabi are from previous semesters. They are available to give students some idea of the course before they register. These are not current, and should not be used as a reference for students currently enrolled in the course.

  • Soc 101   Introduction to Sociology
  • Soc 302  Sociological Theory II
  • Soc 311  Social Research
  • Soc 435/535 Drugs in Societal Context
  • Soc /SocSci 498  Sociology/Social Science Seminar