My research projects are varied but draw from my interests in criminology and medical sociology. In one line of research, I examine the intersection of physical, mental, and behavioral health, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Ongoing projects focus on people’s experiences with stress, coping, physical well-being, mental health, substance use, and law violation.
In a second line of research, I focus on the role of the media in making meaning about crime, justice, and related issues. For example, Dr. Brandon Bosch and I analyzed the viral response to the 2019 film Joker, which drew significant (and sensationalized) media chatter prior to the film’s actual release. In recent project, I analyzed how major TV news organizations tweeted about crime in the context of the pandemic. My work on media and social/historical contexts also extends to public opinion and attitudes about crime and justice. One recent project used Nebraska survey data to examine how the pandemic and politics shaped attitudes about crime and police spending.
A third line of research explores the brain as cultural icon, particularly how it is visualized and framed in mediated forms. New technologies make the brain more visible than ever before, while also (re)shaping how our culture envisions bodies and behaviors. I have ongoing projects that analyze visual representations of the brain in the Marvel cinematic universe and in news media.
Much of my research relies on primary data collection, through both surveys and qualitative analysis. I frequently incorporate students into my work. Both undergraduate and graduate students have contributed to several data collection projects. I have presented and published articles with undergraduate and graduate students.
At the undergraduate level, I teach courses in sociology of crime (SOCI 209), delinquency (SOCI 311), public opinion research (SOCI 333), and health (SOCI 454), as well as the senior capstone course (SOCI 489). I received the UNL College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award in 2013 and 2018.
Health and Well-Being
Kort-Butler, Lisa A. Forthcoming. “The Well-Being of Gamers, Video Game Players, and Non-Players.” The Social Science Journal
Kort-Butler, Lisa A. 2021. “Gamers on Gaming: A Research Note Comparing Behaviors and Beliefs of Gamers, Video Game Players, and Non‐Players.” Sociological Inquiry 91: 962-972.
Kort-Butler, Lisa A. 2020. “The Stress Mechanisms of Adolescent Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Health.” Pp. 74-89 in Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health, Michael G. Vaughn, Christopher P. Salas-Wright, and Dylan B. Jackson (eds.). New York: Routledge.
Media Representations of Crime
Kort-Butler, Lisa A. 2022. “The Brain and the Bat: A Popular Criminology of the Brain in the Batman Animated Universes.” Deviant Behavior 43: 623-645.
Kort-Butler, Lisa A. 2020. “Crime in Televised Presidential Campaign Ads: The Making of Visual Metaphor.” Deviant Behavior 41: 628-648.
Public Opinion about Crime
Ray, Colleen M., and Lisa A. Kort-Butler. 2020. “What you See is What you Get? Investigating how Survey Context Shapes the Association between Media Consumption and Attitudes about Crime.” American Journal of Criminal Justice 45: 914-932.
Kort-Butler, Lisa A., and Colleen M. Ray. 2019. “Public Support for the Death Penalty in a Red State: The Distrustful, the Angry, and the Unsure.” Punishment & Society 21: 437-495.