Lisa A. Kort-Butler

Associate Professor and Vice Chair Profile Image
Associate Professor and Vice Chair Sociology 718 Oldfather Hall

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Curriculum Vitae

Current Research

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 another 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 are analyzing the viral response to the 2019 film Joker, which drew significant (and sensationalized) media chatter prior to the film’s actual release.  

My work on media and social/historical contexts also extends to public opinion and attitudes about crime and justice. One recent project uses survey data to examine how the pandemic and politics shaped attitudes about crime and police spending.  I am currently studying how major network news media visualized crime during the pandemic.

 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.

Student Opportunities

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.  

Current Teaching

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.

Selected Publications

Health and Well-Being

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.

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

Media and Representations of Crime

Kort-Butler, Lisa A.  Forthcoming.  “The Brain and the Bat: A Popular Criminology of the Brain in the Batman Animated Universes.”  Deviant Behavior

Kort-Butler, Lisa A. 2020. “Crime in Televised Presidential Campaign Ads: The Making of Visual Metaphor.” Deviant Behavior 41: 628-648.

 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.


Ph.D., North Carolina State University

Areas of Specialization:  

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Well-Being
  • Media Representations of Deviance & Control
  • Criminology
  • Sociology of Health and Mental Health
  • Media Representations of Deviance and Control