Lisa A. Kort-Butler

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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 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 stigma shapes attitudes about legal system versus public health responses to substance use.


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 reports about teen wellbeing.


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), public opinion research (SOCI 333), and health (SOCI 454).  I received the UNL College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award in 2013 and 2018.


Recent Publications

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.  2023. “Tweeting about Crime in Pandemic Times: U.S. Legacy News Media and Crime Reporting During the Covid-19 Pandemic.”  Pp. 123-139 in Crime and Social Control in Pandemic Times, Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, 28, Mathieu Deflam (ed.). Emerald Publishing.


Bosch, Brandon, and Lisa A. Kort-Butler. 2023. “The Joker Controversy: An Origin Story.” Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 23: 1-28.


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.


Public Opinion about Crime

Kort-Butler, Lisa A.  Forthcoming. “Pandemic, Politics, Public Health, and Public Opinion about Crime.” Criminal Justice Review.


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.


Ph.D., North Carolina State University

Areas of Specialization:  

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Well-Being
  • Media Representations of Deviance & Control
  • Public Opinion and Crime