James B. Rule is a sociologist and writer based in Berkeley, California. He is Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society, pictured below, part of the UC Berkeley School of Law.
Rule was born and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He did his A.B. in psychology at Brandeis and his Ph.D. in sociology at Harvard. He has held research and teaching appointments at MIT; Nuffield College, Oxford; the University of Bordeaux; Clare Hall, Cambridge; and Stony Brook University, where he was Professor of Sociology. He has also held fellowships from the Guggenheim, MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations, and one-year appointments at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford; the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; and the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City.
He is author, co-author or editor of nine books and monographs. The latest are Privacy in Peril; How We Are Sacrificing a Fundamental Right in Exchange for Security and Convenience (Oxford University Press, 2007) and Global Privacy Protection; the First Generation, co-edited with Graham Greenleaf (Edward Elgar, 2008). Other scholarly writings address a variety of subjects including the role of social inquiry in social betterment; the causes of civil violence and militancy; and cumulation and progress in social science.
Rule continues to study and write about privacy and information, as well as a variety of other subjects, both for scholarly and general publications. Subjects of some recent articles include militarism in American foreign and domestic policy; the regulation of banks; Israeli expansion into the West Bank; and the theories of Cass Sunstein on domestication of social movements.
His more general writings have appeared in Dissent, The New York Times Book Review, Commonweal, The Washington Monthly, The International Herald Tribune, Counterpunch, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and elsewhere.
James B. Rule has been a member of the Editorial Board of Dissent since the 1980s. He is also a Corresponding Editor of Theory and Society and a member of the International Advisory Board of The British Journal of Sociology.
He lives in Berkeley. His children are Alix E. Rule of Manhattan, a doctoral student in sociology at Columbia University, and Adam J. Rule of Brooklyn, an artisanal maker of crepes. He is an avid hiker and lover of the Northern California countryside.
He is also deeply attached to the Languedoc in southern France, where he has his second home in the village row-house pictured here.