Born in southern Ontario, I received undergraduate degrees in Pure Mathematics and Sociology from the University of Waterloo and graduate degrees in Sociology from McMaster University. I am past holder of a New Investigator career award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, an Early Career scholar award from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, a Senior Scholar career award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and a Killam Research Fellowship from UBC.
I primarily study how social class, gender and racial/ethnic identity affect physical and mental health. My research is based mostly in Canada but also in the US, South Korea and Switzerland. I have received funding for my research from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, Public Health Agency of Canada and Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.
One of my longstanding areas of interest concerns the relationship between social class and health. For example, I have applied Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic power to health-related factors, identifying six class groupings and a range of aesthetic tastes and dispositions in the Canadian field of power that illuminate the logic of health practices dispersed in the field. I have studied the health effects of the intergenerational transmission of capitals in South Korea. I have also studied interplays between capitals – economic, cultural and social – as determinants of health in Canada, Switzerland and the United States. Most recently I have used fixed effects models applied to panel data to investigate whether the association between family income and self-rated health in Canada is truly causal in nature (hint: it appears that it is but the effect is very weak and in the direction opposite to expectations).
In the last decade I have also contributed to the small literature on racial health inequalities in Canada. I have studied associations between health and incongruities between the racial identities people express to others and the racial identities they believe that others believe them to be, as well as the health implications of colourism, discrimination targeted at relatively darker skinned people of colour. I have investigated health inequalities by way of the racial identities (Asian, Black, South Asian, White) reported by respondents to nationally representative surveys and examined the degree to which they are inherently gendered and classed. I have most recently examined correspondences between multiracial identities and health.
I am also interested in the class bases of cultural phenomena such as musical tastes and sporting knowledge and participation. In particular, I have endeavoured to contribute to the debate regarding the relative merits of the homology approach (specific cultural tastes and practices are aligned with specific class positions) and the cultural omnivorism perspective (elites are increasingly characterized by the breadth and eclecticism of their cultural tastes and practices).
Social Class and Health
- Veenstra, Gerry and Adam Vanzella-Yang. (2020). Family income and self-rated health in Canada: Using fixed effects models to control for unobserved confounders and investigate causal temporality. Social Science & Medicine 250, 112884, 1-4.
- Veenstra, Gerry and Thomas Abel. (2019). Capital interplays and social inequalities in health. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 47, 6, 631-634.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2018). Infusing fundamental cause theory with features of Bourdieu's theory of symbolic power. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 46, 1, 49-52.
- Burnett, Patrick John and Gerry Veenstra. (2017). Margins of freedom: A field-theoretic approach to class-based health dispositions and practices. Sociology of Health & Illness 39, 7, 1050-1067.
- Jeong, Baekgeun and Gerry Veenstra. (2017). The intergenerational production of depression in South Korea: A cross-sectional study. International Journal for Equity in Health 16: 13 (pp. 1-8).
- Veenstra, Gerry and Baekgeun Jeong. (2016). The intergenerational production of health in South Korea. Health Sociology Review 25, 3, 288-299.
- Veenstra, Gerry and Thomas Abel. (2015). Capital interplays and the self-rated health of young men: Results from a cross-sectional study in Switzerland. International Journal for Equity in Health 14: 38 (pp. 1-10).
- Veenstra, Gerry and Patrick John Burnett. (2014). A relational approach to health practices: Towards transcending the agency-structure divide. Sociology of Health & Illness 36, 2, 187-198.
- Veenstra, Gerry and Andrew C. Patterson. (2012). Capital relations and health: Mediating and moderating effects of cultural, economic, and social capitals on mortality in Alameda County, California. International Journal of Health Services 42, 2, 277-291.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2007). Social space, social class and Bourdieu: Health inequalities in British Columbia, Canada. Health & Place 13, 1, 14-31.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2006). Neo-Marxist class position and socio-economic status: Distinct or complementary determinants of health? Critical Public Health 16, 2, 111-129.
- Dunn, James, Gerry Veenstra and Nancy Ross. (2006). Psychosocial and neo-material dimensions of SES and health revisited: Determinants of self-rated health in a Canadian national survey. Social Science & Medicine 62, 6, 1465-1473.
Racial Health Inequalities
- Veenstra, Gerry, Maria Vas and D. Kyle Sutherland. (2019). Asian-White health inequalities in Canada: Intersections with immigration. Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 22, 2, 300-306.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2019). Black, White, Black and White: Mixed race and health in Canada. Ethnicity & Health 24, 2, 113-124.
- Gagné, Thierry and Gerry Veenstra. (2017). Inequalities in diabetes and hypertension in Canada: Intersections between racial identity, gender, and income. Ethnicity & Disease 27, 4, 371-378.
- Abichahine, Hayfa and Gerry Veenstra. (2017). Inter-categorical intersectionality and leisure-based physical activity in Canada. Health Promotion International 32, 4, 691-701.
- Patterson, Andrew C. and Gerry Veenstra. (2016). Black-White health inequalities in Canada at the intersection of gender and immigration. Canadian Journal of Public Health 107, 3, e278-e284.
- Veenstra, Gerry and Andrew C. Patterson. (2016). South Asian-White health inequalities in Canada: Intersections with gender and immigrant status. Ethnicity & Health 21, 6, 639-648.
- Veenstra, Gerry and Andrew C. Patterson. (2016). Black-White health inequalities in Canada. Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 18, 1, 51-57.
- Veenstra, Gerry and Andrew C. Patterson. (2015). Health differences between native-born Black and White Canadians: Revisiting Lebrun and LaVeist (2011, 2013). Canadian Ethnic Studies 47, 3, 163-176.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2013). Race, gender, class, sexuality (RGCS) and hypertension. Social Science & Medicine 89, 16-24.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2011). Mismatched racial identities, colourism, and health in Toronto and Vancouver. Social Science & Medicine 73, 8, 1152-1162.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2011). Race, gender, class, and sexual orientation: Intersecting axes of inequality and self-rated health in Canada. International Journal for Equity in Health 10: 3 (pp. 1-11).
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2009). Racialized identity and health in Canada: Results from a nationally representative survey. Social Science & Medicine 69, 4, 538-542.
Culture and Class
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2015). Class position and musical tastes: A sing-off between the cultural omnivorism and Bourdieusian homology frameworks. Canadian Review of Sociology 52, 2, 134-159.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2010). Culture and class in Canada. Canadian Journal of Sociology 35, 1, 83-111.
- Garnett, Bruce, Neil Guppy and Gerry Veenstra. (2008). Careers open to talent: Educational credentials, cultural talent, and skilled employment. Sociological Forum 23, 1, 144-164.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2007). Who the heck is Don Bradman? Sport culture and social class in British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology 44, 3, 319-344.
- Veenstra, Gerry. (2005). Can taste illumine class? Cultural knowledge and forms of inequality. Canadian Journal of Sociology 30, 3, 247-279.
Christy, Kayonne (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Jaffe, Kaitlyn (PhD Sociology; committee)
Ma, Amy (MA Music Education; committee)
Vanzella Yang, Adam (PhD Sociology; supervisor)
Zhang, Xueqing (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Abichahine, Hayfa (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Ahmadi, Naseam (MSc Food Sciences; committee)
Bombard, Yvonne (PhD Interdisciplinary Studies; committee)
Burnett, Patrick John (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Burnett, Patrick John (PhD Sociology; supervisor)
Buse, Christopher (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Capell, Jennifer (MSc Rehabilitation Sciences; committee)
Gu, Jiaxin (MA Sociology; committee)
Legun, Katharine (MA Sociology; committee)
Nannar, Rumnique (MA Journalism; committee)
Patterson, Andrew (MA Family Studies; supervisor)
Patterson, Andrew (PhD Sociology; supervisor)
Shortt, Jennifer (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Valdes, Mirah (MSc Food Sciences; committee)
Vanzella Yang, Adam (MA Sociology; supervisor)
Wang, Zhonghao (MA Sociology; committee)
Zhang, Feng (PhD Sociology; committee)