Charles R. Wright, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Communication and Sociology

Sadly, Charles R. Wright, Ph.D., passed away on October 17, 2017. Please click here to read our tribute to his life and career.


Charles R. Wright is a Professor Emeritus of Communication and Sociology. He joined the faculty of the Annenberg School for Communication in 1969. Prior to that he was Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also taught at Columbia University, where he performed research with Columbia’s Bureau of Applied Social Research. Before joining Penn he served as Program Director in Sociology and Social Psychology at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. His undergraduate work was in social science at Columbia College, and he later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, where he studied with Herbert H. Hyman, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Robert K. Merton, and others in sociology and social psychology.

Wright's interest in the sociology of mass communication is reflected in his early paperback, Mass Communication: A Sociological Perspective, and is used in Communication 628. The course, conducted more as a seminar than as a lecture class, considers mass communication as a social phenomenon and then explores two orienting themes: (1) what part does communication, especially mass communication, play in influencing important social processes, such as coping with danger, the construction of social problems; socialization and values; and (2) what interesting research questions can be raised by the application of a few simple sociological concepts to the study of mass communication? Wright also is co-author [with Herbert H. Hyman and others] of two large secondary analyses of national survey data to explore the impact of schooling, Education’s Lasting Influence on Values and The Enduring Effects of Education, and an early study of a summer encampment to enhance young people’s abilities and willingness to participate in democratic citizenship Applications of Methods of Evaluation: Four Studies of the Encampment for Citizenship, soon to be republished. He also is author or co-author of Inducing Change in Developing Communities, an international survey of expert advice. His doctoral research was on the effects of training in social research on the development of professional attitudes.

Charles Wright's research focused on sociological analysis and the sociology of communication, studies on the sociology of mass communication, the enduring effects of education, mass communication behavior, and social structure.

Phone: 
215-898-7045

Wright's Network

  • Media and Communication Effects