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headshot of Leslie C. Gates

Leslie C. Gates

Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies



Leslie Gates is currently an Associate Professor of sociology and a faculty affiliate of the Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program. She is a political sociologist with a particular interest in the origin of economic policies which structure how nations relate to the world economy and have recently served as Chair of the American Sociological Association's Section on Political Economy of the World-System (PEWS). Two Fulbright awards funded her research on neoliberal politics in Mexico and Venezuela. Gates’ research on Mexico's neoliberal turn and Venezuela's turn against neoliberalism convinced her that we need to think more clearly about the relationship between corporate power and politics. She is interested in understanding the political behavior of the economic elite, the political consequences of the personal ties between the corporate world and political leaders and the political implications of public perceptions of a society's dominant economic elite and corporate corruption. While her approach to research is historical, she uses both quantitative and qualitative techniques to analyze empirical evidence. She welcomes the opportunity to work with graduate students with similar interests, regardless of regional focus.


  • PhD, MA, University of Arizona
  • BA, Princeton University

Research Interests

  • Politics in Latin America
  • Historical Sociology
  • State-Business Relations

More Info

Selected Publications:

  • Gates, Leslie. 2018. "Populism: A puzzle without (and for) World-Systems Analysis" Journal of World-Systems Research 24: 2: 325-336.
  • Gates, Leslie. 2012. "Interest Groups in Venezuela: Lessons from the failure of a 'Model Democracy' and the rise of a Bolivarian democracy". Journal of Public Affairs. DIO: 10.1002/pa.1410. Winner of the Best Article Award in the Social Sciences, 2012, from the Venezuela Section of the Latin American Studies Association.
  • Gates, Leslie. 2010. Electing Chávez: The Business of Anti-Neoliberal Politics in Venezuela. Pittsburgh, PA: Pitt Latin American Series, University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • Gates, Leslie. 2010. “Venezuela: Corruption in a Petrostate” in Corruption and Politics in Latin America edited by Charles H. Blake and Stephen D. Morris. Lynne Reinner Publishers.
  • Gates, Leslie. 2009. "Theorizing Business Power in the Semiperiphery: Mexico 1970-2000" in Theory and Society 38: 57-95. Best Article Award 2009, Political Economy of World-System Section, American Sociological Association.
  • Gates, Leslie. 2007. "The Business of Anti-Globalization Politics: Lessons from Venezuela's 1998 Presidential Elections" in Research in Political Sociology 15: 101-137.

Research Profile

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae