Research Interests

Relational sociology; Field theory; Space-time relations; Mixed-analytics; Web-based data visualization and animation; People who pay for sexual services; Global scientific fields; Relational dimensions of health practices.

Current Research Activities

Relational Transactions

My doctoral dissertation employs a complementary mixed-analytic approach – consisting of layered multiple correspondence analyses of 852 completed surveys and thematic analyses of long form open ended content – to investigate the spatial and time dimensions that shape the practices of people who pay for sexual services in Canada. Specifically, I investigate the ways in which breadth and context of clients’ past experiences in and out of sex industry fields are meaningfully related to their present dispositions, preferences, and valence, and future perceptions, planning, and foresight. Further empirical investigations of the project results are being written with principle investigator, Chris Atchison, including a mixed-analytic piece examining the social dimensions of clients’ safe sex practices (Atchison and Burnett, 2016) and a mixed methods article detailing the process of designing research, employing viral marketing techniques, and collecting multi-layered data for hidden and marginalized populations.

Dissertation chapter summaries, results, and dynamic data models will be made available at:

Relational Academia [RA]

(with François Lachapelle)

Current research initiatives are seeking to go beyond the discourse of ‘crisis’ in Canadian academia by documenting the occupational plurality that characterizes the career trajectory of PhDs after graduation. With research largely focused on tracing where Canadian PhDs work – either within or outside universities – there has been a lack of systematic data collected on the trajectory of PhDs working as social scientists in Canadian Academia over time. In response, Relational Academia [RA] created the largest dataset to date detailing the trajectories of full-time faculty employed in social science disciplines at Canada’s 15 top research-intensive universities (U15) between 1978 and 2015. The objectives of [RA] are three-fold: (1) Longitudinal documentation of attributes (e.g. education, gender, publication record, mobility, promotion patterns, etc.) of PhDs who “make it” on the tenure track in Canadian academia; (2) Systematic network maps showing the active and passive ties between Canadian and international PhD-granting universities; (3) Critical and theory-driven engagement with broader narratives around Canadian universities’ positions within global social science and scientific fields beyond the core-periphery framework. Our award-winning student paper at the 2017 CSA conference is published in the February 2018 issue of the Canadian Review of Sociology, titled: “Replacing the Canadianization generation: An examination of faculty composition from 1977 through 2017.”

Research website:

Relational Health

Ongoing research with Gerry Veenstra applies relational iterations of Pierre Bourdieu’s field-theoretic framework to understand the ways in which health related practices take shape within fields and across time. Resulting publications have employed relational theoretical principles to challenge the substantialist tenets undergirding the Ottawa Charter for health promotion (Veenstra and Burnett 2016) and establish a relationally-informed path for health researchers looking to apply Bourdieu’s theory of practice to understand and explain health behaviours (Veenstra and Burnett 2014). Our most recent publication applies a relational field-theoretic framework to original survey data and utilises 3D modelling techniques to examine the ways in which freedom from material necessity, aesthetic dispositions, and flexibility of developing and established dispositions are meaningfully related to health practices in Canada (Burnett and Veenstra 2017).

Supervisor: Dr. Gerry Veenstra

Publications and Articles

Lachapelle, François and Patrick John Burnett. (2018). Replacing the Canadianization generation: An examination of faculty composition from 1977 through 2017. Canadian Review of Sociology, 55(1), 40-66.

Lachapelle, François and Patrick John Burnett. (Forthcoming, March 2018). Between Domesticity and Globality: The Unclear Internationalization Quest of Canadian Universities. Global Dialogue.

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.

Atchison, Chris and Patrick John Burnett. (2016). The social dynamics of safe sex practices among Canadian sex industry clients. Sociology of Health & Illness, 38(6), 939-56.

Veenstra, Gerry and Patrick John Burnett. (2016). Towards a relational health promotion. Health Promotion International, 31(1), 209-13.

Atchison, C., Benoit, C., Burnett, P.J., Jansson, M., Kennedy, M.C., Ouellet, N., and Vukmirovich, D. (2015). The influence of time to negotiate on control in sex worker-client interactions. Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), 14, 35-36.

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.