Peter McMahan

Assistant Professor 

Department of Sociology

Leacock Rm. 727   

855 Sherbrooke St. West

Montreal, QC H3A 2T7

Tel.: ((514) 398-6839

Departmental Profile

Email: peter.mcmahan [at]

Dr. Peter McMahan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. His research focuses on the use of computational methods and big data analytics to demonstrate how everyday social interaction may connect to macro-level structural inequalities.



Dr. McMahan uses big data analytics to model macro-level social inequalities by dissecting everyday social signals and language structures. His research falls onto five major categories:

  1. Social networks
  2. Status
  3. Computational Methods
  4. Mathematical Models
  5. Statistical Methods

He examines communication in social and academic contexts, and how these interpersonal interactions including posture, facial expressions and speech style link to and reflect implicit power hierarchies. Dr. McMahan shows that social inequalities do not only exist structurally, but are also deeply ingrained into personal exchanges and interactions.



PhD in Sociology(2017): University of Chicago


Recent Publications

Peter McMahan and James Evans, "Ambiguity and Engagement," American Journal of Sociology 124, no. 3 (November 2018): 860-912.

McMahan, P. (2017). Unreciprocated relationships and the structure of status (Order No. 10599365). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1935594787). Retrieved from

Peter McMahan (2016) Like family: Network coevolution and the emergence of altruismThe Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 40:2, 112-122, DOI: 10.1080/0022250X.2016.1147444

Mario Luis Small, Vontrese Deeds Pamphile, Peter McMahan, How stable is the core discussion network?, Social Networks, Volume 40, 2015, Pages 90-102, ISSN 0378-8733,

Padgett, John, Peter McMahan, and Xing Zhong (2012). “Economic production as chemistry II” in Organizational and Market Emergence, ed. J. Padgett and W. Powell.