Joel Best is a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. He specializes in topics such as social problems and deviance. His current research focuses on awards, prizes, and honors in American culture. He is an author of over ten books and dozens of academic articles.
Joel Best earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. He also earned a second M.A. degree in history from the University of Minnesota. He taught at Concordia College (Moorhead, MN–1969-70), California State University, Fresno (1970-91), and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1991-99).
He served as a President of the Midwest Sociological Society and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and was an editor of the journal Social Problems.