Ellingson earned a doctorate and master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. His research interests are the sociology of religion, sociology of culture, and social movements and collective behavior. His current research, funded by the Louisville Institute, examines the relationships among religious and non-religious environmental organizations.
He is the author of The Megachurch and the Mainline: Remaking Religious Tradition in the Twenty-First Century (University of Chicago Press, 2007), which won the 2007 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is also co-author of The Sexual Organization of the City (University of Chicago Press, 2004); co-editor of Religion and Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Routledge, 2002) and co-author of Organizational Ethics in Health Care: Principles, Cases and Practical Solutions (Jossey-Bass, 2001).
He has also taught at the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Health Care and the University of Chicago. Ellingson has served as book review co-editor and associate editor of the American Journal of Sociology.