Goldberg specializes in political sociology, comparative and historical sociology, and social theory. His work has focused on the sociology of citizenship, including the historical development of citizenship rights and obligations over time, changing levels and forms of democratic participation, the role of social movements in citizenship struggles, and shifting patterns of civil inclusion and exclusion. He has explored these aspects of citizenship in relation to social class, race, ethnicity, and religion. More recently, he has sought a deeper understanding of civil inclusion and exclusion through the history of ideas.
Goldberg’s research has been generously supported by the Library of Congress and American Historical Association, the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Advanced Research Collaborative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg and the European Institutes for Advanced Study, and the Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien.