I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College. I am interested in politics, inequality, and the way social position (the amount of economic, cultural, and social resources/capitals someone has, relative to others in their society) shapes how people understand and relate to the world around them (especially with regard to politics & inequality).  I have three main areas of research:  

  • Class/inequality/stratification/mobility (e.g. the "class ceiling" - pay gaps by class origin among those in high-end occupations).  Latest article in ASR here.
  • Political participation and engagement (e.g. what "don't know" responses to surveys tell us about class differences in political engagement, here).
  • How electoral politics are produced

I draw on a wide array of methods, from in-depth interviews to large-scale surveys, from simple and fancy regression models to relational approaches such as multiple correspondence analysis. 

I am currently working on turning my dissertation into a book, a number of articles using the social origin data in the UK Labour Force Survey, finishing a paper on social networks and class identity using the GBCS data, and a new(ish) project on African-American and white voting rates in 92 US cities across 10 Presidential elections.  See the "Things I've Written" page for links to papers and more, well, things I've written.

I finished my PhD in May 2013 in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.  My PhD dissertation was entitled Packaging Democracy: How Campaign Professionals Reproduce Political Inequality. It is a study of the field of national-level American strategic campaign professionals -- the people who craft the messages and images that shape voters' perceptions of candidates, elections, and electoral politics. I collected an original dataset of the career biographies and backgrounds of all campaign staff and consultants with roles in the 2004-2008 Presidential and Senate races, conducted in-depth interviews with 57 of these politicos, and supplemented this with participant-observation on a campaign and at trainings for political professionals.  I showed how the structure and culture of campaigning combine to advantage some politicos over others, and to encourage the production of campaign strategies which often fail to engage voters.