My research is motivated primarily by theoretical questions surrounding the assignment and consequences of cultural classifications. This focus is reflected in my research on legitimacy, which examines how legitimacy and illegitimacy are operationalized (see here), evaluated (for examples, see here and here), established (e.g., here and here), and invoked (e.g., here), and how these classifications affect socially significant outcomes (e.g., here, here, here, and here). I explore these questions through the study of contentious politics, and in that context I am engaged in substantive research spanning sociology, international studies, and political science. For example, I have published research examining why armed conflicts recur, the social and contextual factors that influence counter-state organizations’ behaviors (also see here), and the unintended consequences of legal activism.

I am also interested in advancing social science methodology. I use a variety of methods in my work, and I am broadly interested in multi- and mixed-methods approaches to social research. These interests motivate work advancing new methods and approaches to measurement (representative publications are available here).

Work In Progress

My ongoing work builds on and integrates these foci. I am currently completing a book (under contract with Cambridge University Press) with David Melamed and Ronald Breiger titled Regression Inside Out, which presents a novel approach to regression decomposition and details its applications.

In another project, I am examining variation in the salience and implications of social boundaries, categories, and symbolic distinction across Turkey. To do this, I am conducting in-depth interviews with scholars of Turkey who have conducted long-term fieldwork in various sites throughout the country over the past 35 years. Through these interviews, I am also exploring the informal processes and practices of long term fieldwork.