Assistant Professor of Sociology
Sociology & Anthropology
Teaching and Research Interests
I am interested in how knowledge works in society, especially how it is distributed unevenly, embodied in unconscious routines, and misunderstood by people in different social settings. My research and teaching explores these phenomena in a number of areas;
- The authority of experts, especially economists
- Training, performance, and creativity in boxing, classical music, and visual art
- The social causes and functions of laughter
- The development of work-based identities
- The effects of technological innovation
- The group-specific valuation of different consumer goods
- The nature of deviant subcultures
- The implications for general social theory
My approach to all of these is eclectic, using ideas from sociology, economics, anthropology, social psychology, and linguistics. It also tries to draw out the implications for class, race, and gender inequalities in the contemporary world of global marketization and computer-based connectivity.
B.A., Social and Political Sciences, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, 1987
M.A., Sociology, University of Chicago, 1994
Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago, 2004
Selected Publications and Activities
The Flexible Unity of Economics. American Journal of Sociology. Forthcoming 2012.
Knowledge Distribution, Embodiment, and Insulation. Sociological Theory. 2010.
Humor. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2009.
Economics. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2009.
Using Autobiographical Statements to Investigate the Identity of American Economists. In E. Roy Weintraub and Evelyn L. Forget, Eds. Economists' Lives. 2007.
Academic Knowledge and Expert Authority in American Economics. Sociological Perspectives 2007.
Current main research project: comparing tacit knowledge and performance in boxing, classical music, and visual art.
Courses and Seminars Taught
- Technology and Humanity (SOAN 008F)
- Science in Public Life (SOAN 008G)
- Exemplary Studies (SOAN 012M)
- Deviance (SOAN 028D)
- Sociology of Science (SOAN 048C)
- Sociology of Humor (SOAN 048D)
- Sociology of Technology (SOAN 128)
- Work and Identity (SOAN 138)
- Methods of Social Exploration (SOAN 028E)