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
- The implications for social theories of habit and learning
- The misperception of levels of income inequality
- 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 new information technologies
- The group-specific valuation of different consumer goods
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
Using "Wild" Laughter to Explore the Social Sources of Humor. Social Forces. 2014.
What Were They Thinking? The Federal Reserve in the Run-up to the 2008 Financial Crisis” (short web summary, with Ayse Kaya and Stephen Golub) VoxEU.org economic research and policy forum. 2014.
What Were They Thinking? The Federal Reserve in the Run-up to the 2008 Financial Crisis” (with Ayse Kaya and Stephen Golub) Review of International Political Economy. 2014.
The Flexible Unity of Economics. American Journal of Sociology. 2012.
Knowledge Distribution, Embodiment, and Insulation. Sociological Theory. 2010.
Humor. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2009/2014.
Economics. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2009/2014.
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 Research and Writing
Economic Figures: Economists as Scientists, Philosophers, Priests and Technocrats (book manuscript)
How Much do Americans Think Other Americans Make? Exploring Misperceptions of Income Inequality, 1987-2010
Comparing tacit knowledge and performance in boxing, classical music, and visual art.
Interpreting the laughter of Federal Reserve decision-makers during key meetings.
Courses and Seminars Taught
- Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology (SOAN 001)
- Technology and Humanity (SOAN 008F)
- Science in Public Life (SOAN 008G)
- Exemplary Studies (SOAN 012M)
- Deviance (SOAN 028D)
- Sociology of Economic Life (SOAN 038C)
- 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)