I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College. I am interested in politics, inequality, and the way social position (the amount of various kinds of resources someone has, relative to those around them) shapes how people understand and relate to the social world (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. Project website & preview of upcoming book at https://www.classceiling.org/.
  • Political participation and engagement (e.g. what "don't know" responses to surveys tell us about class differences in political engagement, hereoverview of what we know about class inequalities in voting here).
  • The role of campaign professionals and political consultants in shaping American politics (in progress). 

I was a post-doc in the Sociology Department at the London School of Economics for three years, and I finished my PhD in May 2013 in the Department of Sociology at the
University of California, Berkeley.
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 am currently in the process of conducting additional interviews with high-level political consultants and campaign operatives, and will submit a book manuscript in late 2017.

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. 

In addition to my book project, I am currently working on a number of research projects, including ongoing work on the "Class Ceiling" in the UK and elsewhere (with Sam Friedman), work on how cities affect national-level voting for African-Americans and others (with Hana Brown), and a new project on understanding non-voters & non-voting in Pennsylvania.