Haley McInnis

BS: Arizona State University, Sociology and Psychology (2013)

Areas of specialization: Comparative-historical sociology; environmental sociology; Science, knowledge, and technology; social movements

Current research: The social construction of drought in California

My current research seeks to answer the deceptively simple question: When is a drought a drought? At the intersection of the environment, politics, and science, this research interrogates the social components of drought and the ways in which this “natural” phenomenon is socially constructed.  I argue that the material and the discursive are brought together through the measurement and monitoring techniques in California’s expansive water system, and they in turn produce, alongside actors, the natural phenomenon we call drought. Taking a comparative historical approach, I compare droughts in California from 1976 - 2017 to study the declarations of drought, policy responses, and rescinding drought declarations.