Graduate Student Research

Click here for a list of dissertation titles from the past decade.

Grad student publications 2015

Aviles, Natalie B. and Isaac Ariail Reed. (forthcoming). “Ratio via machina: Three standards of mechanistic explanation in sociology.” Sociological Methods & Research.

Soper, Rachel. (online first). "Local is Not Fair: Indigenous Peasant Farmer Preference for Export Markets." Agriculture and Human Values.

Soper, Rachel. (forthcoming). "Globalization and the Agrarian Question: Divergent Development of Two Export-Oriented Farming Communities."Current Perspectives in Social Theory.

Arar, Rawan. 2015. “How political migrant networks differ from those of economic migrants: ‘strategic anonymity’ among Iraqi refugees in Jordan.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Aviles, Natalie B. 2015. “The little death: Rigoni-Stern and the problem of sex and cancer in twentieth century biomedical research.” Social Studies of Science 45(3): 394-415.

Lee, Jack Jin Gary. 2015. "Plural Society and the Colonial State: English Law and the Making of Crown Colony Government in the Straits Settlements." Asian Journal of Law and Society 2(2):229-249. Link:

Lee, Jack Jin Gary and John D. Skrentny. 2015. "Korean Multiculturalism in Comparative Perspective.” In Multiethnic Korea? Multiculturalism, Migration, and Peoplehood Diversity in Contemporary South Korea, edited by John Lie. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS) Publication Series.


Skrentny, John D. and Jack Jin Gary Lee. 2015.“Immigration, Nationhood, and Transnationalization in Industrialized East Asia.” In Transnational Trajectories: Nation, Citizenship, and Region in East Asia, edited by Yasemin Soysal. New York: Routledge.

López, Jane Lilly. 2015. "'Impossible Families': Mixed-Citizenship Status Couples and the Law."Law & Policy 37(1-2): 93-118.

Nielsen, Kelly. 2015. "'Fake It 'Til You Make It': Why Community College Students' Aspirations 'Hold Steady.'" Sociology of Education.

Nielsen, Kelly. 2015. "Beyond 'Warming Up' and 'Cooling Out': The Effects of Community College on a Diverse Group of Disadvantaged Young Women." Pp. 111-133 in Inequality, Power, and School SuccessCase Studies on Racial Disparity and Opportunity in Education edited by G. Conchas and M. Gottfried. New York: Routledge.

Pérez-Ahumada, P. 2015. The end of a Traditional Class Distinction in Neoliberal Society: “White-collar” and “Blue-collar” Work and its Impact on Chilean Workers’ Class Consciousness. Critical Sociology.

Williams, Stacy J. 2015 (online first). “Hiding Spinach in the Brownies: Frame Alignment in Suffrage Community Cookbooks, 1886-1916.” Social Movement Studies. DOI: 10.1080/14742837.2015.1027764

Zimmerman-Liu, Teresa and Teresa Wright. 2015. “What is in a Name? A Comparison of Being Branded a Religious Cult in the United States and the People’s Republic of China: Witness Lee and the Local Churches.”  Journal of Church and State (Advance Online Access) DOI: 10.1093/jcs/csv006.

Zimmerman-Liu, Teresa and Teresa Wright. 2015. “Protestant Christianity in China, Urban and Rural: Negotiating the State, Propagating the Faith,” in Stan Brunn, ed., The Changing World Religion Map (Springer, pp. 2059-2074).

Grad student publications 2014

Meyers, Stephen. 2014 “The Social Model under the Shadow of the Revolution: Ex-combatants negotiating disability identity in Nicaragua.” Qualitative Sociology. Vol. 37:4.

Murphy, Marie. 2014. "Hiding in Plain Sight: The Production of Heteronormativity in Medical Education." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Davis, Alexander K., Rogers, Laura E., Bryson, Bethany. 2014. “Own It! Constructions of Masculinity and Heterosexuality on Reality Makeover Television,” Cultural Sociology 8 (3): 258-274

García, Angela S. 2014. “Hidden in Plain Sight: How Unauthorized Migrants Strategically Assimilate in Restrictive Localities.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Meyers, Stephen 2014. “Global Civil Society as Megaphone or Echo Chamber?: Formalizing voice in the international disability rights movement.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.

Meyers, Stephen and E. Lockwood. 2014. “A Tale of Two Civil Societies: Expectations regarding public resources and disabled persons organizations in Nicaragua and Uruguay.” Disability Studies Quarterly. 34(4).

Meyers, Stephen. 2014. “Disabled persons associations at the crossroads of two organizational environments: Grassroots groups as part of an international movement and a local civil society.”Research in Social Science and Disability: Environmental Contexts and Disability. 8: 3-31.

Meyers, Stephen, V. Karr, and V. Pineda. 2014. “Youth with Disabilities in Law and Civil Society: Exclusion and inclusion in public policy and NGO networks in Cambodia and Indonesia.” Disability and the Global South Journal. 1(1): 5-28.

Pérez-Ahumada, Pablo. 2014. Class consciousness in a mature neoliberal society: Evidence from Chile. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 38, 57-75.

Poulson, Stephen C., Cory P. Caswell, and Latasha R. Grey. 2014. “Institutional Parochialism and the Study of Social Movements.” Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 13.2 :  222-242.

Williams, Stacy J. 2014. “A Feminist Guide to Cooking.” Contexts 13:59-61.

Zimmerman-Liu, Teresa, trans. The Thunder of Deep Thought—House of the Sun Notebooks, Number Two. English translation of book on poetic philosophy by dissident Chinese poet and 1987 Chinese Democracy Wall Movement activist, Huang Xiang, for City of Asylum/Pittsburgh tenth anniversary celebration (Sampsonia Way, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, 2014). 

Zimmerman-Liu, Teresa. 2014. "The Divine and Mystical Realm: Removing Chinese Christianity from the Fixed Structures of Mission Church and Clergy.” Social Sciences and Missions 27 239-266, DOI: 10.1163/18748945-02017.

Grad student publications 2013

Binder, Amy and Kate Wood. 2013. Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives. Princeton University Press.

Blair-Loy, Mary and Stacy J. Williams. 2013. “The Male Career Model.” Pp. 549-552 in Sociology of Work: an Encyclopedia, ed. Vicki Smith. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Cech, Erin A. 2013. "Ideological Wage Inequalities? The Technical/Social Dualism and the Gender Wage Gap in Engineering."Social Forces. 91 (4): 1147-1182.

Evans, Michael S. 2013. "Faith Based: Religious Neoliberalism and the Politics of Welfare in the United States.”Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.52 (1): 234-235.

Evans, Michael S. 2013. "Supporting Science Reasons, Restrictions, and the Role of Religion."Science Communication.34 (3): 334-362.

Everhart, Donald and Salman Hameed. 2013.  “Muslims and evolution: a study of Pakistani physicians in the United States.”  Evolution: Education and Outreach. 6 (2).

Karr, Valerie and Stephen Meyers. 2013. “Acceptance or acceptability: Youth inclusion in today’s schools.” Youth: Responding to Lives. Andrew Azzopardi, ed. Sense Publishers.

Karr, Valerie and Stephen Meyers. 2013. “Reactions to the Rights-Based Approach: Contextualizing the CRPD in Cambodia.” Journal of Disability and International Development. 6 (3).

Meyers, Stephen. 2013. “The Past Dividing the Present: Nicaragua’s Legacy of War Shaping Disability Rights Today.” Conflict, Disaster, and Disability. David Mitchell and Valerie Karr, eds. Routeledge.

Meyers, Stephen. 2013. “Wounded Warriors or One of the Crowd?: Civil War, Citizenship, and Disability in Nicaragua.” Peace Studies Journal. 6(4): 22-36.

Skrentny, John D. and Jane Lilly López. 2013. "Obama's Immigration Reform: The Triumph of Executive Action." Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality2(1): 62-79.

Skrentny, John and René Patnode. 2013. “Rights and Right Movements.” The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements.  David A. Snow, Donatella Della Porta, Bert Klandermans, and Douglas McAdam, eds. Blackwell.

Soper, Rachel. 2013. “Reclaiming Development: Indigenous Community Organizations and the Flower Export Industry in the Ecuadorian Highlands.” Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorians Facing the Twenty-First Century.  Marc Becker, ed. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  Pp. 128-149.

Tannenbaum, David, Chad J. Valasek, Eric D. Knowles, and Peter H. Ditto. 2013. "Incentivizing Wellness in the Workplace Sticks (Not Carrots) Send Stigmatizing Signals."Psychological Science. Pp. 1-11.

Thorpe, Charles and Brynna Jacobson. 2013. "Life politics, nature and the state: Giddens' sociological theory and The Politics of Climate Change."The British Journal of Sociology.64 (1): 99-122.

Walshok, Mary L., Josh D. Shapiro, and Nathan Owens. 2013. "Transnational innovation networks aren’t all created equal: Towards a classification system."The Journal of Technology Transfer. Pp. 1-13.


Wright, Teresa and Teresa Zimmerman-Liu. 2013. "Atheist Political Activists Turned Protestants: Religious Conversion among Chinese Dissidents.” Journal of Church and StateDOI:10.1093/jcs/cst096.

Grad student publications 2012

Blair-Loy, Mary, and Melissann L. Herron. 2012. "The Resilience of Gender and Gender Inequality in the Contemporary United States."Sex Roles.68 (9): 623-625.

Cayleff, Susan, Melissann Herron, Chelsea Cormier, Sarah Wheeler, Alicia Chávez-Arteaga, Jessica Spain, and Cristina Dominguez. 2012. "Oral History and ‘Girls’ Voices’: The Young Women’s Studies Club as a Site of Empowerment." Journal of International Women's Studies.12 (4): 22-44.

Davis, Daniel. 2012."Syllabus and Instructors Guide- SOC 382: Intro to Social Research." TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.

Evans, Michael S. 2012. "Who Wants a Deliberative Public Sphere?" Sociological Forum. 27 (4): 872-895.

Garcia, Angela. 2012. “Return to Sender? A Comparative Analysis of Immigrant Communities in ‘Attrition through Enforcement’ Destinations.” Ethnic and Racial Studies.  Pp. 1-22.

Kenny, Katherine E. 2012. "Golden holocaust: Origins of the cigarette catastrophe and the case for abolition."Global Public Health. 7 (9): 1027-1029.

Lindseth, Brian, and Karen Baker. 2012. "Collaborative design of an oceanographic event logger." Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Pp.1195-1198.

Skrentny, John and René Patnode. 2012. “Race and Politics.” The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology.  Edwin Amenta, Kate Nash and Alan Scott, eds.  Blackwell.  Pp. 315-324.

Skrentny, John D., Micah Gell-Redman, and Jack Jin Gary Lee. 2012. "Japan, the United States, and the Philosophical Bases of Immigration Policy."American Behavioral Scientist.56 (8): 995-1007.

Shafir, Gershon, and Cynthia E. Schairer. 2012. "The war on terror as political moral panic."Lessons and Legacies of the War on Terror: From Moral Panic to Permanent War. Gershon Shafir, Everard Meade, William J. Aceves, eds.  New York: Routlege.Pp. 9-47.

Grad student publications 2011

Binder, Amy and Kate Wood. 2011. “Conservative Critics and Conservative College Students: Variations in Discourses of Exclusion” in Diversity in American Education: Toward a More Comprehensive Approach; Lisa Stulberg and Sharon Weinberg (eds.), New York: Routledge.

Carvalho, Tito B., Mohamed Y. Rady, Joseph L. Verheidje, and Jason S. Robert.  2011. “Continuous Deep Sedation in End-of-Life- Care: Disentangling Palliation from Physician-Assisted Death.”  The American Journal of Bioethics.  11 (6): 60-62.

Cech, Erin A., and Tom J. Waidzunas. 2011.  "Navigating the heteronormativity of engineering: The experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students." Engineering Studies.3 (1): 1-24.

Donovan, Joan M., and Karen S. Baker. 2011.  "The Shape of Information Management: Fostering Collaboration across Data, Science, and Technology in a Design Studio." Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

FitzGerald, David, Rafael Alarcón, and Leah Muse-Orlinoff, eds. 2011. Recession Without Borders: Mexican Migrants Confront the Economic Downturn. Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. University of California.

Schairer, Cynthia E. 2011. "Communities of Prosthesis Users and Possibilities for Personal Innovation."Research in Social Science and Disability.6: 113-133.

Grad student publications 2010

Cech, Erin A., and Mary Blair-Loy.  2010. "Perceiving glass ceilings? Meritocratic versus structural explanations of gender inequality among women in science and technology."Social Problems.57 (3): 371-397.

Charles, Maria and Erin Cech. 2010. “Beliefs about Maternal Employment.” Dividing the Domestic: Men, Women, and Household Work in Cross-National Perspective.  Judith Treas and Sonja Drobniè, eds. Stanford University Press.  Pp. 147-174.

Cheyne, Andrew and Amy Binder. 2010. “Cosmopolitan Preferences: The Constitutive Role of Place in American Elite Taste for Hip-Hop Music 1991-2005.” Poetics 38:336-64.

Cornelius, Wayne A., David Fitzgerald, Pedro Lewin Fischer, and Leah Muse-Orlinoff, eds.2010.  Mexican migration and the US economic crisis: a transnational perspective. Center for Comparative Immigration Studies.  Economic crisis: a transnational perspective

Duffy, Meghan, Amy Binder and John Skrentny. 2010. “Elite Status and Social Change: Using Field Analysis to Explain Policy Formation and Implementation.” Social Problems 57:49-73.

Epstein, Steve and April N. Huff. 2010. "Sex, Science, and the Politics of Biomedicine" Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine's Simple Solutions. Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, Steven Epstein, and Robert Aronowitz, eds. Johns Hopkins University Press.  Pp. 213-230.

Evans, Michael S. 2010. "Human Dignity and Bioethics."Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews.39 (2): 191-192.

Evans, Michael S. 2009. "Zelizer's theory of money and the case of local currencies." Environment and Planning. 41 (5): 1026-1041.

Evans, Michael S. and John H. Evans. 2010. "Arguing against Darwinism: Religion, Science, and Public Morality."  The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion. Bryan S. Turner, ed. Pp. 286-308.

Haydu, Jeffrey and David Kadanoff. 2010.“Casing Political Consumerism.” Mobilization. 15 (2): 159-177.

Grad Student Working Paper Series

The sociology department showcases current research by our graduate students. 

Author: Jennifer Nations

Working paper number 2016-2

Title: Market University or University Family? Challenges to the Locus of Authority in Public University Tuition Policy 

Abstract: State higher education systems have played an important role in increasing college participation among disadvantaged student populations, partly because they have been students’ most affordable option. Since the 1980s, nearly every state legislature with power to set public sector tuition has transferred tuition setting authority to unelected university governing boards, making way for substantial increases in tuition costs. I use a comparative case study method to show how institutionalized ideologies about public postsecondary education led policymakers in New York to resist this national trend while in Texas they abdicated control over tuition. I demonstrate that the organizational arrangement of postsecondary institutions placed different types of normative constraints on political actors as they weighed the merits of devolved tuition authority, leading to divergent outcomes. My research advances sociological understandings of the politics of higher education and education policymaking in general.

Author: Kevin Beck

Working paper number 2016-1

TitleBuilding Social Cohesion with Bricks and Mortar: The Environmental Determinants of Trust in New York City’s Public Housing

Abstract: Public housing has long been characterized as an environment that breaks down social cohesion among residents and gives rise to a host of social ailments. However, recent studies find that public housing does not alienate residents from their neighbors but instead promotes cooperation and collective action. To reconcile these discrepancies in the literature, I test several hypotheses that might explain how the built environment mediates an important indicator of social cohesion: trust in one’s neighbors. Relying on data from the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey I find that, on average, residents in public housing are less likely to report trust in their neighbors than residents living in privately owned housing. I also find evidence to suggest that living in public housing might not have the same effect on all residents; rather, public housing might foster trust among certain groups of longtime residents. These findings inform debates over current efforts to rebuild public housing through demolitions and mixed-income housing. I argue that policies attempting to engineer social cohesion through building design overestimate the capacity of the built environment to influence social outcomes.

Author: Teresa Zimmerman-Liu

Working paper number 2015-4

Title:“Children of the Devil” to “Sons of God”: The Reconfiguration of Guanxiin a 20thCentury Indigenous Chinese Protestant Group”.

Abstract:Guanxiis the Chinese system of ideas and practices constituting social relationships and can be considered the foundation ofChinese societies. Protestant Christianity spread overguanxinetworks from its first introduction to China, changing bothguanxiand Christianity in the process. This paper proposes a causal model ofguanxiand then analyzes how it was reconstituted in the indigenous Chinese Protestant group, the Local Churches. It is based on published writings by Local Church founders and members and on the author’s thirty years of experience with the group. This case contributes to academic understanding ofguanxiand Chinese Christianity, finding thatextension of family, supply of resources, and social interaction are the most critical aspects ofguanxi, but that specific practices change in the Christian context to preserve Biblical commandments. Becauseguanxinetworks are bonding rather than bridging, Chinese Christian groups will tend to diverge more than converge.

Author: Tad Skotnicki

Working paper number 2015-3

Title: Ethical Visions and Commodity Fetishism: Turn of the Twentieth-Century Consumer Activism in the United States and England

Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, the National Consumers’ League, the Co-operative Wholesale Society, and the Women’s Co-operative Guild encouraged people to become ethical consumers. I argue that we can explain their attempts to do so in terms of commodity fetishism. By casting their consumer activism as an engagement with commodity fetishism, we explain: 1) the use of sensory techniques—both metaphorical and physical—to connect producers, commodities, and consumers and 2) a commitment to the ethical power of the senses. This account reveals the virtues of commodity fetishism as a tool for understanding the dynamics of consumer activism.

Published as: Skotnicki, Tad. 2015. “Commodity Fetishism and Consumer Senses: Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Consumer Activism in the United States and England.” Journal of Historical Sociology, published online before print November 11, 2015.

Author: Laura Pecenco

Working paper number 2015-2

Title: "Undoing Gender While Doing Time: Men in Prison Arts Programs"

Abstract: Although there is a scholarly and institutional assumption that imprisoned men must maintain a hypermasculine image, this performance of gender does not extend to the prison art studio. Rather than buttressing the hypermasculine traits that are rewarded on the prison yard, incarcerated artists are rewarded for devotion to the art program itself. In this paper, I examine the experiences of male prisoner-artists through more than 250 hours of participant observation in a prison art program that I created, as well as 55 interviews with currently and formerly incarcerated artists and prison art program staff. Respondents consider the art studio to be a "safe" space, a sanctuary within a dangerous environment. In the studio, these men are allowed, and even encouraged, to transcend rigid gender expressions and racial divisions in order to become true artists.

They regularly socialize across racial lines, sharing supplies and offering encouragement. The men generally agree that they should protect the art program, thereby safeguarding a "freer culture" that does not exist elsewhere in the prison. My findings support policy arguments that prison arts programs are beneficial for individual inmates, the prison institution, and broader society but add an important mechanism for how this is accomplished: these art programs allow inmates to drop the hyper masculine imperative. This has broader theoretical implications for the study of gender and organizations. Just as Ely and Meyerson (2010) found on oil rigs, getting individuals in masculine (and dangerous) workplaces to shift their goals and utilize a new reward system allows them to cast aside the rigid guidelines that formerly shaped their gendered behavior.Creating "alternative spaces" in heavily gendered organizations can reduce members' necessity to enact this gendered behavior, thereby "undoing" gender.

Author: Rawan Arar

Working Paper number 2015-1

Title: Borrowed Legitimacy: Using the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to Strengthen Nationalist Claims in Northern Ireland

Abstract: While researchers have paid extensive attention to how political entrepreneurs selectively appropriate the local past to create ethnic boundaries, the case of Northern Ireland reveals the surprising ways that entrepreneurs can also reach sideways, not just backwards, to reinforce those boundaries. Through a process of borrowed legitimacy, Unionists and Nationalists strategically mobilize expressions of international solidarity with Israelis or Palestinians, respectively, in order to compete for control of the state in Northern Ireland. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict reinforces the ethnic boundary between Protestants and Catholics despite the Northern Irish peace process. This study examines technologies of borrowed legitimacy such as flags, graffiti, murals, and political speech that reinforce the ethnic boundary as an alternative to violent methods that have become delegitimized.

Author: Kelly Nielsen

Working paper number 2014-4

Title: “Fake It ‘til You Make It”: Why Community College Students’ Aspirations “Hold Steady.”

Abstract: Sociologists of education have explored the relationship between students’ postsecondary aspirations and their propensity to get “cooled out” in community colleges. However, researchers have directed little attention to students whose aspirations remain stable over long periods of time or to the different roles that college degree goals play in the lives of disadvantaged students. Using four waves of longitudinal interviews, I examine the reasons why low-income women hold steady to their aspirations for college degrees over a three-and-a-half-year period. I argue that holding steady not only reflects rational expectations about future employment opportunities, but it also generates moral status in the face of marginalization and facilitates the navigation of personal relationships. I use the concept of an “ambition imperative” to demonstrate how aspirations for college attainment are a means of asserting moral status and pursuing virtuous social membership. This article contributes to theories of aspirations and offers an alternative explanation of the institutional effects of community colleges in the lives of students.

Published as: Nielsen, Kelly. 2015. “’Fake It ‘til You Make It’: Why Community College Students’ Aspirations ‘Hold Steady.’” Sociology of Education 88(4): 265-283.

Author:Natalie Aviles

Working paper number 2014-3

Title: The Little Death: Rigoni-Stern and the Problem of Sex and Cancer in 20th-Century Biomedical Research.

Abstract: Approaches to the organization and conduct of cancer research changed dramatically throughout the 20th century. Despite marked differences between the epidemiological approaches of the first half of the century and molecular techniques that gained dominance in the 1980s, prominent 20th-century researchers investigating the link between sexual activity and anogenital cancers continuously invoked the same 1842 treatise by Italian surgeon Domenico Rigoni-Stern, who is said to originate the problem of establishing a causal link between sex and cancer. In this article, I investigate 20th-century references to Rigoni-Stern as a case of a broader phenomenon: scientists situating their work through narratives of venerated ancestors, or originators. By explaining shifting versions of originator narratives in light of their authors’ cultural context and research practices, we can reimagine as meaningful cultural symbols the references that previous scholars have treated as specious rhetorical maneuvers. In this case, references to Rigoni-Stern provide an interpretive anchor for American scientists to construct continuity between their work and a diverse historical legacy of cancer research.

Published as: Aviles, Natalie B. 2015. “The Little Death: Rigoni-Stern and the Problem of Sex and Cancer in 20th-Century Biomedical Research.” Social Studies of Science 45(3): 394-415.

Author: Dilara Yarbrough

Working paper number 2015

Title: “You start with the youth”: Systemic critique at a homeless service organization

Abstract: Using ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews, and analysis of homeless youth art and writing, I investigate the prevalence of structural explanations of poverty among transition-age homeless youth at a large homeless youth service organization. I find that narratives of “youth” facilitate structural explanations of poverty and inequality among homeless participants. As staff members emphasize the positive characteristics of youth to challenge anti-homeless stigma, homeless clients leverage the organization's official discourse to advance more radical critiques of the systems that oppress them. This finding calls into question scholars' assumptions about the hegemony of pathologizing ideologies and practices in homeless shelters, and sheds light on how discursive resources can disrupt individualizing understandings of homelessness.

Author: Pablo Pérez-Ahumada

Working paper number 2014-1

Title: The End of a Traditional Class Distinction in Neoliberal Society: “White-Collar” and “Blue-Collar” Work and its Impact on Chilean Workers’ Class Consciousness

Abstract: For several decades, the distinction between ‘white-collar’ (non-manual) and ‘blue-collar’ (manual) work occupied a central place in the analysis of working-class consciousness. According to many scholars, the expansion of non-manual employment was key to dismantling traditional working-class identities. Although several analysts noted the irrelevance of the white-collar/blue-collar distinction as a determinant of class consciousness, the most recent research on class in Chile continues on the traditional argument. However, the empirical research supporting such a contention has been scarce. In this paper I test that hypothesis. Based on quantitative and qualitative data, I show that the distinction between manual and non-manual labor does not lead to significant variations in workers’ class consciousness. Therefore, its use in recent research on class (e.g. the contention that non-manual employment reinforces a ‘middle-class’ consciousness among workers) is deemed questionable.

Published as: Pérez-Ahumada, Pablo. 2015. “The End of a Traditional Class Distinction in Neoliberal Society: ‘White-collar’ and ‘Blue-collar’ Work and its Impact on Chilean Workers’ Class Consciousness.” Critical Sociology. Published online before print May 13.