I’m a political and comparative-historical sociologist who focuses largely on power, inequality, and urbanization. I also have interests in social theory, political economy, and the philosophy of the social sciences. My dissertation and book project, The Political Development of Urban Clientelism, represents an attempt to rethink the relationship between the growth of cities and political power in the context of acute inequality. Classical social theorists (such as Tönnies and Simmel) consider urban growth a key aspect of societal modernization, while political sociologists (like Weber and Elias) tend to think that modernization is characterized by the progressive formalization of power relations and state monopolization of political authority. Through an analysis of 20th century Latin America, which experienced the fastest and most extensive urban expansion in world history, I find that urbanization did not lead to either of these political outcomes. It instead reinforced informal and unequal power relations, or clientelism, between the new urban poor and political elites, and empowered non-state actors, urban brokers, who mediated these relationships. I reach this conclusion through an in-depth analysis of Mexico City, Lima, and Caracas, based on over 20,000 pages of original primary-source data collected from 12 archives.
In other research, I use case-study and mixed-methods approaches with original data to probe the nature of civil society and of the state, and grapple with methodological and epistemological problems related to comparative-historical sociology and social theorizing.
I earned my dual B.A. degree in Sociology (Departmental Citation) and History (Departmental Highest Honors) from UC Berkeley in 2011 and my M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 2014. My research has received financial support from the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and Rackham Graduate School, among others. And my articles have been published or are forthcoming in Comparative Sociology, Research in Political Sociology, and other venues.
This website has my CV, information about my research, my dissertation/book abstract, and my contact information. You may also like to know that I help run the American Sociological Association's Critical Historical Sociology Blog.