Graduate Students


Yenhoa Ching, UC Berkeley, Education. "Asian Youth and Race-Making in an Urban School"

This ethnography of a high-poverty majority-Asian school shows how students and staff engaged in discourses and practices that reproduced patterns of inequality among groups of students of color. This research clarifies how positive but conditional notions of Asian-ness were created through and against negative ideas of Blackness and Latino-ness.

Fidan Elcioglu, UC Berkeley, Sociology. "Immigration and the Politics of Belonging"

How do legally privileged activists—US citizens and permanent residents—understand and mobilize around immigration? By integrating 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Arizona, as well as interviews and archival research, this research examines immigration expansionism and restrictionism in relation to each other. I show that the study of the worldviews of opposing movements can illuminate the nature of underlying social structures--in this case, the main contradictions of globalization and how the punitive arm of the American state tries to address them.

Mark Fleming, UC Berkeley, Medical Anthropology. "Stress and the Biopolitics of Work" 

This dissertation uses ethnographic research to examine the connections between stress-related disease, changing conditions of work, and race and class formations in the United States.

Neil Gong, UC Los Angeles, Sociology. "Empowerment, Responsibility and Authority in LA's Public Mental Health System"

My research investigates the institutional matrix of responsibility and authority in American community mental health care by examining how psychiatric patients, family members, and mental health workers negotiate treatment decisions and expectations of daily living in downtown Los Angeles. In particular, I am interested in how discourses of psychiatric patient "empowerment" and "recovery" are enacted when workers and family members believe such patient/client/consumers to be ill-equipped to make rational decisions. In the specific context of contested urban space, I also consider the way political pressures to manage visible madness enable and constrain novel collaborations between law enforcement, mental health workers, kin networks, and the patients/clients/consumers they aim to "partner" with.

Cole Hansen, UC Berkeley-UCSF, Medical Anthropology. “Seeking Care in the Carceral Shadow”

My research examines the process of community reentry for men leaving a county jail and explores emerging interconnections of health care and incarceration formed through Medicaid expansion to indigent adult populations.

Christopher Herring, UC Berkeley, Sociology. "Managing Marginality: Homeless Regulation and Survival in San Francisco"

This dissertation examines the restructuring of homeless policy under the federally mandated “10-year plans to end homelessness” in San Francisco through a double-edged ethnography: drawing from one year of fieldwork living on the streets and SRO's alongside those experiencing homelessness and one year working alongside social workers, clinicians, volunteers, police officers, and community organizers attempting to assist homeless people

Roi Livne, UC Berkeley, Sociology. "Dying, Economized: Palliative Care and the U.S. Moral Economy of Dying"

Dying, Economized is a sociological account of the intersection between morality and economics in U.S. end-of-life care. It is based on ethnographic and historical analyses of palliative care – a new medical subspecialty, which is today the main designated discipline that treats dying and potentially dying patients in U.S. hospitals. The manuscript analyzes the emergence of end-of-life care as a professional, moral, and economic field, and the efforts of the clinicians active in this field to reconcile the tensions it engrains. The manuscript’s first part explains how since the 1960s, dying has gradually become a social problem, which requires specific medical and policy interventions and poses distinctive medical, ethical, economic, and political challenges. The manuscript’s second part draws on an ethnographic study conducted in three California palliative care services and on 80 in-depth interviews with clinicians of various professions and specialties, whose work pertains to the treatment of dying patients. This part analyzes how palliative care clinicians negotiate the tension between conflicting economic interests, clinicians’ ethical inclination to respect patients’ wishes, and clinicians’ wish to do the right thing medically and ethically. Through this mixed-methods approach, the manuscript illuminates the role that new forms of expertise play in defining the relationship between moral and economic life in one of the most ethically challenging areas in modern medicine.

Miguel Pérez Ahumada, UC Berkeley, Anthropology. "Becoming Subjects and Urban Citizens in the City’s Peripheries: Contemporary Struggles for Housing in Santiago, Chile."

My research analyzes ethnographically the rise and development of housing mobilizations in Santiago, Chile. In particular, I examine how pobladores’ (poor inhabitants) demand for the right to housing, to the city, and to “life with dignity” (vida digna) not only questions current neoliberal urban policies but also contributes to the formation of political subjectivities among working-class dwellers living in peripheral areas.

Benjamin Shestakofsky, UC Berkeley, Sociology. "The Labor of Markets."

My research bridges scholarship in the sociology of work and economic sociology, examining how a broker firm mobilizes a global labor force to accomplish the invention, reproduction, and transformation of an online marketplace. 

Alisa Szatrowski, UC Berkeley, Sociology. "School Success: A Comparative Ethnography of High Schools Serving Low-Income Students."

This dissertation identifies practices that are most effective with low-income students through a comparative ethnography of a high achieving and average high school matched on size, low-income population and demographics. Conducted over two years, observations include classroom visits, informal school time, teacher collaboration, department meetings and leadership team meetings. Findings highlight the organizational features that facilitate success in schools in terms of high graduation and college attendance rates for a substantial population of low-income students.

Ana Villareal, UC Berkeley, Sociology. "Drug Violence, Fear and the Transformation of Everyday Life in the Mexican Metropolis"

Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, this dissertation examines the impact of increased, spectacular violence and related fear on the everyday lives of residents of Monterrey, Mexico. While most scholarship on fear tends to highlight the negative facets of this emotion, this cross-class, cross-gender comparison of responses to violence demonstrates how fear can both tear and tighten the social fabric, both destroy and create new forms of social life.