My research agenda broadly considers the relationship between culture, work, organizations, and inequality. In my current project, a study of evaluation and inequality in American fine dining, I draw on two original data sets—120 in-depth interviews with critically celebrated chefs in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area and 1380 restaurant reviews from the 2016 Michelin Guide in the same two cities. I analyze how chefs and critics make sense of and evaluate chefs and restaurants in the field, analyzing chefs’ creative processes, daily management of staff, and interpretation of critics’ assessments of their products, among other things. One article from this project is published in Social Problems, and I am currently preparing a book manuscript and several additional articles drawing on this data.
I have also published research on symbolic compliance and sexual harassment on college campuses (in Sociological Forum), the intellectual development of the theoretical concept of institutional logics (in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management) and the gender dynamics of the western literary canon (published in Gender Issues).
As a fellow at the Curb Center at Vanderbilt, I collaborate with Dr. Alexandre Frenette on projects that consider the relationship between inequality, organizations, and work in the arts. Drawing on findings from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) survey, we consider how systems of ethnoracial, gender, class, and educational inequality affect arts graduates’ experiences in higher education, in internships, and in creative careers (these findings are published in the 2021 annual policy report released by SNAAP).
In addition to these projects, I have also begun data collection for another major project considering how actors who are differentially positioned within a field of cultural production understand the commercial and symbolic value of everyday cultural products. Through interviews with writers, readers, publishers, marketers, booksellers, and librarians, I consider how different actors, with different relationships to the same cultural product, understand the value and meaning of romance novels, a robust segment of the American publishing landscape.