After finishing a postdoctoral appointment at Cornell University sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Sociological Association, I am now at UC Berkeley. In May 2010 I filed my dissertation in the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley under the direction of Professors Neil Fligstein (dissertation chair), Arlie Hochschild, Neil Smelser, Trond Petersen, Mary Blair-Loy (UC San Diego), and Stanley Brandes (Anthropology).
While at Cornell, I launched new postdoctoral projects examining the current economic recession in the US. This family of postdoctoral projects all focus on the same central question: How do differently situated individuals fashion their life careers along three different axes amidst pervasive uncertainty, instability, and risk accentuated by the ongoing financial and economic crisis? Different facets of the projects explore respondents' 1) occupational careers as workers and employees, 2) familial careers, and 3) financial careers as debtors, creditors, and investors. I have collected an original body of data comprised of survey respondents, interview participants, and time diary respondents. Both my doctoral and postdoctoral projects bring empirical data into dialogue with concepts drawn from a broad spectrum of theoretical perspectives ranging from symbolic interactionism to Durkheimian sociology, sociological institutionalism, and the field-dispositional approach of Pierre Bourdieu. Methodologically, the body of my work combines case-oriented research designs with original data collection comprising interviews, life calendar data, ethnographic observation, qualitative questionnaires, and quantitative surveys.
My dissertation draws on life calendar and interview data from over 150 respondents in three countries (U.S., France, and Norway) to explore the workings of societal context in the professional and private lives of comparable American, French, and Norwegian business professionals. Funded by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the UC Labor and Employment Research Fund, and a FLAS grant in Norwegian, the project relied on long-term fieldwork in Norway and France. The study discloses and analyzes numerous understudied cross-national divergences among the three groups traceable to cultural, social-structural, and institutional differences across the three societies. These cross-national and transatlantic divergences relate to several different topics: partnering choices and preferences, family expectations, ways of framing career and overwork, temporal habitus, scripts of what I dub "hard work talk," and other aspects of working life and private life. The study shows, even among relatively transnationalized segments of the population, strong society-specific macrolevel patterns in cultural, social-structural, and institutional domains leave distinctively French, Norwegian, and American imprints on working life and private life. The study enriches our understanding of the articulations between macrocontext - in its aspects of gender regimes, temporal orders, stratification orders, authenticity cultures, interaction opportunity structures, and individuals' embededdness within organizations - and individual-level practices and orientations.