University of California, Santa Barbara
Dissertation title: A Taste for Distinction: Gender, Class, and Race in Private and Personal Cheffing
Chair/Committee: Maria Charles (chair), John Mohr, Denise Segura, Kimberly Nettles-Barcelón
Areas of Specialization: gender, work/occupations, qualitative methodology, culture
Dissertation abstract: My dissertation research explores how private and personal chefs – workers ambiguously positioned between high- and low-status, male- and female-dominated work – negotiate their identity and status. Private and personal chefs in some ways benefit from the admiration and respect now directed at culinary professionals, but their legitimacy is questioned by other chefs. Their work approximates low-status domestic labor long performed by women of color, yet these chefs are mostly white and highly educated, like most of those who hire them. Drawing on semi-structured interviews and survey data, my research examines how these chefs draw symbolic boundaries to resolve ambiguities about who they are and/or want to be as people and as workers. Emotions play an important role in some of this boundary work, as the chefs' capacity for emotional labor allows them to claim superiority to commercial chefs, yet it may pose risks to their standing vis-à-vis clients. I argue that the fields of private and personal cheffing open opportunities to individuals for whom a commercial culinary career would be challenging or unattractive. However, the boundaries the chefs draw have the potential to reproduce inequalities within the culinary profession, as well as within society at large. This research contributes to scholarship on work and inequalities, providing insight on intra-profession status hierarchies and demonstrating how reproductive labor continues to be devalued, even by those engaged in such labor in homes. It also contributes theoretically to the existing cultural literature on boundary work, arguing that people draw boundaries not just between themselves and others, but also between their own multitude of selves. Distinguishing between a "true" self and a present, but less-than-ideal self, was a major factor in my research participants' decision to pursue private or personal cheffing.
The University of Iowa
Dissertation Title “Approach-Avoidance Sociology: Motivational Systems and Social Stratification”
Chair Jennifer Glanville and Steven Hitlin (Co-Chairs)
Areas of Specialization Social Psychology, Social Stratification, Health, Emotion
Abstract for dissertation chapter (“More than a Feeling: Emotional Well-Being and the Activation of Education”):
Having capital is not the same as using capital; capital can only improve life chances if it is activated. Previous research has pointed to structural and rational factors motivating activation. However, Weber’s (1947) concept of “affectual action” posits that “feeling states,” which are not rational or goal-oriented, vary between actors and possess important motivational properties. Following this lead, I argue that emotional well-being represents a promising approach to understanding the nature and extent of capital activation, because people with greater well-being demonstrate flexibility, support and persistence during activation efforts. Using a representative panel sample of middle-aged adults (MIDUS RDD: 1995-2005), I find that two distinct components of emotional well-being – the presence of positive emotion and the absence of negative emotion – serve to activate education (human capital), leading to especially favorable gains in health, sense of control and voluntary social involvement. Moreover, an auxiliary fixed-effects analysis of activation (based on the MIDUS 1995 Identical Twins sample) yields activation effects even after controlling for early life-course factors such as genes and primary socialization. In total, I find that capital activation is a powerful source of social stratification that rivals the importance of capital itself.
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dissertation Title: A “Professional Back Place”: An Ethnography of Restaurant Workers
Committee: Dr. Patricia Adler, Dr. Leslie Irvine (Chair), Dr. Stefanie Mollborn, Dr. Bryan Taylor, Dr. Amy Wilkins
Areas of Specialization: Social Psychology, Deviant Behavior, Work and Occupations, Life Course.
Dissertation Abstract: My dissertation is both a study of restaurants in general and of how the restaurant setting influences the identities and behavioral processes of the employees. Specifically, I investigate how the structure and organization of restaurant work shapes employees’ identities, life choices, goals, feelings, decisions, conventional and unconventional behaviors, and whether these are regarded as appropriately or inappropriately situated in the life course. I also consider how the workers negotiate and justify the incongruence with their current and purported self-concepts.
University of Exeter, UK
Dissertation Title: Music and Cultural Memory in the Diaspora: Berlin Experience
Chair/Committee: First supervisor: Prof. Tia DeNora Second supervisor: Matthias Zick Varul
Areas of Specialization: Music sociology, ethnomusicology, cultural memory, migration
My PhD research explores the relationship of “music and cultural memory”. The role of music in relation with cultural memory has many aspects in today’s globalized world. Music provides a dynamic connection with the past both at a personal and cultural level. On the other hand music has a uniting character as for it can help keep a cultural heritage alive and also it serves as a medium for adaptation to new cultures, geographies by listening and producing the music of that land. There are many migrant communities from Turkey in Europe since the labour migration starting in 1960's, and today there are three different generations in these communities, each having experienced different socialization processes. The research focuses on how music has been preserving and constructing a cultural memory for one of these communities living abroad, in Berlin, touching upon the different aspects of 'musicalization' between generations.
Hillary Berk, Ph.D., J.D. just received her Ph.D. from the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at the University of California Berkeley in the sociology of law, with half her coursework from Berkeley Sociology. Her dissertation, "The Legalization of Emotion: Risk, Gender and Feeling Management in Contracts for Surrogate Labor," combines content analysis of a sample of surrogacy contracts with 115 in-depth interviews of lawyers who specialize in reproductive law, surrogates, intended parents, and the agencies that match them together to address the interface of law and emotions. She was awarded both a doctoral dissertation research grant from the National Science Foundation and the University of California’s prestigious President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship. Hillary’s other areas of scholarly expertise include the sociology of work, family, and organizational studies, particularly the intersection between the legal and medical fields. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Hillary taught for over four years as a full-time lecturer in the Law and Society program at the University of California Santa Barbara, developing seven courses in the process, including Gender and the Law, The Legal Profession, and Law, Science, and Technology. She came into both programs with experience as a practicing lawyer and public policy mediator. Hillary will be the Legal Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley beginning in Fall 2013, advancing her research, and teaching the Sociology of Law. She is on the job market in search of a position to begin in Fall 2014.