2018. "‘Scarier than another storm’: Values at risk in the mapping and insuring of U.S. floodplains." British Journal of Sociology (forthcoming).
2017. "Gender and Green Consumption: Relational, Practical, Material." Journal of Consumer Ethics 1(2): 92-99. Available here.
2017. "Who Pays for the Next Wave? The American Welfare State and Responsibility for Flood Risk." Politics & Society 45(3): 415-440. Available here.
2013. “The taste for green: The possibilities and dynamics of status differentiation through “green” consumption.” Poetics 41(3): 294-322. Available here.
2010. "Contesting the Spectacle: Global Lives as Counterpublic in the Context of Celebrity Activism." Cultural Analysis 9: 146-151. Available here.
Communities around the United States face the threat of being underwater. This is not only a matter of rising waters reaching our doorsteps. It is also the threat of being financially underwater: with families struggling to insure their homes and property values collapsing as risks change, areas may become economically uninhabitable before they are physically unlivable. Underwater is a sociological account of how and with what effects floods are transformed into an economic problem facing families, communities, and governments. The book provides an in-depth account of the politics and social impacts of the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): the controversial federal program at the center of this transformation. The NFIP provides flood insurance protection for virtually all homes and small businesses in the country. In doing so, it turns a changing risk into an immediate economic reality: a set of costs that have to be assessed, distributed, and managed. It is the institution that will shape who lives on the waterfront, on what terms and at what cost, as the U.S. faces a climate-changed future.
Underwater examines the NFIP as both the stakes and terrain of political struggles over how Americans live with the costs of floods. Drawing on archival, interview, ethnographic, and other documentary data, the book follows these struggles over time, from the NFIP’s establishment in 1968 to the present, and at multiple scales, from local-level backlash to new flood maps and insurance prices, to national-level Congressional debates. It complicates easy stories about the program’s failures, which take the economization of natural hazard risk for granted and imply technical fixes to insurance contracts and prices. Instead, Underwater shows that insurance generally, and the NFIP specifically, forms a material constitution for society, delimiting risks and responsibilities through the design and operation of its seemingly arcane risk instruments, terms and conditions, and pricing arrangements. Though positioned as a rational solution for managing risk, flood insurance has ignited recurring fights over what is fair and valuable, raising new questions about how to plan for a future shaped by climate change. With its attention to the contested economic dimensions of environmental risk, Underwater uncovers the difficulties of living in, and using insurance to govern, the nation’s increasingly vulnerable floodplains.
With Marion Fourcade (UC Berkeley) and Olivier Jacquet (Université de Bourgogne), I am working on a comparative study of wine classifications in the U.S. and France, in order to gain leverage on questions related to the social conditions under which different forms of classification are institutionalized.
I was the research assistant for Arlie Hochschild's latest book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (available August 2016). I provided quantitative analyses of U.S. Census, General Social Survey, and Environmental Protection Agency data for the book and was first author on three of the book's appendices.