PhDs on the Market
My research interests lie primarily in political sociology, organizations and conflict. Much of my research focuses on the interplay between political economy and organizations in regions of conflict and political transition, and I have conducted fieldwork in a number of countries in Africa including Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. My dissertation explores the impact of democratization on political parties and social movement organizations across racial groups in South Africa. From townships surrounding Cape Town to isolated Afrikaner communities in the Karoo desert, this research has taken me to a diverse array of communities in South Africa and has provided important insights into the long-term impact of democratization with implications beyond Sub-Saharan Africa to events currently unfolding in North Africa and the Middle East. In addition to my dissertation project, I have also conducted research on the role of international humanitarian organizations in regions of conflict, and I am currently working on a research project with Susan Olzak and Ruud Koopmans that examines the relationship between immigration policy and discourse and anti-immigrant events in Western Europe. I have taught undergraduate sociology courses on writing, quantitative and qualitative methods, and I have been involved in teaching fieldwork and research methods seminars to students in the International Relations Honors Program at Stanford for the past three years.
Dissertation: "The Political Economy of Collective Action in Emerging Democratic Regimes: Democratic reform, economic development, and collective action in South Africa from 1994-2010 ."
Committee: Doug McAdam(chair), Andrew Walder, and Susan Olzak
CV and more information on Brian's research interests can be found on his website.
My research develops and computationally applies a formal theory of prices as socially coordinated information. This relaxes neoclassical economics’ assumption of perfect information, using information theory as a micro-to-macro bridge between sociological mechanisms and system-level economic behavior. My dissertation uses this framework to examine commodity price volatility as a consequence of dynamic and endogenous social structural reproduction processes. Leveraging my dissertation’s coordination theory, my future research will continue to explore system-level economic effects of social interactions, ultimately pursuing cross-cultural, microsociological explanations of macroeconomic growth.
Dissertation: “Prices as Socially Coordinated Information: Market Volatility Implications from a Microsociological Price Theory.”
Committee: Mark Granovetter (chair), Dan McFarland, and Andrew Walder