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Rachael Heath Ferguson

Areas of Interest / Specialization: 
Economic Sociology, Social Psychology, Urban Sociology, Organizations, Risk & Trust, Microinteraction, Ethnographic Methods, Online Research Methods & Digital Culture
Dissertation Title: 
Generating Stability: Successful Transactions & Local Order in Extralegal Enterprise
Dissertation Committee: 
Miguel Centeno (Chair), Mitchell Duneier, Viviana Zelizer
Dissertation Abstract: 

My research centers on qustions of identity, trust, reputation, and risk. With a focus on everyday lives, my Ph.D thesis was a multi-year ethnography that examined the ways in which individuals involved in a variety of criminal enterprises in the United States and Europe negotiate and define relationships, identities, objects, and practices, in pursuit of successful exchange, and how this sensemaking establishes a foundation for order in their social and professional lives.  
Current projects examine these same questions in the environment of darknet marketplaces, in the honor code that exists in professional ice-hockey, and in the social and professional world of global elites. I have also most recently ventured into documentary filmmaking with a summer project on the exploitation of Native American women in northern Minnesota.


Books under contract: 
Discipline: A Sociological Investigation. (with Miguel Centeno) Princeton University Press
Books in progress:
Hustle: Identity and Role in Illicit Transactions
Enforcer, Protector, Martyr: Identity, Role, and the Honor Code in Professional Ice Hockey
Risky Business: Trust and Reputation on the Deep Web
Films in production:
Disappeared (working title). A documentary film on the exploitation and sex trafficking of Native American women and children in northern Minnesota (with Graham Phillips, Princeton ’16 and Parker Phillips)
‘The Digital Underground: Here’s How You Can Buy Drugs on Social Media, Right Now’ Complex Magazine (June 17, 2016)
'The Wide World of Bookies: Splitting the odds of the American dream' VICE Magazine (March, 2014)
Working papers:
‘Offline ‘Stranger’ & Online Lurker: Methods for an ethnography of illicit transactions on the deep web’ for Qualitative Research, themed issue ‘Qualitative Methods and Data in Digital Societies’.
‘Old Money, New Money, No Money: Elites at Play and the Imposition of Context-Based Social Boundaries’ (with Arieh Mimran, Princeton ’17).
‘Identity Boundaries and the Labor of Sexwork’ (with Danielle Lindemann)

Grants and awards: 

David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project in the Council of the Humanities (with Miguel Centeno), 2016-17
250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education (with Miguel Centeno), 2015-16
McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning, Preceptor Mentoring Lunch Fund, Spring 2015
Center for the Study of Social Organization Research Award, Princeton University (2011-12)
Marvin Bressler Graduate Student Teaching Award, Princeton University (2009)
National Science Foundation, honorable mention (2007, 2008)
Fieldwork travel grant, Woodrow Wilson School / PIIRS, Princeton University (2006-7)
Graduate Fellowship, Princeton University (2006-2011)

Teaching Experience: 

Junior Theses (15-20 per year) 2011-17
As lecturer:
SOC 223: Hustles & Hustlers 2015-17 
FRS 158: Discipline (with Miguel Centeno) 2016; 2017
Claims & Evidence in Sociology 2014-17
As Preceptor:
Claims & Evidence in Sociology 2008-9, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
Western Way of War 2012-13, 2013-14
The Ghetto 2011-12
American Society and Politics 2007-8
The Sociological Perspective 2007-8