Rachael Heath Ferguson
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)
‘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)
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)
Junior Theses (15-20 per year) 2011-17
SOC 223: Hustles & Hustlers 2015-17
FRS 158: Discipline (with Miguel Centeno) 2016; 2017
Claims & Evidence in Sociology 2014-17
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