The questions that drive my passion for research fall into the classic domain of the sociological imagination: the intersection of the personal and the structural. With my research, I explore questions about how social “structures” – regulations, economic systems, sociocultural value systems, and other social institutions – intersect with individual human experiences and diverse natural systems.
The incorporation of natural systems – natural “amenities”, climate, non-human animals, etc. – is what places my work squarely into the domain of environmental sociology, but my research addresses general sociological questions of how individual experiences are shaped by broader social structures. Broadly speaking, I am interested in how social, economic, and political structures affect environmental behaviors, norms, and environmental outcomes. Empirically, my research has focused on two primary areas: 1) the global agriculture and food (agri-food) system and 2) rural communities that depend heavily on local natural resources. Theoretically, I draw heavily from Marxian theories of the political economy, labor, and peasant agriculture and rural sociological theories of community.