Each spring, based on availability of funds, the Urban Ethnography Lab offers small grants to support ethnographic and qualitative research conducted over the summer.
In 2020, the Lab supported five student projects:
Faith Deckard, “Thinking Like A Bondsman: Risk Assessment and Valuation”
Cash bail, or conditioning release from jail on ones’ ability to pay, is a controversial practice. In the current wave of momentum surrounding justice reform more broadly, commercial bondsman have become scapegoats and are depicted in the media as the number one enemy of bail reform. Interested in how bondsmen approached their work (i.e. made decisions about who to loan money to) and how they made sense of what they do, especially in an increasingly critical environment, I spent the summer conducting phone interviews with agents across counties within Texas.
Eldad Levy, “Security Entrepreneurs”
My project follows the emergence of private security expertise in Mexico City. I track the establishment of formal and informal security professions such as guards, supervisors, technicians, risk analysts and intelligence agents in the security sector in Mexico. In my preliminary results I have found that inequality, informality and clientelistic relations shapes the ability to produce professional security services, perpetuating the frustration and fear of insecurity for the Mexican middle and upper classes.
Dominque Scott-Garrett, (project description coming soon)
Patrick Sheehan, “Aging in Tech”
My current research focuses on aging in the workplace using a case study of the tech industry. I am exploring cross-national comparisons to figure out what kinds of structural and organizational variations influence how age and experience are evaluated at work.
Erika Slaymaker, “Trans Political Shifts: Historical Context and Social Movement Building”
In this project, I trace the history and development of transgender or “trans” political organizing within the US. I have begun to interview activists who entered into trans politics in different periods or phases of transgender organizing to outline how social context has shaped their political work. As this project develops, I will delineate political discourses and strategies that emerge from these different periods of trans social movements and I will attend to how trans identity is constructed through this organizing.