As a Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science at New York University, my work focuses on the ongoing revolutions in gender, work, and family life that continue to unfold in the United States and globally.
My approach combines the deep understandings afforded by in-depth interviewing with systematic sampling and analysis to understand how large-scale social change prompts individuals and communities to develop new ways of living, which then reshape the larger contours of social institutions and political debates. I am especially interested in understanding how people fashion commitments to the intertwined worlds of paid work and family life as they grow to adulthood and move through the life course.
Using this approach, I have conducted a series of studies examining how people experience, impart meaning, and seek to resolve the dilemmas created by rising conflicts between work and family structures. These projects have culminated in five books and numerous articles, with two more books in the pipeline.
My most recent book, The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family, addresses the roadblocks that continue the prevent full gender equality. As a first-hand account of the “children of the gender revolution,” it focuses on the generation who grew up in changing families over the last several decades and are now grappling with obstacles that continue the prevent work-family integration and full gender equality. The Unfinished Revolution shows how irreversible but incomplete change has created a clash between new egalitarian ideals and unyielding social arrangements. Even though most young adults aspire to share work and parenting with an equal partner, they are struggling to reconcile these ideals with the reality that workplaces penalize caregivers and relationships may not last. The fate of new generations depends on finishing the gender revolution by creating egalitarian workplaces and child-supportive communities.
My earlier books have addressed a wide range of issues central to understanding the unfolding gender revolution. In Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood, I proposed an early framework for explaining how and why women traveled diverse paths in response to unexpected opportunities and insecurities at work and in relationships. Hard Choices provides a roadmap for charting women's experiences as they encounter a shifting social and economic landscape and respond to the new conflicts they have created.
Following Hard Choices, I investigated how the the gender revolution is transforming men's lives. No Man’s Land: Men’s Changing Commitments to Family and Work asks how they are responding the rising contradictions of American manhood. While still expected to be good providers, men now face a mix of new freedoms to reject family commitments but also new pressures to be involved fathers and equal partners. Contemporary men have responded in diverse ways, with some committed to traditional breadwinning, others preferring a single life, and a third group becoming involved family caregivers.
In The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality, I teamed with Jerry A. Jacobs (a University of Pennsylvania sociologist) to examine changes in working time and their consequences for American workers and families. We drew on census, survey, and cross-national data to explain how and why working time has become a new form of social inequality. The Time Divide shows that the American workforce is increasingly bifurcated between time-demanding jobs that require very long workweeks and low-wage, insecure work that fails to provide enough work to keep families afloat. These new time divides leave some families overworked and others struggling to survive.
Two additional books are in the pipeline. The Art and Science of Interviewing (with Sarah A. Damaske, a Penn State sociologist) offers a guide to crafting and conducting theoretically focused interview-based research. A second project, "Work and Care in an Age of Insecurity," uses interviews with a broad cross-section of Silicon Valley and New York area residents to explore how the precarious conditions of the new economy are reshaping patterns of work, commitment, and caregiving.
Alongside my academic work, I have participated in numerous professional and policy initiatives. Professionally, I have served as Vice President of the American Sociological Association; President of the Eastern Sociological Society; Co-President of the Sociologists for Women in Society; Chair of the NYU Sociology Department; Chair of the Family Section of the American Sociological Association; and the editorial boards of the American Sociological Review, Work and Occupations, and the ASA Rose Monograph Series.
As an engaged citizen and committed policy analyst, I continue to be actively involved in a range of national and international efforts to promote work-family integration and gender inclusion. Over the years, these efforts have included the Ford Foundation Project on the Integration of Work, Family, and Community; Advisory Board of “Generation X: The Next Women Leaders,” Catalyst; the Sloan Foundation Research Network on Work/Family Issues; Founding Board Member, Work-Family Researchers Network; and Board Member, Council on Contemporary Families.
Last (but not least), Here's a List of Selected AWARDS And Fellowships:
Distinguished Career Contribution, Family Section, American Sociological Association
William J. Goode Distinguished Book Award, Family Section, American Sociological Association, for The Unfinished Revolution
Visiting Fellow, Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
AKD Distinguished Lecturer, Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honorary Society
Kinsley Birge Endowed Lectureship, Colby College
Charles Phelps Taft Endowed Lectureship, University of Cincinnati
Distinguished Feminist Lectureship, Sociologists for Women in Society
Visiting Fellow, Center for the Study of Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course, University of Bremen
Visiting Fellow, Russell Sage Foundation, New York City
Elected to Sociological Research Association