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Brian W. Halpin

Brian W. Halpin


256 SS&H

Office Hours for Spring 2017 :

  • M: 12:30-2:30 or by appointment




PHD Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis 2016

M.A. Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis 2010.

B.A. Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley 2007.

(High Honors, Distinction in General Scholarship)

A.A. College of Marin, Kentfield, CA 2005.

Areas of Specialization

Work, Labor, Labor Markets, Sociological Theory, Economic Sociology, Political Sociology, Ethnography

Qualifying Exam: Political Economy and Sociology of Labor and Work

Committee: Fred Block (chair), Vicki Smith, Luis Guarnizo, Chris Benner (UC Santa Cruz), Kim Voss (UC Berkeley)


2016 "Nonstandard Work and Workers" (With Vicki Smith). In the Handbook of Politics of Labour, Work and Employment. Gregor Gall (ed.). Edward Elgar Publishing. (Forthcoming)

2015 "Subject To Change Without Notice: Mock Schedules and Flexible Employment in the United States." Social Problems 62(3): 419-438.

  • Distinguished Student Paper Award, American Sociological Association, Labor and Labor Movements Section

    2014 (with Vicki Smith) “Low-wage Work Uncertainty often Traps Low-wage Workers.” Policy Brief, UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.

  • This research was featured on Capitol Public Radio (Insight), Talk 650 KSTE, in the Sacramento Bee, Merced Sun-Star, Central Valley Business Times, Daily Democrat, and on websites and blogs, including Bloomberg Businessweek, World News Network, Human Resource Executive Online, California Department of Housing and Community Development,, and Wopular.

    2013 “Harry Braverman” and “Game Playing.” Pp. 44-46 and 311-312 in Sociology of Work: An Encyclopedia. Vicki Smith (ed.). Sage.



    "Employment-Management Work: Third Wave Marketization and the Commodification of Labor" Committee: Vicki Smith (Chair), Fred Block, Chris Benner

    Faced with a turbulent economy, how do low-wage workers cope with unpredictability, risk, and precarity and defend themselves against economic insecurity? Using a Polanyian framework and the concept of labor as a fictitious commodity, I argue for the concept of employment-management work as a fundamental experience of work under capitalism. In building the significance of this argument, I examine three theoretically relevant cases: first- generation Latino immigrants, unemployed workers who use state-sponsored One-Stop Job Centers, and low-wage unionized public employees. Using case study logic, I extend and build a theory of 21st century precariousness, illustrating how workers across three institutional and organizational domains cope and come to grips with an increasingly precarious labor market.

    Papers in Progress

    “Public Employees in an Age of Precarity: Neoliberal Restructuring in Unionized Public Employment.”

    “The Perversity of Unemployment Narrative: Navigating State-Sponsored Job Search Organizations.”

    “Employment Management as Labor Market Experience: A Case Study and a New Theoretical Framework.” With Vicki Smith. (With Vicki Smith). Under review.

    "The Politics of Recognition: Stigma, Prestige and Game Play in Precarious Work." (With David Orzechowicz).

    Research Clusters:

    Social Transformations:

    1283 Social Sciences & 
    University of California, 
    One Shields Avenue 
    Davis, CA 95616

    (530) 752-0782 phone
    (530) 752-0783 fax

    Map and Additional Contact Information

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