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Nathaniel Freiburger

Nathaniel Freiburger

Graduate Student

258 SS&H

Office Hours for :

  • N/A


Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

Science and Technology Studies, Political Sociology, Organization Studies, Latin America, Human/ Environment Relations, Sociology of Knowledge, Methodology, Economic Sociology, Social & Political Theory



Carroll, Patrick & Nathaniel Freiburger. (in press). “State-Environment Relationality: Organic Engines and Governance Regimes.” Routledge Handbook of Science, Technology and Society.

Don Palmer, Brian Dick, and Nathan Freiburger. 2009. "Rigor and Relevance in Organization

Studies." Journal of Management Inquiry. 18, 4: 265-272.



2013     UC Davis Provost's Dissertation Year Fellowship

2012     Société de Chimie Industrielle Research Fellowship through the Chemical Heritage Foundation

2011     Wenner Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

2011     National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, Science and Technology Studies Division

2010     Professors for the Future Fellowship, UC Davis (declined due to fieldwork conflicts)

2009     Hemispheric Institute of the Americas Summer Research Fellowship


Current Research Projects:

The Development of real estate markets and commodities in the US

In collaboration with Nicole Woolsey-Biggart and Tom Beamish, I have been conducting historical research on the development of real estate as an economic product in the US. The results of this research, which illustrate that the restricted definition of economic action of neoclassical economics is inadequate in understanding the production of complex commodities, is currently being prepared for publication.

Cultures of Engineering and the Engineering of Politics: The
Making of Lithium as an Object of Techno-Scientific Knowledge and Politics in Bolivia

This research is currently funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (STS Division), the Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation

This dissertation research examines the making of lithium as an object of techno-scientific knowledge and politics in Bolivia. It contends that how lithium is constituted as an object, through concrete practices in the realms of politics and techno-science, will greatly influence the contemporary project of state formation in Bolivia. The aim of this research is an ethnographic case study with the following objectives. First, examine how the interplay between techno-science, politics, and the physical properties of the salmuera (salt water containing lithium) shape the material and symbolic construction of lithium and the development of a lithium industry. Second, detail how the development of this industry in Bolivia intersects with the form and direction of the allegedly post-neoliberal, post-socialist, “plurinational” political project underway there. As such, the research examines the practices of engineers guiding a nascent lithium industry to understand the potential of those practices to intersect with controversies around the conceptual boundaries of the "plurinational" state. It examines how technological and scientific practices intersect with visions of what such a state is and should be.

Research Clusters:

Social Transformations:

1283 Social Sciences & 
University of California, 
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(530) 752-0783 fax

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