Brian W. Halpin

Brian Halpin Portrait
2272 SS&H


  • Education.
  • PhD. Sociology, University of California, Davis 2016
  • M.A. Sociology, University of California, Davis 2010.
  • B.A. Sociology, University of California, Berkeley 2007.
  • (High Honors, Distinction in General Scholarship)
  • A.A. College of Marin, Kentfield, CA 2005.


Brian Halpin is a Continuing Lecturer in the Sociology Department at UC Davis. Brian's research interests focus on low-wage work and workers, low-wage labor markets, and the reproduction of social and economic inequality.

Areas if Interest

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


Brian Halpin teaches many classes for the Sociology Dept. including:

  • Soc 1: Introduction to sociology
  • Soc 2: Social Problems
  • Soc 11: Labor and Employment
  • Soc 46: Qualitative Research Methods
  • Soc 100: Classic Social Theory
  • Soc 118: Political Sociology
  • Soc 139: Corporations and Society
  • Soc 141: Industrialization and Social Change
  • Soc 159: Work and Employment
  • Soc 180: Organizations
  • Soc 185: Social Policy and Welfare States


2019 “Recruitment: An Undertheorized Mechanism of Workplace Control.”  With Vicki Smith. Theory and Society. 48(5): 709-732.

2019 “Nonstandard-work and Non-standard Workers.” With Vicki Smith. In the Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work, and Employment. Gregor Gall (ed). Edward Elgar Publishing.

2017 "Employment Management Work: A Case Study and Theoretical Framework" (With Vicki Smith) Work and Occupations. DOI: 10.1177/0730888417720714

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
  • Reprinted as as “Mock Schedules and the Meaning of Flexible Employment for Undocumented Workers” in Working in America: Continuity, Conflict, and Change in a New Economic Era. Amy Wharton (ed). 5th Edition, New York: Routledge Press, Dec. 2022, 185-199.

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.


2023 College of Letters and Science Teaching Award: Academic Federation, UC Davis

2020 ASUCD Excellence in Education Award, UC Davis

2016 Distinguished Student Paper Award, American Sociological Association, Labor and Labor Movements Section ("Subject to Change Without Notice")

2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, UC Davis

2015 2015-2016 Provost's Dissertation Year Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, UC Davis

2012 Graduate Student Research Fellowship (with Vicki Smith), Center for Poverty Research, UC Davis. Policy brief from our research on low-wage workers:

2011 Mayhew Award for Best Qualifying Paper, Department of Sociology, UC Davis