Curriculum Vitae

Allison Pugh


Allison Pugh is Professor of Sociology. Her research and teaching focus on how people adapt in their intimate lives to broad socio-economic trends such as increasing insecurity, commercialization, overwork, and risk.

Prof. Pugh’s study on job precariousness, entitled The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity, is due out in January (Oxford).   An analysis of “insecurity culture,” Tumbleweed evaluates whether and how job insecurity bleeds into people’s intimate lives, and asks the question:  if employers owe us very little, what does that mean for the way we think about obligation in our other relationships?  How might these broader impacts of job insecurity vary by gender and class?  Prof. Pugh is also finishing up an edited volume on the broader effects of job insecurity, entitled Beyond the Cubicle: Insecurity Culture and the Flexible Self (Oxford University Press). With graduate student Sarah Mosseri, Prof. Pugh is researching how people frame arguments against overwork in mainstream newspapers and social media. She also writes about qualitative methods, and how empathy and knowledge are related.

Prof. Pugh’s first book, Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture (University of California Press, 2009), was awarded the 2010 William J. Goode award for the best book in the Sociology of the Family and the Distinguished Contribution award from the ASA’s section on the Sociology of Children and Youth; it was also a finalist for the 2010 C. Wright Mills award.

In 2013, Prof. Pugh was the Marie Jahoda Visiting Professor for International Gender Studies at the Ruhr University in Bochum, and she is an honorary research fellow at the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Bankard Fund for Political Economy. Prof. Pugh teaches family, culture, gender, work, childhood and qualitative methods.

Prof. Pugh is also the culture editor for the journal Contexts, which seeks to bring sociological knowledge to broader audiences.  She gives talks to both academic and lay audiences on consumption and children, job insecurity, and contemporary family life, and maintains a twitter feed @allison_pugh.

Selected Publications



Pugh, Allison J.  2014.  “The Divining Rod of Talk: Emotions, Contradictions and the Limits of Research.”  (Reply to comment by Stephen Vaisey).  American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Vol. 2, Issue 1 (February): 159-163.

Pugh, Allison J.  2014.  “The Theoretical Costs of Ignoring Childhood: Rethinking Independence, Insecurity and Inequality.” Theory and Society.  January 2014, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 71-89.

Pugh, Allison J. 2013. “What Good Are Interviews for Thinking About Culture? Demystifying Interpretive Analysis.” American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Vol 1 (February): 42-68.

Pugh, Allison J. 2011. "Distinction, Boundaries or Bridges?: Children, Inequality and the Uses of Consumer Culture."  Poetics, Volume 39 (1):1-18.  February.

“Selling Compromise:  Toys, Motherhood and the Cultural Deal.”  Gender & Society 19:729-749.  (December 2005)

“Windfall Childrearing:  Low-Income Care and Consumption.”   Journal of Consumer Culture  4 (2):  229-249  (July 2004).


University of Virginia Sociology Department
Randall 210
P.O. Box 400766
Charlottesville, VA 22904

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(434) 924-6510 | (434) 924-7028




Undergraduate Level

  • SOC 2052 (252) - Sociology of Family
  • SOC 3180 - Sociology of Emotions
  • SOC 3290 (329) - Sociology of Childhood
  • SOC 412 - Care, Inequality & the Market
  • SOC 4510 - Topics in Sociology of Work
  • SOC 4559 - Love, Sex, Sociology

Graduate Level

  • SOC 5140 (514) - Qualitative Methods
  • SOC 5056 (556) - Sociology of Culture
  • SOC 5057 (557)- Sociology of Family
  • SOC 5320 - Sociology of Gender
  • SOC 7980 - Graduate Research Workshop

University Seminars

  • USEM 180 - Fear, Risk and Modernity: The Sociology of Safety