My current research interests center on the impact of the New Economy and technology on inequality and class stratification in the U. S. and Brazil. In the U.S. this has taken the shape of a qualitative study of software startups in the Baltimore/DC metropolitan area. With the collaboration of graduate students, founders, managers, and programmers have been interviewed in 34 software firms. My focus in Brazil is the development of software entrepreneurship through a network of technology incubators, and has included interviews in three cities and 17 software firms both in and out of incubators.
Most of my earlier research has been at the intersection of stratification, race, and gender. My most recent book, Race, Gender, and Class: Theory and Methods of Analysis, adds to the literature on Intersectional Analysis by offering a methodology for its use in qualitative and quantitative research and a text for instructors of Race, Gender, and Class in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses. In Black Working Wives: Pioneers of the American Family Revolution I explore the impact of middle-class ideologies of black and white womanhood on the development of family systems in the United States. The “cult of domesticity” or “true womanhood” originated in mid-19th century within the white middle class and gave rise to what became known as the traditional family. In contrast to this, I show how black middle-class wives rejected the cult of domesticity for a three-fold commitment to family, career, and community. By claiming the right to combine career with marriage, out of choice rather than out of need, in late 19th and early 20th century, they forged a competing ideology of womanhood and pioneered today’s dual-earner family.
My earlier book on The New Black Middle Class traced the emergence of an African American middle class in early 20th century and compared its economic position with that of the white middle class in the 1970s and 1980s. A revised edition is being prepared with updates to 2006.