PhD, Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles (2017)
Race and Ethnicity , InequalityWork and Occupations , Immigration , Qualitative Methods
My research brings together the sociology of race and ethnicity, work and organizations, and immigration to examine how inequality is both reproduced and challenged in institutional settings.
My book manuscript, Serving Across the Divide, takes readers inside upscale Los Angeles restaurants where two markedly different and highly unequal worlds of work exist, side by side. In the front of the house, white, class-privileged men and women enjoy higher earnings and more visible roles interacting with an affluent clientele, whereas in the back of the house, Latino immigrant men endure low pay and physically demanding labor out of the sight of guests. How do each of these worker groups so predictably arrive at unequal roles within restaurants, and what makes them remain there? The answer to these questions, I argue, lies not just with the actions of management – as is typically argued by labor scholars – but also in symbolic boundaries of exclusion drawn between workers. In detailing how both managerial decisions and coworker dynamics help seal one world of work off from another, this study examines the nature of constraints – and opportunities – that arise from everyday workplace conditions in an increasingly service-based economy.
Wilson, Eli. 2018. “Bridging the Service Divide: Dual Labor Niches and Embedded Opportunities in Restaurant Work,” RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 4(1).
Wilson, Eli. 2017. “Stuck Behind Kitchen Doors? Assessing the Work Prospects of Second-Generation Latino Workers in a Los Angeles Restaurant,” Ethnic and Racial Studies: 1-19.
Wilson, Eli. 2016. “Matching Up: Producing Proximal Service in a Los Angeles Restaurant,” Research in the Sociology of Work 29: 99-124.
Introduction to Sociology
Work and Inequality