Eli Wilson

Assistant Professor

Photo: Eli Wilson

Organizations, Information & Learning Sciences, University of New Mexico

SSCI 1076

Curriculum vitae


PhD, Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles (2017)

Research Interests

Race and Ethnicity, Inequality, Culture

Work and Occupations, Immigration, Ethnography

Research Statement:

Dr. Wilson is a sociologist who studies race, work, and social inequality. His research examines how social inequalities of race, class, and gender get reproduced - and sometimes contested - in contemporary workplaces. He is especially interested in types of work that involve interactive service labor and evoke specialized consumption tastes (such as craft or artisanal products). These are jobs that don’t always feel like work done in spaces that don’t always feel as exclusionary as they often are.  Dr. Wilson’s scholarship illuminates how forces of inequality do not merely reflect explicit managerial malpractice but, rather, complex processes embedded within organizational structures. As a trained ethnographer, Dr. Wilson engages these research themes from the ground up, anchored by the everyday experiences, perspectives, and inter-relations of workers themselves.



Beer and Society: How We Make Beer and Beer Makes Us

Eli R. Wilson and Asa B. Stone

Beer and Society: How We Make Beer and Beer Makes Us takes readers on a lively journey through the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of the modern beer world. This book illustrates that beer is far more than a beverage. As a finely-crafted cultural product, beer can be a part of our identity, a source of pleasure and camaraderie, an object of connoisseurship, and a livelihood for those who are behind the beer itself. Drawing on leading sociological and psychological perspectives, the authors argue that our enduring relationship with beer reflects the very roots of our society, including its collective values and norms, power structures, and persistent inequities based on race, gender, sexuality, and social class. Beer and Society explores beer as an embodiment of who we are and a force to energize social change.

Wilson, Eli R. and Asa B. Stone. 2022. Beer and Society: How We Make Beer and Beer Makes Us. Rowman & Littlefield.

Available for purchase here.


Front of the House, Back of the House: Race and Inequality in the Lives of Restaurant Workers

Eli Wilson

Two unequal worlds of work exist within the upscale restaurant scene of Los Angeles. White, college-educated servers operate in the front of the house—also known as the public areas of the restaurant—while Latino immigrants toil in the back of the house and out of customer view.
In Front of the House, Back of the House, Eli Revelle Yano Wilson shows us what keeps these workers apart, exploring race, class, and gender inequalities in the food service industry.

Drawing on research at three different high-end restaurants in Los Angeles, Wilson highlights why these inequalities persist in the twenty-first century, pointing to discriminatory hiring and supervisory practices that ultimately grant educated whites access to the most desirable positions. Additionally, he shows us how workers navigate these inequalities under the same roof, making sense of their jobs, their identities, and each other in a world that reinforces their separateness.

Front of the House, Back of the House takes us behind the scenes of the food service industry, providing a window into the unequal lives of white and Latino restaurant workers.

Front of the House, Back of the House was awarded 'Outstanding Academic Title' by Choice Magazine in 2021 along with recieving an honorable mention from Komarovsky Book Award from the Eastern Sociological Society. 

Available for purchase here.

Recent/Select Publications:

Wilson, Eli R. "Privileging Passion: How the Cultural Logic of Work Perpetuates Social Inequality in the Craft Beer Industry." Socius 8: 1-12. DOI: 10.1177/23780231221121064.

Wilson Eli R. “'It Could Never Be About Just Beer': Race, Gender, and Marked Professional Identity in Craft Beer.” Journal of Professions and Organization. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpo/joac010.

Wilson, Eli R. "Privileging Passion: How the Cultural Logic of Work Perpetuates Social Inequality in the Craft Beer Industry." Socius 8: 1-12. DOI: 10.1177/23780231221121064.

Wilson, Eli R. and David Schieber. 2022. “Sticking to it or Opting Out: Managing Contested Work Identities in Nonstandard Work.” Qualitative Sociologyhttps://link-springer-com.libproxy.unm.edu/article/10.1007/s11133-021-09506-y

Wilson, Eli R. 2021. "Panethnic Boundaries and the Making of White-Collar Minority Identity in Hawaii‘i. Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesDOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2021.1960805 


  • Outstanding Academic Title 2021, Choice Magazine, American Library Association
  • Honorable Mention, Komarovski Book Award 2022, Eastern Sociological Association. 


Introduction to Sociology
Future of Work & Inequality
Race and Inequality
Race and Ethnic Relations