Category: Recent Publications

Recent publications by faculty, students, and alumni.

[Article] Alexandrea Ravenelle – Digitalization and the hybridization of markets and circuits in Airbnb

Alexandrea Ravenelle (Alum, 2018)

Digitalization and the hybridization of markets and circuits in Airbnb.” Consumption Markets & Culture (Sept. 2019).


Digitalization, combined with the proliferation of online review and payment systems, has been integral to the creation of the sharing economy. While the sharing economy has opened industries to additional workers, it also shift risks to users and leads to a hybridization of previously pure economic concepts such as markets and circuits of commerce. Due to this risk shift, how do sharing economy users, specifically Airbnb hosts, protect themselves from the risks inherent in a marketplace that is both formal and informal, and regularly crosses the boundaries between legal and illegal? Using qualitative interviews with 23 Airbnb hosts in New York City, I argue that Airbnb’s shifting of risk to workers leads to a hybridized form of institutional work as hosts create a social circuitry in order to protect themselves. This research contributes to the larger literature on digitalized and informal markets and circuits, risk, and societal impact of digitalization.

KEYWORDS: Buyer-seller relationshipssharing economyAirbnbinformal marketsdigitalizationmarkets

[Book] Erynn Casanova – Dust and Dignity: Domestic Employment in Contemporary Ecuador

Erynn Casanova (Alum, 2009)

Dust and Dignity: Domestic Employment in Contemporary Ecuador

(ILR/Cornell University Press, 2019)

What makes domestic work a bad job, even after efforts to formalize and improve working conditions? Erynn Masi de Casanova’s case study, based partly on collaborative research conducted with Ecuador’s pioneer domestic workers’ organization, examines three reasons for persistent exploitation. First, the tasks of social reproduction are devalued. Second, informal work arrangements escape regulation. And third, unequal class relations are built into this type of employment. Accessible to advocates and policymakers as well as academics, this book provides both theoretical discussions about domestic work and concrete ideas for improving women’s lives.

Drawing on workers’ stories of lucha, trabajo, and sacrificio—struggle, work, and sacrifice—Dust and Dignity offers a new take on an old occupation. From the intimate experience of being a body out of place in an employer’s home, to the common work histories of Ecuadorian women in different cities, to the possibilities for radical collective action at the national level, Casanova shows how and why women do this stigmatized and precarious work and how they resist exploitation in the search for dignified employment. From these searing stories of workers’ lives, Dust and Dignity identifies patterns in domestic workers’ experiences that will be helpful in understanding the situation of workers elsewhere and offers possible solutions for promoting and ensuring workers’ rights that have relevance far beyond Ecuador.

Erynn Masi de Casanova is Professor of Sociology at the University of Cincinnati. She is author of Making Up the Difference (available in Spanish as Vendiendo Belleza) and Buttoned Up. With Afshan Jafar, she co-edited the books Bodies without Borders and Global Beauty, Local Bodies. []