My research examines a range of substantive issues, but it is anchored by a focus on the political and spatial dimensions of power and inequality.

I contributed to organizing the new Sociology of Development section (American Sociological Association), and I currently serve as chair of the section. I am also editing the Sociology of Development Handbook (forthcoming University of California Press, anticipated 2014).  This new section provides exciting opportunities to promote the important work of development scholars and practitioners -- and it nourishes an intellectual community to strengthen and facilitate work in this area.  Please visit the section's web-site -- and please, join us.

With a focus on the United States, I have published a number of works examining the military-industrial complex.  Far beyond geopolitics and warfare, the military-industrial complex has had far-reaching consequences for the U.S. state and society.  As the world's hegemonic power, the impact of the US military and militarism extends well beyond the borders of the United States.  With Chad Smith (Texas State San-Marcos), I have examined the environmental calamity that warfare and militarism bring -- i.e., the "treadmill of destruction" -- in the United States and on a global scale.  Second, in collaboration with Linda Lobao and Ann Tickamyer, I am promoting the study of spatial  inequality: The Sociology of Spatial Inequality (SUNY Press, 2007).   

Struggling communities and counties in the United States have long sought to attract large new facilities in hopes of expanding employment opportunities.  My research has examined successes and failures in this regard, including military bases, prisons and educational facilities.  Several recent works cast doubt on the employment benefits of new prisons.   Over the same period that the United States made large and sustained investments in prisons, its investments in educational facilities has waned.   While prisons were built in record numbers, the US (all but) stopped building community colleges after 1985.  As recent research documents, this declining commitment to community colleges has harmed employment prospects in rural counties.

Resources (podcasts, reprints, etc.):

Prison privatization: Under budgetary and ideological pressure, many states have privatized prisons. Shaun Genter, Clayton Mosher and I examine impacts of privatization for host communities. We find that this shift results in fewer jobs. Additional information and a preprint of our forthcoming article (Social Science Research) can be found here.

Trade-off between education and incarceration:  With several collaborators, I have examined the impacts of this trade-off for host communities.  Follow this link for articles, podcasts and data on this trade-off.

Warfare vs. welfare: With a focus on the US, Brian McQueen and I find that the over-developed military and underdeveloped welfare state are closely intertwined ("American Exceptionalism Revisited"; American Sociological Review; ASA Political Sociology section Best Article award). Article: (PDF, full-text); podcast available at: "Office Hours web-site.