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Allison Pugh

Professor of Sociology & Chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality
Curriculum Vitae (321.75 KB)

Research Interests: Sociology of Culture, Sociology of Family, Social Inequality, Gender Studies

Allison Pugh is Professor of Sociology and the 2024-25 Vice President of the American Sociological Association. Her research and teaching focus on collisions of economic life and intimacy. Her current research, recently awarded NSF support, explores the rationalization – and automation – of service work that relies on relationship. Her 2015 book The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity (Oxford) is a study on the broader impacts of job precariousness, specifically how gender and class inequality shape the effects job insecurity has on intimate life.  In 2016, Oxford published an edited volume entitled Beyond the Cubicle: Job Insecurity, Intimacy and the Flexible Self, including contributions from sociologists Kathleen Gerson, Eva Illouz, and Christine Williams among others, exploring job insecurity and intimacy in multiple contexts. 

Pugh’s first book, Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture (University of California Press 2009), documented how children and parents manage the commercialization of childhood.  It won the 2010 William J. Goode award and the 2010 Distinguished Contribution from the ASA section on children and youth.  She has also written about the significance of children and childhood for mainstream social science, and about the theoretical benefits and best practices of interpretive interviewing.

In 2016-17, Pugh served as a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.  Pugh was the 2013 Marie Jahoda Visiting Professor for International Gender Studies at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, and a 2010-2011 research fellow of the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Bankard Fund for Political Economy.

At Virginia, Prof. Pugh teaches family, culture, gender, work, childhood and qualitative methods and is advisor to a slew of outstanding graduate students. She also organized/founded the UVa Field Methods Workshop (2013-present); the Intimacy Lectures (2015-16); and the Sociology Ethnography Workshop.  She gives talks to both academic and lay audiences on the scaling up of humane work, the impact of job insecurity, consumption and children, and contemporary family life, and she maintains a twitter feed @allison_pugh.


Selected Publications


Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children and Consumer Culture
University of California Press, March 2009.

The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Insecure Age
Oxford University Press: February 2015.


Blair-Loy, Mary, Arlie Hochschild, Allison J. Pugh, Joan C. Williams, and Heidi Hartmann.  2015. “Stability and Transformation in Gender, Work, and Family:  Insights from The Second Shift for the Next Quarter Century.” Community, Work and Family. 18 (4), 435-454.

Pugh, Allison J.  2014. “The Theoretical Costs of Ignoring Childhood: Rethinking Independence, Insecurity and Inequality.” Theory and Society.  January 2014, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 71-89. 

Pugh, Allison J. 2013.  “What Good Are Interviews for Thinking About Culture? Demystifying Interpretive Analysis.” American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Vol. 1 Issue 1 (February): 42-68.

Pugh, Allison J.  2014.  “The Divining Rod of Talk: Emotions, Contradictions and the Limits of Research.”  (Reply to comment by Stephen Vaisey).  American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Vol. 2, Issue 1 (February): 159-163.

Pugh, Allison J. 2011. "Distinction, Boundaries or Bridges?: Children, Inequality and the Uses of Consumer Culture."  Poetics, Volume 39 (1):1-18.  February.

“Selling Compromise:  Toys, Motherhood and the Cultural Deal.”  Gender & Society 19:729-749.  (December 2005)

“Windfall Childrearing:  Low-Income Care and Consumption.”   Journal of Consumer Culture  4 (2):  229-249  (July 2004).


Panel, “The Sociology of the Family: Taking Stock of the Field and Imagining the Future,”

Office Hours

Wednesdays 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Schedule at
Levering Hall 101