Research Expertise and Interest


Research Description

Loïc Wacquant is professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is affiliated with the Center for the Study of Law and Society, Program in Medical Anthropology, the Global Metropolitan Studies Program, and the Center for Urban Ethnography. He is also Researcher at the Centre de sociologie européenne in Paris.

Born and raised in Southern France, Wacquant was educated in Montpellier, Paris, and Chicago, where he received his Ph.D in Sociology in 1993 after earlier graduate studies in industrial economics and a research stint in the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. His interests include comparative urban inequality and marginality, ethnoracial domination, carceral institutions and penal policy as instruments for managing dispossessed and dishonored groups, violence and the body, intellectuals and the politics of reason in the neoliberal age, and classical and contemporary social theory. A past member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1990-1993) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (1997-2002), he has been a visiting professor in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, New York City, Vienna and Cambride, and invited as a Fellow to the Russell Sage Foundation, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.

Wacquant is the author of over one hundred scholarly articles published in journals of sociology, anthropology, criminology, social theory, social policy, philosophy, and urban and cultural studies, and translated in two dozen languages. Among his books are An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (1992, with Pierre Bourdieu, translated in 19 languages), Prisons of Poverty (1999, translated in 14 languages), Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (expanded anniversary edition, 2022, translated in 8 languages), Urban Outcasts (translated in 8 languages, 2008), Punishing the Poor (2009), The Invention of the "Underclass" (2022, translated in 4 languages), and Bourdieu in the City (2022, translated in 4 languages).

Wacquant has acted as consultant on issues of urban poverty, violence, ethnicity, and crime to central and local governments, unions, and the courts in France, Argentina, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, and to the OECD. He is co-founder and was co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Ethnography for a decade, and he was a regular contributor to Le Monde diplomatique from 1996 to 2004.

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