I am Professor of Sociology at Duke University. (→ More about me.)

Some of my Work

  • Data Visualization. Princeton University Press. / Overview /  Buy on Amazon 
  • “Fuck Nuance.” Sociological Theory 35:118-127. / PDF
  • “Seeing Like a Market.” Socio-Economic Review, 15:9-29. / PDF
  • “The Performativity of Networks.” European Journal of Sociology, 56:175–205. / PDF
  • Last Best Gifts. University of Chicago Press. / Overview /  Buy on Amazon 


Recent Writing

Map, Walk, Pivot

4 May 2021 Recently I came across a question where someone was looking to take a bunch of CSV files, each of which contained numerical columns, and (a) get them into R, (b) calculate the mean and standard deviation of every column in every CSV file, and (c) calculate some overall summary like the mean of all the means and the mean of all the standard deviations. I already know how to use map_dfr() to read a lot of CSVs with the same structure into a nice tidy tibble.

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Contributions to the Literature

2 May 2021
Types of Soc paper

Types of Sociology Paper

(After the XKCD original.)

Excess Deaths February Update

24 February 2021 Update Updated on April 29th, 2021. The CDC continues to update its counts of deaths by cause for 2020 as data comes in from the jurisdictions that report to it. The data are by now fairly complete, though there are still significant gaps in several states due to delayed reporting. North Carolina, in particular, has yet to report almost any deaths for the entire final quarter of 2020. But I haven’t updated my gallery since last October.

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Income and Happiness

26 January 2021 People have been talking about this PNAS paper by Matthew Killingsworth: “Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year”. Here’s the abstract: Past research has found that experienced well-being does not increase above incomes of $75,000/y. This finding has been the focus of substantial attention from researchers and the general public, yet is based on a dataset with a measure of experienced well-being that may or may not be indicative of actual emotional experience (retrospective, dichotomous reports).

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What Happened?

8 January 2021 I don’t know what happened. But here’s my current theory of what the White House thought was going to happen. I don’t have any more information than you do, and here I’m not concerned with the broader question of how the country came to this end. I am just trying to make sense of what happened on Wednesday. From the moment he knew he’d lost the presidential election, Trump absolutely wanted to get the result overturned.

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