Erin McDonnell is the Notre Dame du Lac Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. She is a theorist whose research engages Organizational, Political, Cultural, and Economic Sociology. Her work focuses on how social organization affects economic outcomes, from consumer groups to administrative capacity in African states. She recently published “Budgetary Units: A Weberian Approach to Consumption” in The American Journal of Sociology. This article rethinks organization within consumption, arguing that orienting research toward the analysis of budgetary units makes visible more general social patterns of consumption across diverse contexts. Other current work takes a sociological approach to examining the historical changes and group dynamics patterning notions of fairness in market pricing behaviors.
Her current work on state capacity and development in Africa observes that states have a high degree of internal variation in their administrative capacities and organizational cultures.
Governance; state administration; international comparative sociology; development; elite migration; classical social theory
Her book manuscript, "Subcultural Bureaucracy," examines niches of effective governance within conventionally weak states, arguing that the conditions that support emergent cultures of Weberian-style bureaucracy—in places like Ghana—are different from those associated with the hegemonic bureaucratic administration familiar in the West.