The New School for Social Research

Faculty A-Z

  • Rachel Sherman

    Associate Professor of Sociology

    Office Location:

    Albert and Vera List Academic Center


    I am an Associate Professor of Sociology & Director of Graduate Studies at The New School for Social Research.

    I am interested in social inequalities, especially those of class, gender, and race, and in how and why people both accept and challenge unequal social relations. My research has focused largely on service work, using participant observation and interviewing methods; for example, I studied work, consumption, and inequality in luxury hotels by working in these hotels for a year. I am also interested in the contemporary U.S. labor movement. My current research is on the “outsourcing” of services from the home, in particular the emerging personal concierge and errand industry.

    Degrees Held:

    PhD 2003, University of California, Berkeley

    Recent Publications:



    2017 (forthcoming) Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


    2007  Class Acts: Service and Inequality in Luxury Hotels. Berkeley: University of California Press.



    Selected Articles

    2014   “The Art of Conversation: The Museum and the Public Sphere in Tino Sehgal’s This Progress.” Public Culture 26(3): 393-418.


    2011   “The Production of Distinctions: Class, Gender and Taste Work in the Lifestyle Management Industry.” Qualitative Sociology 34(1): 201-219.


    2011   “Beyond Interaction: Customer Influence on Housekeeping and Room Service Work in Hotels.” Work, Employment and Society 25(1): 19-33.

    2010   “‘Time is Our Commodity’: Gender and the Struggle for Occupational Legitimacy among Personal Concierges.” Work & Occupations 37(1): 81-114.

    2005   “Producing the Superior Self: Strategic Comparison and Symbolic Boundaries among Luxury Hotel Workers.” Ethnography 6(2): 131-158.


    2000   “Breaking the Iron Law of Oligarchy: Tactical Innovation and the Revitalization of the American Labor Movement,” with Kim Voss. American Journal of              Sociology 106(2): 303-349, September/October. (Reprinted in Amy Wharton, ed., The Sociology of Organizations: An Anthology of Contemporary                    Theory and Research, Roxbury, 2007.)

    - Winner of the Distinguished Article Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems, Labor Studies Division, 2001.

    1999   “From State Introversion to State Extension in Mexico:  Modes of Emigrant Incorporation, 1900-1997.” Theory and Society 28 (6): 835-878.

    Research Interests:

    Social class, culture, service work, social movements, qualitative methods

    Current Courses:

    Logic of Inquiry

    Social Class and Subjectivity

    Workers and Politics

    Independent Study (Open Campus)

    Worlds of Work

    Independent Study (Open Campus)

    Ind Senior Project (Open Campus)