Adrienne Stafford

Ph.D. candidate

Expected Completion
September 2013

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Contact Information

Major Field
Political Theory

Minor Field
Comparative Politics

Dissertation Title
"Representing the Economy: Economic Lifeworlds in Social and Political Theory"

Dissertation Committee
David Plotke (chair), William Milberg, Andreas Kalyvas, Kevin St. Martin

Dissertation Abstract
How does a progressive school of critical social thought represent the economy? How does critical social theory’s economic representations shape ideas about social justice? Like much social and political theory, critical social theory depicts a self-regulating marketcapitalist economy distinct if not separate from all moral, social, and cultural areas of our lives. I argue that this monistic representation of economy reproduces neoclassical economic ones that inadequately depict diverse economic practices and limit how we think about and enable social and economic justice. With composite data and cases, I show that the diverse economy is significantly constituted by noncapitalist and alternative-capitalist enterprises, unpaid and alternative-paid work, and nonmarket and alternative-markets that are also variously integrated with moral, social, and cultural values and aspects across numerous areas of our lives. I conclude that representing economic diversity in social and political theory is a more credible and critical economic account of our everyday economic lives for better enabling just social and economic practices.


Research Interests
My interdisciplinary research brings together social philosophy, political theory, and political economy from feminist perspectives and concerns about social justice. I am especially interested in different meanings of economy, and how these meanings are represented in social and political theories. My current research aims to counter dominant representations of market capitalism in social and political theory with alternative representations of diverse economic practices. Expounding on composite data, cases, and quasi-fictional characters from my dissertation, I show that many noncapitalist, alternative-capitalist, nonmarket, and alternative-market economic practices are integrated with moral, social, and cultural elements and significantly form what I call economic lifeworlds. These economic lifeworlds include but are not limited to cooperatives, fairtrade networks, nonprofit organizations, socially responsible corporations, and household and non-household childrearing and eldercare. I regard this research as a lifelong project that entails further conceptual, qualitative (fieldwork), and quantitative research for extensively mapping out intersecting diverse economic spaces. These more credible representations of our everyday economic lives also guide how we think about and enable just social and economic practices.

Writing Samples
Short writing sample (PDF)

Teaching Experience/Courses Taught
Modern Political Thought; American Government; Global Socioeconomic Perspectives (LIB); Cross-Cultural Perspectives (SOC); Cultural Anthropology; Gender and Politics (graduate course).

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