Elizabeth K. Barna
I work at the intersection of the Sociology of Culture, Social Stratification, Social Movements, Work, and Human-Animal Studies, where my research examines the relationship between systems of meaning and systems of social stratification. The primary questions driving my work are: 1) How do social actors use cultural representations to perpetuate or challenge social inequality? and 2) How do certain workers infuse an activist orientation into their daily tasks, and how do they make meaning at work more generally?
My dissertation research examines social factors shaping the collective memory of President Andrew Jackson, focusing on the role of social movement actors, historians and curatorial professionals, agents of the state, and everyday people in crafting an ever-evolving image of an iconic figure who is, as presidential historian Jon Meacham put it, “beloved and hated, venerated and reviled…the most contradictory of men.” This project will shed light on the contours of race and class relations in the United States, while highlighting the roles of various agents in producing collective memory.
For my Master's research, I examined coworker and human-animal relationships and meaning-making among caregivers at an animal sanctuary, with an emphasis on their adaptations to a stressful work environment characterized by competing organizational logics.
I currently serve as a graduate student representative for the ASA’s Animals and Society Section, and as an associate editor for the journal Work and Occupations. I received my B.A. in Sociology and B.S. in Environmental Science from California Lutheran University in 2013, and my M.A. in Sociology from Vanderbilt University in 2016.
I share my home with Ruthie and King, senior rescue dogs who are loyal and uplifting companions on my research adventures!