Amanda Barrett Cox

Faculty Advisors: 

Randall Collins, Charles Bosk, Annette Lareau, Rand Quinn (Penn GSE), Sigal Ben-Porath (Penn GSE)

Research Interests: 

Organizations, power, economic elites and philanthropy, sociology of education, social networks, ethnographic methods


Amanda is a joint PhD student in the Department of Sociology and the Graduate School of Education.  Her research is broadly focused on how organizations transform and reproduce social inequality.  Her prior work includes an ethnographic study of the summer session of a program that prepares low-income students of color to attend elite boarding schools.  Amanda’s current work includes an ethnographic study of two attempts to redistribute power across institutional roles—a family foundation seeking to transfer control over a portion of its grantmaking to a community-based board, and a democratic school in which students and teachers have equal voice (one vote per person) in decisions.  Amanda is also working on a project with Rand Quinn (Penn GSE) and Amy Steinbugler (Dickinson College) that investigates the school- and neighborhood-based social networks of parents sending their children to a school of choice.  

Before beginning graduate school, Amanda worked as a community organizer and a high-school Latin teacher.  She holds an M.A. in Sociology of Education from Stanford University, an M.S.Ed. in Education, Culture, and Society from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. (summa cum laude) in Classical Civilizations from Wellesley College.

Recent publications:
Cox, Amanda Barrett. Forthcoming. "Engineered Struggle and 'Earned' Success: Preparation for Upward Mobility via Elite Boarding Schools." Du Bois Review.

Lareau, Annette, Elliot B. Weininger, and Amanda Barrett Cox. 2018. "Parental Challenges to Organizational Authority in an Elite School District: The Role of Cultural, Social, and Symbolic Capital." Teachers College Record 120(1):1-46.

Cox, Amanda Barrett. 2017. "Cohorts, 'Siblings,' and Mentors: Organizational Structures and the Creation of Social Capital." Sociology of Education 90(10):47-63.

Cox, Amanda Barrett. 2016. "Mechanisms of Organizational Commitment: Adding Frames to Greedy Institution Theory." Sociological Forum 31(3):685-708.

Cox, Amanda Barrett. 2016. "Correcting Behaviors and Policing Emotions: How Behavioral Infractions Become Feeling-Rule Violations." Symbolic Interaction 39(3):484-503.

Cox, Amanda. 2012. "Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth." Pp. 1225-1228 in Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, edited by J.A. Banks. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Lareau, Annette and Amanda Cox. 2011. "Social Class and the Transition to Adulthood: Differences in Parents' Interactions with Institutions." Pp. 134-164 in Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America, edited by M.J. Carlson & P. England. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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