The Research Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion draws on expertise from across disciplines to gain international and comparative perspectives on how to extend cultural membership to the greatest number in society, to better understand the social and cultural processes behind recognition gaps, and to determine how social scientists and policy makers can respond to help make societies more inclusive.
Elena Ayala-Hurtado is a sociologist studying employment precarity and economic instability through a cultural lens. She is particularly interested in the intersection of high educational status and various kinds of insecurity and uncertainty.
Her dissertation is a cross-national study of insecure young college graduates in the United States and Spain. She is examining how “insecurity” is configured differently in each country, and how these configurations of insecurity shape young graduates’ experiences. More specifically, she is interested in insecure graduates’ self-understandings (especially in relation to conceptions of merit), projected futures, and strategies of action.
Elena also studies how people try to resolve the conflict between their belief in the ideal of meritocracy and their consistent use of networks to find employment, as well as how people navigate situations of uncertainty in interaction.