My Ph.D. thesis was a multiyear ethnographic study of participants in a variety of illicit and illegal endeavors in the United States and Europe. Prior to attending graduate school I obtained my B.A. in Sociology at Columbia University, before which I spent several years in the financial industry in New York City.
My academic research centered on questions of interactional order, trust, identity, influence and reputation, with a focus on high-risk environments, particularly those where external mechanisms of enforcement are absent or weak. Hustle, my Ph.D thesis, used observational and interview data from fieldwork in Europe and the United States with subjects who were drug gang members in the South Bronx; independent drug dealers across NYC; drug dealers on the Deep Web (an article on smartphone app drug sales can be found here); elite prostitutes and Dominatrices; Mafia associates in the United States (an article I wrote on mafia-associate bookies for VICE magazine can be found here); and Mafia affiliates in Sicily and Calabria, involved in local, regional, and transnational corruption, money laundering, and drug trafficking.
Based on my academic work, I am presently working on three book projects: 1) A series of case studies for a co-authored book with Miguel Centeno, Discipline, which is under contract at Princeton University Press; 2) An online ethnographic study of trust, identity, reputation, and influence in Deep Web marketplaces for illicit goods; and, 3) An edited version of my Ph.D thesis, Hustle, for the trade publication market. At Princeton, my class on this research, 'Hustles and Hustlers', was the most highly (over)subscribed class of over 1,400 Spring semester classes (Spring 2017: 457 students, averaging 100% attendance, and a 120-student waitlist). The book manuscript deploys the lectures that inspired such dedication from overworked undergrads.
I am also currently editing for publication a co-authored ethnographic paper with one of my undergraduate students, in which we examine the social rules and norms of global super-elites. And in support of another undergraduate student's thesis work in the History department at Princeton, I shot a documentary film in Minnesota on the trafficking of Native women and teenagers into sexual slavery.