Dr. Spencer Headworth joins the Purdue University faculty as an Assistant Professor of Sociology.
Dr. Headworth completed his PhD in Sociology at Northwestern University in 2016. During his graduate study, he served for several years as Graduate Research Coordinator at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, and he now continues as an American Bar Foundation Affiliated Scholar. His areas of research and teaching interests include crime and criminal justice, law, professions, and social inequalities.
His current primary project examines welfare fraud enforcement, a novel intersection between the worlds of criminal justice and poverty management. For this project, Dr. Headworth interviewed fraud control personnel in five regionally, politically, and socioeconomically diverse US states. His findings provide new insights into how social policies related to rule enforcement, accountability, and sanction are put into practice on the ground, and the implications of these processes for state agencies, their employees, and the populations with which they engage.
Dr. Headworth’s other past and current work includes projects on the political economy of prison construction, status stratification in academia, demographic inequalities in the legal profession, and correctional health care litigation and reform. His research has appeared in Social Forces, the DuBois Review, and other venues. He recently completed editing Diversity in Practice: Race, Gender, and Class in Legal and Professional Careers, published by Cambridge University Press.