When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2017)

2018 Charles Taylor Award for “the best book in political science that employs or develops interpretive methodologies and methods,” Interpretive Methodologies and Methods group

2015 Robert Noxon Toppan Prize for “the best dissertation upon a subject of political science,” Harvard University

Reviewed in: Acta Politica, Administrative Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, American Review of Public Administration, Constellations, Contemporary Political Theory, Contemporary Sociology, Critical Policy Studies, Governance, Journal of Law and Society, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, La Vie des Idées, LSE Review of Books, Perspectives on Politics, Political Quarterly, Polity, Psychology Today, Public Administration, Public Administration Review, Revue Française de Science Politique, Social & Legal Studies, Social Policy & Administration, Social Service Review, The University Bookman

Featured in: The Atlantic,Salon,Rorotoko,Vox,The Guardian,Boston Review

Chinese translation forthcoming

Political Theory and Architecture (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) (edited with Duncan Bell)

Reviewed in: Modern Intellectual History, Choice, Anatomies of Power, European Journal of Political Theory

Institutional Atmospherics: The Interior Architecture of the Welfare State (Book manuscript in progress, under contract with Harvard University Press)


“Political Theory Rediscovers Public Administration,” Annual Review of Political Science, 2022, 25, 21-42.

“The Architectures of Waiting: Helmut Puff and Bernardo Zacka in Conversation,” Critical Exchange in Contemporary Political Theory, 2022. 

“The Politics of Sight: Revisiting Timothy Pachirat’s Every Twelve Seconds,” American Political Science Review, 2022, 116:3, 1025-1037. (With Jasmine English)

Kendra Koivu Award for the best paper, section on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, APSA, 2022

“Political Theory with an Ethnographic Sensibility,” Critical Exchange in Contemporary Political Theory, 2020. (Editor and contributor; with contributions by Brooke Ackerly, Jakob Elster, Signy Gutnick Allen, Humeira Iqtidar, Matthew Longo and Paul Sagar)

“Political Theory in an Ethnographic Key,” American Political Science Review, 2019, 113:4, 1066-1070. (With Matthew Longo)

Fieldwork in Political Theory: Five Arguments for an Ethnographic Sensibility,” British Journal of Political Science, 2019, 49:2, 763-784. (With Lisa Herzog)

“Adhocracy, Security, and Responsibility: Revisiting Abu Ghraib a Decade Later,” Contemporary Political Theory, 2016, 15:1, 38-57.

“Travel as Ethos: Spatial Exercises in the Work of Tony Chakar,” Grey Room, 2013, 50:Winter, 46-65.

“Abu Ghraib, the Security Apparatus, and the Performativity of Power,” American Ethnologist, 2010, 37:2, 203-2011. (With Steven Caton)

Chapters in Edited Volumes

“What’s in a Balcony? The In-Between as Public Good,” in Political Theory and Architecture, eds. Duncan Bell and Bernardo Zacka (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), p. 81-102.

“Introduction,” in Political Theory and Architecture, eds. Duncan Bell and Bernardo Zacka (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), p. 1-17. (With Duncan Bell)

“What is Public Space For? Political Imaginaries and Policy Implications,” in The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy, eds. Annabelle Lever and Andrei Poama (New York: Routledge, 2019), p. 143-155.

“Street-Level Bureaucracy and Democratic Theory,” in Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy, ed. Peter Hupe (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019), p. 448-461.

Book Reviews and encyclopedia entries

“Security,” International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, ed. Hilary Callan (Hoboken: Wiley, 2018).

Review of The Policy State: An American Predicament, by Karen Orren and Stephen Skowronek, Contemporary Political Theory, 2018, 18: Supplement 1, p. 28-31.

Review of Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight, by Timothy Pachirat, Contemporary Political Theory,  2014, 13:2, e1-e3.

“The Two Bodies of the Bureaucrat,” review of The Bureaucrat and the Poor, by Vincent Dubois, Public Administration Review, 2012, 72:2, 302-305.

Other publications

“An Ode to the Humble Balcony,” The New York Times, May 9, 2020.

“Why Border Patrol Agents Obey Immoral Orders,” Vox, June 20, 2018.

“Are Bureaucracies a Public Good?” Boston Review, 2017, Forum 3, p. 69-80.

“Why Bureaucrats Don’t Seem to Care,” The Atlantic, October 12, 2017.